March 20, 2017 2 Comments
It’s getting harder and harder for me to believe that the majority of Americans who work outside the home commute by car.
I understand that many small towns and suburban and rural areas have no public transit at all, and that many cities have inadequate public transit providing infrequent service to just a few neighborhoods. What I don’t understand is why so many people put up with it! Of course there are situations in which people have good reasons for living and/or working in remote areas. But there are millions more who just seem to be taking for granted that, as a grown-up, every day you get into your car. It hasn’t occurred to them to try their local public transit or to ask why there isn’t any.
What really staggers me is when I hear people who live and/or work in the very same neighborhoods I do, talking about driving to and from work–especially if they’re employed by one of the local universities whose every employee/student ID card functions as a bus pass! Seriously! You don’t need a special card; you don’t need to sign up for the transit program; as soon as you get your ID, you can hop on a bus, tap it against the card reader, and get a free ride to anywhere in Allegheny County the transit authority goes, any time buses (or light-rail trains or inclines) are running! You can use it all weekend, not just for commuting!
Pardon all the exclamation points, but I’m excited to be working for the University of Pittsburgh now. None of my previous employers offered free transit, so I’m accustomed to paying slightly over $1,000 per year for an annual bus pass giving me unlimited rides all year. It was convenient even when it was a series of monthly passes arriving by mail, even more convenient with the ConnectCard that lasted all year. It cost much less than paying cash fare for my workday commute, with the additional bonus of free rides for other travel. But it was a substantial expense each year, which I don’t have now, whee!
It took me until last week, my fourth week at the new job, to realize just how staggeringly convenient my new commute is: Read more of this post