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View Poll Results: Why don't you take public transport?

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38. You may not vote on this poll
  • It takes far longer than driving and I value my time highly

    10 26.32%
  • The ride is too noisy/harsh/the vibration makes me nauseous

    4 10.53%
  • Poor quality/lack of availability of seating

    4 10.53%
  • Some of the passengers make me really uncomfortable

    5 13.16%
  • I fear for my safety when taking public transport

    0 0%
  • I have a disability that prevents me from walking to and from the stops

    0 0%
  • I regularly take items that cannot be taken on public transport

    4 10.53%
  • Poor availiability / too many changeovers are required / too complicated

    15 39.47%
  • I do public transport (I'm an outlier)

    24 63.16%
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  1. #1
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Why don't you take public transport?

    Any man who rides a bus to work after the age of 30 can count himself a failure in life.
    ---attributed to Margaret Thatcher, former British PM

    What will I do for public transport? I will improve the economy so you can find good enough work to be able to afford a car.
    ---George W Bush, US President, campaign speech


    On the other hand, driving a car turns you into an evil motorist as the following video illustrates.
    [YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZAZ_xu0DCg"]Nice people become Evil Motorists"[/YOUTUBE]

    What Margaret and George were trying to elucidate is that public transport is low quality.

    We are told that if we don't own a car and take public transport exclusively, we will save a lot of money. But that is only true if your time is worth nothing.
    Despite traffic, public transport typically takes 150%-250% as long if you include the walking, time waiting, frequent stopping (schedules are always inconsistent so you need to leave early) etc.

    We are told that public transport is so much better for the environment (so long as you aren't trying to breathe behind a fossil fuel powered bus or train).

    But none of that overcomes the fact that public transport is so uncomfortable. The seats are uncomfortable (if you are lucky enough to get one), the vibration is immense, there is plenty of noise from rattling interiors etc, even if the other passengers are not annoying. Safety is also a concern, waiting for transport late at night and lack of seatbelts etc.

    It's a wonder to me why anyone takes public transport. But if you are unfortunate enough to make the trip, you generally find such people fit in the following categories: poor foreigners, poor students, poor freaks and people who's car has broken down (this list is not mutually exclusive by the way).

    I think the only thing that could solve most of these problems is a flexible schedule taxi bus system (think apps on your phone to determine availability/physical arrival times based on GPS and electronic payment).
    Perhaps one that works like a flexible car pooling system (and uses high quality minibuses rather than the crap on wheels that we are usually told is a bus).

    Note, if you don't have a real location specified when replying, I suggest mentioning which country (or city even) you are referring to in your appraisal.

  2. #2
    Member Frederico Rogeiro's Avatar
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    Default

    To stupid thinkers like thoso two you mention, I guess the only solution is to convince Ferrari and Porsche to build trains and buses.

  3. #3
    Banned
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    Public transportation is not that bad. I don't own a car, thus I have to ride the bus a lot, or at least when I was going to college. The quality of the ride was decent and for the most part, generally ok.

    I mean public transportation has its benefits over cars: driving in a car is extremely dangerous as automobile accidents are very common in the world, more so than trains or buses; cars cost thousands of dollars to buy and hundreds more to pay in insurance; cars pollute the environment a lot; cars can breaks down and cost money to fix; your car could get towed for any reason while your out somewhere, leaving you stranded, while missing the bus only means you have to wait a short amount of time before the next one; cars can get stuck in immense traffic jams,; cars can get taken away if you ow payments on them; etc.

    Granted a car is great if you're going on a family vacation, but if you need to get into work or school, taking a bus or tain is a lot safer and cheaper.

  4. #4
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Default

    You guys reply too soon, I wasn't expecting to see replies since I hadn't posted the poll yet. (didn't realise the post would show up anyway)

    I fixed the video link I've got the poll up now, though I'd still like to edit "I do public transport (I'm an outlier)" to "I do take public transport (I'm an outlier)".

  5. #5
    Senior Member Stigmata's Avatar
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    Ugh, Those two quotes are utterly despicable.

    I don't use public transportation due to the necessity of a personal vehicle due to the effects of urban sprawl in my area, yet if I lived in some metropolitan area in which I could get around with relative efficiency by relying solely on public transportation, I would. Some people just flat out just don't enjoy the experience and added stressed that entails both owning and operating a vehicle, as well as some people just enjoy the continuous exercise gained from walking around on daily basis, so to attribute the lack of one as some sort of monetary deficiency is as arrogant in nature and assuming as it is incorrect.

  6. #6
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I take public transportation from time to time because it's more convenient and cheaper than finding parking downtown, where my sales district is! However, I take the car to and from work because our public transportation infrastructure is a hub system and I work on the northeast side and live on the west side, so it takes an hour longer to take the bus to work than it does for me just to drive
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  7. #7

    Default

    @evil motorists.

    I like your sources, Thatcher, Bush and Goofy, they're all about in the same league. One of them for definite is a fictional character which does not exist (though which one?).

    I got a licence late in life for motoring, pretty much when my job was on the line, I dont much like driving myself and liked to use public transport, buses or trains but I prefer the trains. For one trains had toilets. The journey provided an opportunity to read, sleep, listen to music and think. Mainly to think. On less rocky train journeys I was able to write or log onto the internet, now that even phones can do that.

    If you've ever experienced decent public transport, like some of the services in Europe, mainly the Scandinavian or German lines you'd not even be wondering, they're unsurpassed and private transport is only popular by comparison with poor public services in the anglo-saxon world.

    I never feared for my safety on public transport, though I met some assholes and got close to fighting on one or two occasions, that argument is weak because if you really entertained it you'd not leave the house and go out in public at all for fear of others. I've seen kindness and people giving up their seats too, or been amused at some of the rows pensioners will have with one another about who is more entitled to ride on the bus in a seat. Its not much fun if its overcrowded but I think that most people realise that no one is particularly comfortable with the compromises in personal space that're called for on those occasions. I've only encountered one smothering case of overcrowding following a football match which had the whole place and the trains on lock down, it real was cattle carts that day and the riot cops had people packed in like sardines. Again, not the fault of the transport services.

    I miss my time commuting with books.

  8. #8
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Well, first of all, I do take public transport. Granted, this is only really to/from work, but that's really a rather large percentage of my travel on a given day, so I think it counts. Fortunately for me, I live in an area where it exists, and is very convenient for me. Unfortunately, most everywhere else in my city it's tedious, time-consuming, and inconvenient.

    But really... public transport, when done right, crushes private car-based transport in every way but one in urban environments (see below). But that's just it... when done right. Which includes everything from zoning and development practices to community commitment to people giving it a chance. At least in the U.S. (NY City and San Francisco excepted), this just isn't the case. Public transport, when built around subways and trains, scales *incredibly* well at a community level. But it has high startup costs. If you tell someone they can have a 3 minute walk to the train station, a 2-minute wait for a train, a 15 minute train ride, and a 2 minute walk to their destination vs 30 minutes of sitting in traffic, they're going to like the train, or at least be willing to give it a shot. But if you tell them they have that same 3 minute walk, a 15-minute wait for the train, then the same 15 minute ride and a 20 minute walk (as the train doesn't go anywhere close to where they want to go), ugh. That latter scenario is probably the best case in most US metro areas, if it's even available. Which is why most people with a choice spend more for a car and all of its associated costs -- even if it's more expensive personally and for society as a whole. Low usage = low community commitment = only those who have no choice using it = stigma = low usage. It's a circular situation... and if you don't have the population of people using it, it's *very* hard to get it going -- especially in a suburban environment (where the costs are higher due to lower population densities).

    But blah blah blah. I spent some time in HongKong/China this last fall, and the public transportation in the cities I visited was excellent (and cheap!). Trains were crowded, but extraordinarily convenient -- they went everywhere, and it was never more than a 3-4 minute wait for the next one to come. There were times when we saw a train coming and didn't even bother hurrying to board it, as the next one would come so soon. Subway stations were crowded and policed all the time (violent crime not an issue), and each station (which were big) had a lot of little shops, etc. around. Even buses were good -- they came frequently, were cheap, clean, and well used (no "creepy drunk guy leering at us" factor). In HK, particularly, it often felt like there were so many buses that they outnumbered personal cars. The cities were built for public transport, and people *used* it. Not owning a car was no big deal.

    Now where owning a car is a big deal is transporting *stuff*. Nobody's going to take 6 sacks of groceries on the train. But culturally, people in those types of cities don't do that. They go to the corner store frequently. Much less reliance on big-box grocery (and other) stores.

    It makes a difference if you're in a rural area, of course. Daily local use of public transport doesn't work as well (or at all) there, due to density factors. Add in that proportionately more of rural transport involves carrying *stuff* makes it even less likely to work. Except for long trips (travelling from one city to another by train, etc.), cars (or scooters, etc.) are probably not going anywhere.

    Anyway, a favorite topic of mine, so I tend to ramble .
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    I catch the train often, I get home quicker than by car, I don't have to deal with heavy traffic and can just zone out to my music, I don't find it uncomfortable but do prefer it when I have my personal space (seat to myself). I don't fear for my safety any more than I would in a car, in fact I think the chances of accidents and road rage violence is higher than being harmed taking public transport. I hate the worship of cars, it has ruined the city I live in, I am thinking of leaving.
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

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  10. #10
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    I can't say anything about public transport in the US because I have never taken it that year I lived there ages ago. But I am lucky to live in a part of the world (Europe, more precisely Germany) that, while economically depending on the export of cars, has a fairly efficient public transport system.

    I can get basically anywhere by public transport. There are buses leaving from a few hundred meters from my home every ten minutes and there is a train station at the end of my street with trains that connect me anywhere I want. The prices are higher than in most other European countries, but with my monthly ticket I still pay less than what I would pay on owning and mainting a car, let alone the gas prices. I don't own a car because I have never needed one in all these years.

    As for the comfort, if the seats are that bad and there is so much vibration, that seems to be more related to the money invested into public transportation rather than be part of the inherent nature of it. There is noice when there are school kids on the bus or train, but otherwise it's just normal people reading or listening to their mp3-player. I have never had an issue with the quality of it, speaking purely from personal experience in my knick of the world.

    In other words: If more people would take public transport or if the government supported it more the quality should get better, if it really is that bad, shouldn't it? Most of what you complain about can be taken care of with money. And ecologically speaking I think there is little alternative to reducing unneccessary individual transport. There will always be cases where you need it, but watching the early morning traffic jam with hundreds of cars with one person in each of them getting stuck on the middle of the road to work, while others have a coffee in the train or metro is just...
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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