Giving thanks for public transit — weirdos and all
Giving thanks for public transit — weirdos and all By Isa Hopkins
We said farewell to Nadine on an unassuming August morning, my brother and I, standing there on the curb as the tow truck hauled away the little blue Toyota that had taken me across the country to California in 2005. I thought I’d be sad to give up the car that I’ve driven for the better part of a decade, but the truth was, I was really excited to start taking the bus again.
Most of the press about public transportation focuses on its efficiency, its reduced cost, and its reduced environmental footprint. But that’s not why I love it. Nope, the reason I prefer public transit to just about any other motorized way around is one that, to my mind, doesn’t get nearly enough play: Riding the bus or the train is fun as hell, you guys.
I know, I sound like I’ve lost my mind. Crowded buses and commuter trains are, in the contemporary imagination, the opposite of fun, but if you’re stuck in one you can at least have a friendly chat with a stranger — an impossibility in car traffic. Sure, sometimes you might have to endure the Commute of A Thousand Smells, and every now and then there’s some crazy person ranting at the bus driver about space travel, but hey, God made earbuds for a reason, right?
Although public transportation is more often thought of as a chore than something to be actually enjoyed, my advice to would-be riders is to embrace the experience headphone-free. Block out the rest of the world, and you miss out on the amazing, random — and, yes, fun — experiences that can only be had when you’re forced to endure strangers. ................(more)
I lived for ten years without a car in Portland, and one of my favorite things about going to Tokyo is using their fantastic system.
If the Twin Cities' system were better, I wouldn't bother with a car, but as it is, large parts of the metro area and large chunks of the day are uncovered, and I live on what is supposedly one of the better bus lines.