After using various forms of public transit, in many cities around the world, over the past year, it was a refreshing experience to ride the local routes. In fact, I am not an experienced consumer of the commuter options here at home and always assumed they were not that good. I don’t know why I thought that. Maybe some leftover opinion from when I was a teenager and had to ride a bus to school when all I really wanted was a car. Once I had my driver’s license in hand at the age of 16, I vowed ‘never again’ to use public transit.
32 years have given me plenty of time to reassess my ban on public transit. But it was not until today where I threw caution to the wind and boarded a bus, then a train and then another bus to arrive early at my destination. It was a lovely day for a ride. The sun was shining and the air was a little crisp. So, the inside of the cabin was not hot and sweaty. Something which might come later in the summer, I suspect.
Google provided me with plenty of detailed directions. Where to walk, which way the buses were heading and which bay they should stop at. All that would have been fine, except that I didn’t actually read which stop I was supposed to get off the train at. I overshot my exit, waiting until the end of the line. With almost everyone else getting off the train before me, that should have been a sign. But it wasn’t. I was merrily going along on my way.
As with so many other times in our family travels of the past year, when you make a goof, you adjust. I recalculated with google and got new directions across downtown to another bus which dropped me off on my desired street, at work. It worked out wonderfully. Other than not knowing how to use my bus pass and having to be told by the driver, the entire commute was quite enjoyable. I even got to write these words as I sped home on the last long bus ride, having scored a seat.
It was a good first day. I don’t feel wasted from the mental energy required to have driven to and from work. Instead, I had time to think, write and otherwise just be zoned out. My workdays will be taxing enough in the coming weeks, as I learn the processes of a new company. I don’t want to arrive home feeling as if I’m spent, which has been my problem when I had long car commutes in the past. Public transit is the ticket.
For many years, I have been one person in my car, taking up space on the road, adding to the congestion and traffic, wondering why more people don’t use public transit. But, I never wanted to make the change myself. I thought it was necessary to be flexible in my schedule. I justified myself that way. Not anymore.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
After travelling to many countries with horrific traffic problems, I came to the conclusion that one person per vehicle puts a huge stress on the system of roads. With a growing population in our cities, creating good public transit options is essential. It feels good to be part of the movement which supports that kind of civic development.
What I’m not really looking forward to, though, is the rain. All winter it drizzles here on the coast. The dark skies give me a gloomy attitude and I suspect when everyone packs onto the bus with wet clothes, well that might not be so much fun. My feeling of optimism might not be so high. But, that is for another day. For now, the days are long and the sun shines. It is a good time to travel by public transit, I think.
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