I don’t encounter many people who endorse public transport as much as I do. And to be honest, I can’t always see why people cling to their cars so strongly when public transport offers some really nice merits in everyday commuting. Well, don’t get me wrong, by far I am not a car hater or anybody like that. I love cars because they are convenient, but the more I like them as a toy (fast cars), as our cultural heritage (classic cars) our the best of both worlds (fast classic cars).
People say, that each tool has it’s purpose, that is why you don’t use your hammer to drill holes and you don’t use your power drill to hammer nails into a wall – at least you shouldn’t.
So, when we look at cars and public transport as mere tools, I can say that most people are using their tools in a wrong way. While a car is great for your weekend trip to an unknown destination or visiting the Grandparents in the country side, it doesn’t really offer you any benefit for a recurring day to day routine like commuting.
The main reason is the predictability of such a trip. There ain’t any surprises. Your workplace doesn’t shift every day unless you are an agent or anything the like. So you know where you are going to, and you know perfectly where you are going to after work. And usually you already know on a Monday what will happen at Wednesday.
The biggest advantage of a car is independence and flexibility, something very important if you are on a journey with some degrees of freedom. But on a day to day work commute I can only see one reason for the car: convenience – or in other words: laziness. Face it, it is the truth. You don’t want to be bothered dealing with a time table and leaving your cozy home in the morning for a 5 minute walk to the next bus stop. That is OK. As long as you are willing to pay for this convenience, there is nothing wrong with it.
It is your money, time and nerves that are wasted, not mine. That you are wasting limited resources like oil and polluting the environment the belongs to everyone around the world, I am even willing to neglect, because otherwise it would look like if I wouldn’t waste any resources, which is certainly not the case.
In fact, my idea of using public transport is pretty much a hedonistic approach as yours is to use your car. How is that possible?
The biggest advantage of relying on others driving is: You can deal with other, more important things. Driving a car in rush hour like traffic every day is nothing that is really improving your situation. You are squeezed behind a little wheel, having an early blood rush at the first traffic light that is out of order, turning that junction into a playground of chaos, where normal men turn into wild animals trying to make any progress.
Let the bus driver deal with road problems. As the designated king of the road, he will overcome them more superior as you would ever be capable of. Instead, lean back, open up your laptop, use your mobile phone as a modem and start working, since this is what you are going to do anyway. Or if you don’t feel like working, read a book or dream. The point is, you can use that time very very efficiently, since you are not distracted by the traffic that surrounds you.
I’ve never been a big reader of books. But when I started riding the bus on a day to day basis, I actually managed to create a habit of reading. 1,5 hours every day, as this is my time I spend at the bus – in fact, bus riding became the most valuable timespan throughout my whole day, partly because the bus works a little bit like a time capsule. Once you are on it, you are isolated from the rest of the world. You give away the responsibility of progress to the bus driver, which will enable you to deal with issues that you couldn’t address otherwise. Think of it as a very short holiday – this is leisure time, yes. And like holiday it is forced leisure time, if you like it or not.
Reflect and think of a moment in your day to day schedule that gives you such a privilege. Can you come up with something? If so, let me know. For me the bus works perfectly at this point, but I am always curious about alternatives.
So we have seen that public transport offers more than just a way to get to work and back home. Maybe you should give it a go. Like anything else it takes a while to give you full satisfaction, but I haven’t regretted it yet to rely on the bus completely, although I am living in Auckland, a city which is known to have bad support for such things.
If you are not really convinced, or if you are simply not content with my arguments, you might want to read the following article of Leo Babauta, who is sharing his thoughts about public transport, too.