Saturday, December 10, 2011

Public transportation -does- work (Oct. 12, 2008)

Current mood: happy

My son got a pleasant surprise in the mail yesterday: A certificate from his school praising his perfect attendance this semester. This heartens me two ways. Of course, I'm proud that he managed to do that.

But secondly, and to me just as important, he did this with no help from the family car. Because of my wife's work schedule, it was simply not possible to provide him with emergency shuttle service in case he missed a bus. Nor did he bum a ride from neighbors, that I am aware of.

No, he used the bus pass. I was stuck with using ride tickets, or cash, whenever I needed to use the bus -- hence my increased use of the bicycle the last couple of months. (Translation: It's too expensive for me to ride buses anymore, but that's an argument for a different blog.)

There is more to the story than that, though. Exactly once, I made an emergency delivery trip by bike to him at school. Back in high school, that was a much more frequent occurrence. I mention that not so much to praise his responsibility -- which is quite deserved -- but to point out that having a car handy makes it easier to be less responsible. How many car trips do we all make that fall in that category?

Simply put, having to rely on a bus system might make us all have to grow up a bit. It certainly seems to be working in my own house. Yay!

1 comment:

bus15237 said...

Comments on the original 2008 post:

Natasha Renée
congrats to your son for perfect attendance. that seems to be more and more of a trying task these days. you do have a great point that when have cars we're more apt to do a bunch of stupid running around. i know when our truck is in the shop (more often than not) it's shocking the amount of stuff that we don't really *need* to do cause it involves a long bus trip or a longer walk.

does your bus system up there offer a semester pass for students? down here all students (from grade school to college) can get a pass that's good for unlimited rides all semester for just $25. then the monthly passes for people not in school are $25 a month. i swear it's the cheapest bus system i've seen. i'm always delighted to see more and more people on my route, it means that more and more people are riding the bus and leaving their cars at home =D

Stuart Strickland
Thanks for the kind words.

Some schools up here -- the bigger ones like Pitt and CMU -- have a wonderful arrangement with the bus folks that allow them to use the system for free. (It's not exactly free; the cost is built into a fee paid with tuition.) However, his school isn't in on that deal. Darn.

No, our dear Port Authority of Allegheny County has among the highest fares in the country: $2 for a quick hop within Zone 1 (basically, in-city and nearest-in suburbs), $2.60 for the outer suburbs. Thus, a trip Downtown and back, for me, costs upwards of $5. A monthly pass is $90, which is actually a decent deal, if you have to do a two-bus trip each direction, but since I ride so sporadically, I can't justify the cost.

Despite that, the system actually is pretty good, with coverage over a very large area, and some areas are well served. As I've said many, many times, it really does work well ... if you know how to use it ... and can pay the cost.