It’s Try Transit Week in the Triangle, which means public transportation officials want people who normally wouldn’t ride a bus to climb aboard.
I’m fortunate to have a car, so I don’t have to rely on bus schedules. Sure, I could ride the bus to save gas, save emissions and cut down on traffic by taking my car off the road. But suddenly this independent chick would have to rely on other people, something I do not like to do. I like knowing that the bus is there, and if I needed it, you can bet I would take a seat. I also have no issues with paying taxes and fees to fund our local public transportation system, even though I don’t really use it. I understand the value the bus system provides to our community and I absolutely support it.
But other than riding the R-Line downtown, I have no plans to participate in this week’s festivities (which include free rides, ice cream and coupons to bolster ridership).
That said, I applaud local transit officials for setting aside time to help bring awareness to bus ridership and encourage new riders to ditch their cars. I’m not sure how much these awareness events have on ridership though. Last Tuesday was World Carfree Day, and the Daily Tar Heel reported that there didn’t appear to be an influx of riders (although, the article notes that rain may have been a deterrent).
Last year, fellow Raleigh blogger Leo decided he would ride the bus from his downtown apartment to his office in Research Triangle Park for one week.
He thoroughly documented his experience on his blog. The self-described “ecogeek” concluded that while it was nice to be able to watch videos on his iPod while the bus driver steered him home, he would rather leave a slightly larger carbon footprint than endure the 2.5 to 3+ hour roundtrip bus ride. He wrote:
“We all live and work in different areas so your particular experience will be different from mine. With that and the experience I just shared I have decided not to continue riding the bus as the time factor is the real kicker for me. The bus is just too slow and it is not worth it to me to ride it for so long.”
Another Raeligh blogger, John, is a daily bus rider and he seems to enjoy it. Best of all, he embraces the people watching and blogs about the characters who board his bus. With names like “Sci-Fi Fantasy Man” for the guy who loves his paperback science fiction reads to “Waffle House Man” for the guy who boards the bus after his shift. His blog is a must read for a snapshot of buscapades (as he calls them).
So if you’ve been thinking about giving the bus a try, this is the week to do it. As always, feel free to share your thoughts, experiences on the Triangle’s bus system in the comments.