Public transportation is good for your health

So, gas is expensive because Gaddafi won’t leave. I think the liberty of the Libyan people is worth it, however, and I generally get annoyed when the bulk of the media coverage is about money paid for fuel rather than lives paid for liberty. But I was listening to NPR yesterday and they were talking about the benefits of high fuel prices, and it made me want to pick up one of those free bus passes for downtown workers, so I did.

I only fill up the Rabbit once a month, but I think this could in theory save us about $50/mo. I can’t stop at Dutch Bros. on my way to work, so that might help, too. Other benefits of more people using public transportation are supposed to be fewer particulates in the air, and average weight loss of 20 lb. because of the walking to the bus stop part of the equation. Plus I get to sit and play with my iPhone and catch up on the morning’s news.

I started the morning off with a nightmare about missing the bus, in which I ran back and forth between two stops trying to catch the bus instead of just waiting for the next one. When the bus was finally in view, my legs were suddenly paralyzed. Lesson learned from the dream: stay put and wait for the next bus.

In real life, it was harder than it seemed.

Around 8 AM it started storming outside. “This is going to be fun,” I thought. But I wanted to go through with my plans, as a proof-of-concept, to show that this would work for me.

I ended up 20 minutes early to the bus stop, since I read the schedule wrong. It turns out the bus I was aiming for dead-ends on the north end of the route instead of turning around.  It was cold and wet, and the wind blew my umbrella inside out, but I reminded myself people in colder and wetter places use public transportation all the time. Think Portland, Chicago, New York.

The ride was nice enough. The heater was working very well. I got to catch up on some Twitter and Facebook and argue politics with my friends.  Once I got downtown, I realized I had misread the schedule in another regard, as the bus actually stops and sits for a while at the 2nd & Salem transportation center at 9:50 rather than continuing on down Broadway. It took me a few minutes to figure this out, though, and when I did I got off and walked to work from there.  All in all, not a bad start for a transit newb.

Update: The ride home didn’t go as smoothly. Well, the ride was fine from 2nd & Salem, but getting to 2nd & Salem was the hard part. See my follow-up post.


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