Tuesday, November 8, 2011

subway, ride fresh!

image via katarinka

So, a while ago I asked my Facebook friends to give me some ideas for blog posts. One of them asked about riding the bus. Now, I'm a gas-guzzlin' anti-hippie, so I have a car. I rode the bus a little in college, but it was a school-based special route, and all students, so it wasn't quite the public transport experience that most people think of.

Enter my lovely friend Cristina. Stina recently moved to Washington D.C., and is constantly posting observations she's made on the Metro. So I asked her to do a guest spot here, and she was happy to oblige!

So, without further ado, Stina's view on public transportation. :)

I am a transportation snob. Not a big snob, but when I am on the bus and see the hundreds of people in their cars using up their gas as they are stuck in hour long traffic on their way to pay $10 to park for a day…I feel a teeny tiny sense of superiority. That is because I have mastered the art of using public transportation. I will admit it is a lot easier for me to use it in Washington D.C where we have a very extensive system of buses and metros, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also benefit from using the bus in your city every once in a while. You save money, save the environment, and can have a fun time.

4 Reasons to Take Public Transportation:

1. Save the environment: You have all heard this before, but public transportation helps with carbon emissions and gas usage and all that fun stuff. Sure, buses and metros and trains probably put out a lot of pollution, but they are running whether you are on them or not, so you might as well ride it and not have both the bus and your car adding to our problems!

2. It is more entertaining that driving your car: When you are driving all you can do is listen to music, as talking on the phone is strongly discouraged. When you are on a bus or metro you can listen to music, read a book, watch a movie on your iPod or whatever nifty electronic equipment you have. Texting is perfectly legal and safe and, as long as you are being quiet and respectful, so is talking on your phone!

3. You can meet new people: So this is actually a bit of a challenge on the D.C metro, because no one ever talks to each other. They just read or sleep or stare off into space. But the potential is there! You are surrounded by people. If you are brave enough/can think of something interesting to say (which I never can) talk to someone! You can meet a new friend, a future significant other, or a useful business contact! Or even just a random weirdo who will make this particular trip more interesting. I myself have met a number of interesting weirdos!

4. It is easy: I will admit that public transportation can seem as easy as doing your own colonoscopy at first. But once you figure out how your local system works, you will quickly become a pro. I know the D.C metro system like it’s my job and can take you anywhere in the city/outer-city areas without any problem. Do you know how confusing it is to drive on our country’s capital? The metro is SO MUCH BETTER!

4 Things to Do/Don’t Do On Public Transportation:

1. Study up on the routes you need: this connects to my #5 up above. Don’t just hop on a bus expecting it to take you exactly where you need to go. Figure it out beforehand. It will save you confusion and panic. And once you have the system down you will be able to go everywhere you need to without thinking about it.

2. Do be courteous: Don’t talk loudly on the phone…you are in a smallish space with lots of other people. They really don’t need to hear about your new albino ferret or that your coworker always smells like Cheetos or that your boyfriend’s newest fetish is hobbits. People don’t need that information.

Also, please be aware of who is around you and give up your seat to someone who might need it more than you. That 80 year old woman with two hip replacement surgeries has been through enough in her life without having to stand up for 20 minutes when a perfectly healthy 25 year old is selfish enough to not give her the seat.

3. DO NOT, I mean for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT stand on the left side of the escalator: The right side is for standing, the left side is for walking. If I am in a hurry to make my next bus and you are parked on the left side of the escalator so that I can’t get around you, I will politely ask you to move and then later on (when I am not in a hurry) I will find you and drop kick you in the face. People use public transportation to get to work and if you are taking your sweet time and get in their way…oh that’s grounds for a fight around here.

4. Do take something along that will keep you entertained: I am on a bus, a metro, and another metro both ways for a total of 2 hours every day. That is a long time. But I don’t mind at all. I always take a book or a Sudoku or the newspaper with me. It is my reading time. It is a great way to get myself ready for the day and unwind on my way home from work. People are shocked at how long it takes me to get to and from work, but I know people who have much longer commutes. And I see mine as a chance to do something I want to do anyway and that I enjoy!

So use the bus! Don’t know how it works? Check the website, call their phone number, ask people who take it. It might not be practical for you to use it every day, but even just taking it to the mall instead of driving (parking is a bitch over the holidays) can save you gas money, wear on your car, frustration, and lessen your carbon footprint. And those are all things we love.

Thanks, Cristina! So, how about the rest of you? Are you a bus rider, a driver, subway-allegient?

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