Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Carbon Free Close Call....

I just got back from NYC, and completely sidestepping the issue of air travel for a moment, I'd like to share my experience of getting to the airport via mass transit. Whenever possible, I like to try to get to the airport via mass transit. The benefits are many, saving on parking, saving on taxi (I mean, how's that different from your own car), not annoying your friends. Now do I do it all the time, no, but I try.

On my trip to NY, I had a dilemma. Do I allocate a lot of time for transit and be safe that I'll catch my flight, or do I trust that everything will work out ok with a risk that I miss my flight. If I decided to be safe, I'd catch the earlier bus from my house and wait a half hour at the train station. If I caught the next bus, I'd only have to wait 7 minutes. Now those seven minutes were tight since I had to walk from the bus stop, to the ticket machine, buy my ticket and get on the train. Now here's the rub, if I missed that train, I'd have to wait an hour and twenty minutes for the next train, and miss my flight. (Incidentally, my flight would end up being delayed so I could have missed the train, but then I would have waited an hour plus).

Now I hate waiting, I schedule my life around avoiding lines, so of course I went for the latter option. And what happened? My bus was late by three minutes, but thankfully the driver made it up en route. Why? Because I was the only person on the bus.

The biggest challenge to mass transit in the suburbs is frequency. If you miss a connection you are screwed. No wonder why people choose driving. Contrast this to NYC, I knew I had to leave around 3 PM, I missed a train, and in 10 minutes there was another. I caught my flight without a problem.

The internet works with lots of little packets, does anyone know of a city that has experimented with lots of little buses running all time. I know paying the drivers would suck, but hey maybe we could move some taxi drivers over. Or better yet, automated cars on dedicated lanes up and down major arteries.


At 8:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prefer to take the MRT (here in SIN) compared to the bus because the schedules are more predictable. Plus, no traffic jams. Now I just need to find the courage to cycle to work! Or rather, find a safer route with less traffic.


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