42 votes

Do you ride your local public transit system?

Why or why not? If you do occassionally, what prevents you from riding more? What could get more people riding? How could your experience be more pleasant?

60 comments

  1. [3]
    cadadr
    (edited )
    Link
    Always and only. Istanbul has a very good rail network, and buses are abundant. There are many boats across and along the Bosphorus. There isn't a place where you simply have to drive, maybe...

    Always and only. Istanbul has a very good rail network, and buses are abundant. There are many boats across and along the Bosphorus. There isn't a place where you simply have to drive, maybe except some walled garden communities. ATM I'm in the process of moving to Ankara, a city of 5milion 400km east-southeast of Istanbul, in Anatolian steppe, and it similarly has a good public transport network with rails and buses. My place is 20 metres (edit: the "m" was for meters BTW, not minutes) from the bus stop to the city centre.

    In both cities it is the cheapest way to go from A to B. A combination of Google Maps and local apps means that you'll easily find your way. Yes, it may be crammed at times (especially in Istanbul, Ankara not so much), but I like the trade off: the mere comfort of large personal space vs. the freedom to read something or have a coffee or eat a snack or do some work (I did a lot of my homeworks on the bus home during uni), and the fact that you don't have to supervise a two tonne metal and glass bullet constantly aware of your surroundings, or that you don't have to learn exact paths or worry taking the wrong turn, and the fact that it is way more eco-friendly and energy efficient. I also like having people around.

    Apart from all that, when I really need a car, e.g. when in the night time where public transport is way more limited in both cities, or when I am very tired, there are cabs.

    The main reason people drive in these kind of cities is entitlement and luxury. There is this idea that you use public transit if you don't have the means to buy a car: they are expensive to buy and maintain here, yet many put themselves under a lot of strain to own one b/c along with owning a home it's become a symbol of status and freedom: "If only I have a home and a car, I'm done" is a sentence heard often here.

    But the walkability of the city is important too: there can only be so many stops, so in most cases you'll get off somewhere near and walk to your exact destination. If that distance is constantly a few hundred metres or more, people will understandably go for personal means of transport. In good cities that's the exception. E.g. where I am in Ankara I do consider getting an e-bike or a moped b/c there is a lot of places where the bus ride is an overkill or requires a switch but the walk is not trivial either (a few hundred metres to 2-4kms).

    Tangentially, reducing the number of required switches is really important. I'll need two switches for school and two for a nearby nightlife district. I'm way more likely to use a cab for the latter and a moped/e-bike for the former. Municipalities should spot and work on thesr issues, and encourage citizens to report, showing them that it really counts.

    19 votes
    1. [2]
      gergir
      Link Parent
      Say, could I ask you about Istanbul? There's things there I've wanted to see for a long time (from reading books about the old Constantinople), but I need to prepare/be informed, I think. Perhaps...

      Say, could I ask you about Istanbul? There's things there I've wanted to see for a long time (from reading books about the old Constantinople), but I need to prepare/be informed, I think. Perhaps you could make a Turkey information thread?

      6 votes
      1. cadadr
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I may try doing it in the coming days if there's interest, I'd be glad to do that! In the meantime AmA about Istanbul here or through PMs, I'd love to help! Edit: did it: https://tild.es/h6j

        Perhaps you could make a Turkey information thread?

        I may try doing it in the coming days if there's interest, I'd be glad to do that!

        In the meantime AmA about Istanbul here or through PMs, I'd love to help!

        Edit: did it: https://tild.es/h6j

        6 votes
  2. [3]
    boredop
    (edited )
    Link
    Do you ride your local public transit system? New Yorker here. Yes, I use the system every day. Buses and subway on a daily basis, with some weekend trips on ferries and commuter rail. Why or why...

    Do you ride your local public transit system?

    New Yorker here. Yes, I use the system every day. Buses and subway on a daily basis, with some weekend trips on ferries and commuter rail.

    Why or why not?
    Between the subway and the buses, I can get just about anywhere in the city. And owning a car here is folly. The insurance is high, finding on-street parking is a nightmare, a private parking spot in a garage is upwards of $600 per month, and the traffic is insane (and getting worse). I think the average speed for cars in Manhattan is less than seven miles per hour.

    What could get more people riding? How could your experience be more pleasant?

    Oh boy, where to begin ...

    • upgrade the signaling system from 1940s-era technology to modern computerized systems. This would greatly reduce the number of delays and allow trains to run closer together, increasing capacity. A couple of lines have been upgraded already (the L and 7 trains), with more underway. But at current rates it will take 50 to 100 years before the entire system is modernized.
    • expand the subway system. Yes, it's already huge, but there are large parts of the city that are left out. But unfortunately adding new stations is nearly impossible due to construction costs and politics. (Look up the Second Avenue Subway for an example.)
    • Get homeless people off of the trains. Homelessness is a big problem in NYC, and many of the homeless end up camped out on the trains or in stations. Obviously this is a societal problem that goes well beyond just transit. The E train in particular is notorious as a rolling homeless shelter, because it stays underground for its full route.
    • Speed the trains up. After an accident in 1995, speed limits were greatly reduced in the subway system, and timers were installed to prevent trains from exceeding the new limits. But the timers were not maintained over the years, which meant that that trains under the speed limit could still trip the timers and be brought to a halt (which would be accompanied by disciplinary action against the train's engineer). So the engineers run the trains well below the posted speed limits in many areas. The MTA has recently been inspecting some of these timers and reevaluating the speed limits, but it's going very slowly.
    • Make the system fully accessible for the disabled. Currently only about 25% of subway stations have elevators, and the MTA has fought every attempt to force them to upgrade the rest of the system. The elevators and escalators that do exist are frequently out of service. Not to mention that the elevators almost always smell terrible. (Actually, that's true for the subway system as a whole.)
    • Add bus-only lanes to all bus routes, and separate them from the rest of traffic. Currently only a few routes have bus only lanes, but they aren't separated, and are almost always blocked by double-parked cars, trucks, taxis, police cars, construction sites, etc. So even on those routes, the buses waste a huge amount of time sitting in traffic.
    • all-door boarding on all buses. Again, currently this only exists on a few routes. On the rest, everyone has to board through the front. This slows everything down.
    • Modernize the fare-payment system. This is underway, but the rollout will take years. My hope is that eventually I'll be able to use the same card to pay for bus/subway, commuter rail (currently four different systems), and ferries (can't use Metrocard even though it's the same fare as the subway).
    • Infrastructure upgrades in New Jersey. This most affects New Jersey Transit (commuter rail) and Amtrak (national passenger rail). The tunnels between NY and NJ are a century old and need to be replaced or repaired. They are the source of countless delays on NJ Transit and Amtrak. Same goes for the Portal Bridge in New Jersey, an obsolete draw bridge from 1910 that sometimes gets stuck and requires workers to hammer it back into position. All of the train traffic in the Northeast corridor passes through the Portal Bridge and the tunnels, so any problems can cripple all railroad traffic from DC to Boston. See the Gateway Program.

    I could rant all day about this stuff, really.

    EDIT: adding a couple of more possible improvements that I forgot to mention during my first pass.

    • Improve the weekend subway service. It's a total shitshow on the weekends because that's when most maintenance is done. Every single weekend we have at least 75% of the subway lines with service changes or shutdowns. It's infuriating. (But I don't know how this changes without either ditching the idea that the system runs 24/7, or adopting the practice of completely shutting down invidual lines for weeks or months at a time to do repairs all at once instead of doling out it piecemeal on the weekends.)
    • One-seat ride to the airports. Other cities have figured this out, but here you have to transfer from the subway to the AirTrain (with its own fare) to get to JFK. They're going to do the same thing at LaGuardia in the next couple of years. Big mistake. Should have just extended the N train to LGA instead.
    11 votes
    1. [2]
      UniquelyGeneric
      Link Parent
      How do you feel about citibikes? I use them regularly and find myself only rarely using the subway (e.g. bad weather, or too far to bike). It’s far cheaper for me than monthly subway passes, and I...

      How do you feel about citibikes? I use them regularly and find myself only rarely using the subway (e.g. bad weather, or too far to bike). It’s far cheaper for me than monthly subway passes, and I like the exercise.

      1 vote
      1. boredop
        Link Parent
        I think they're a great idea but I have no interest in riding them. Biking in this city seems really dangerous! We need more and better bike lanes. I'd rather just walk.

        I think they're a great idea but I have no interest in riding them. Biking in this city seems really dangerous! We need more and better bike lanes. I'd rather just walk.

        3 votes
  3. [7]
    timo
    Link
    Location: The Netherlands. Note: I have a driver's license, but I don't have a car. Sometimes use car (as driver or passenger) when borrowing one. Within my city: I primarily use a bicycle (fast,...

    Location: The Netherlands.

    Note: I have a driver's license, but I don't have a car. Sometimes use car (as driver or passenger) when borrowing one.

    Within my city:

    • I primarily use a bicycle (fast, cheap, healthy and good infrastructure so relatively safe).
    • Sometimes take the tram or the metro (comfortable, inexpensive).
    • Rarely use a bus, since tram and metro cover a lot.

    Between cities:

    • Aways use the train. Fast, comfortable and relatively reliable. Quite expensive but there are some good subscriptions for discounts (e.g. free travel in weekend for €35/month).

    Within other cities:

    • Tram, Metro, Bus; whatever gets me to where I need to go.
    • OV-bike; A bicycle you can rent at train stations (about €4 / 24h).

    From cities to towns or vice versa:

    • I use the bus; It's slow, infrequent.

    What can be better?

    • Connecting transport; Waiting for connection bus/tram/metro. Mostly a problem when taking the train.
    • Travel time: Some longer distance trips take a lot longer than by car, especially when going to smaller towns. Sometimes twice the time.
    • Cost: When traveling with multiple people, public transport becomes quite expensive when comparing it with a car, since you need to buy multiple tickets.
    • Crowded: During rush hour it is busy, outside of not so much. Mostly because everyone is working / studying from 9-5.

    But all in all, quite content.

    11 votes
    1. [6]
      bbvnvlt
      Link Parent
      ^ Same :)

      ^ Same :)

      1 vote
      1. [5]
        stephen
        Link Parent
        Sometimes when the train in Chicao breaks down I sit and reminisce about the time I lived in the Netherlands. The BENELUX intercity system is amazing. And the stations are incredible. We lived in...

        The Netherlands.

        Sometimes when the train in Chicao breaks down I sit and reminisce about the time I lived in the Netherlands. The BENELUX intercity system is amazing. And the stations are incredible. We lived in Schiedam which pales in comparison to Rotterdam Centraal. But with a grocery store, secured and sheltered bike parking, and lots of nearby cafes it's better than 95% of stations I have access to.

        1. [4]
          bbvnvlt
          Link Parent
          Mwahahaha. Schiedam is one of the worst train stations I know :-P

          Mwahahaha. Schiedam is one of the worst train stations I know :-P

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            stephen
            Link Parent
            You're not wrong but I maintain my initial stance. Schiedam would be the crown jewel of my very of CTA's metro system. We have 1 count 'em ONE station which is well integrated with consumer retail...

            You're not wrong but I maintain my initial stance. Schiedam would be the crown jewel of my very of CTA's metro system. We have 1 count 'em ONE station which is well integrated with consumer retail and you can't even get a free transfer. America has probably just one operating station as impressive as Rotterdam Centraal. Yeah American transit is fucking baaaaad.

            1. [2]
              bbvnvlt
              Link Parent
              Yeah, sorry. That was a bit of a gloat/brag reply.

              Yeah, sorry. That was a bit of a gloat/brag reply.

              1. stephen
                Link Parent
                As it should be. Dutch trains shit on all other train systems I have been on - Swiss, German, English, French, American. All of em!

                That was a bit of a gloat/brag reply.

                As it should be. Dutch trains shit on all other train systems I have been on - Swiss, German, English, French, American. All of em!

  4. [8]
    cwagner
    Link
    Germany, have a license, don’t have (or want) a car. I walk within the inner city (nothing is further than ~1.5 km away) and take the bus or train when I need to get somewhere else.

    Germany, have a license, don’t have (or want) a car.

    I walk within the inner city (nothing is further than ~1.5 km away) and take the bus or train when I need to get somewhere else.

    11 votes
    1. Staross
      Link Parent
      Same in Switzerland, a car is a nuisance for the most part. Although having the license would be useful in some occasions.

      Same in Switzerland, a car is a nuisance for the most part. Although having the license would be useful in some occasions.

      5 votes
    2. [5]
      gergir
      Link Parent
      I don't dare to walk in german innercities anymore. Are you up north?

      I don't dare to walk in german innercities anymore. Are you up north?

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        cwagner
        Link Parent
        Yes. Why? Though I should mention I’m in Lübeck, with many one-way roads and pedestrian crossings in the inner city.

        Yes. Why? Though I should mention I’m in Lübeck, with many one-way roads and pedestrian crossings in the inner city.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          gergir
          Link Parent
          Well, so far only the northern towns seemed relatively safe compared to cities under Frankfurt, Saarbrücken. Especially in a public transport context, as in some trainstations you'd better prepare...

          Well, so far only the northern towns seemed relatively safe compared to cities under Frankfurt, Saarbrücken. Especially in a public transport context, as in some trainstations you'd better prepare for a speedrun. I thought Paris was the worst until I went to Stuttgart, holy moly...

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            JakeTheDog
            Link Parent
            What do you mean exactly? Like there are regular cases of violent crime against random people in public places? Or are we talking about just shady-looking people in a dilapidated area? I plan on...

            What do you mean exactly? Like there are regular cases of violent crime against random people in public places? Or are we talking about just shady-looking people in a dilapidated area?
            I plan on moving to Germany soonish and am generally looking forward to not owning a car anymore so I'm curious.

            1. gergir
              Link Parent
              I'll just say what I know personally, okay? This is going up to Stuttgart, Koblenz, Frankfurt, Saarbrücken, Mannheim, Freiburg, etc.: groups of 6-8 young men in the train hassling girls and women;...

              I'll just say what I know personally, okay? This is going up to Stuttgart, Koblenz, Frankfurt, Saarbrücken, Mannheim, Freiburg, etc.:

              • groups of 6-8 young men in the train hassling girls and women;
              • swarms of same in and around the train station doing same, calling and following (incl. girls as young as 10-11);
              • not so nice neighbourhoods are basically Sperrgebiet if you're by yourself (problem is cultural stuff often takes place in those);
              • same for main shopping areas on weekends, have to scan for clusters of youths in their 20s constantly.

              I've had to defend myself several times on 10-15m walks from hotel to theatre/cinema/etc. Fortunately they didn't expect that from someone my stature, but I don't dare go there again. Won't dramatise or list details, but it wasn't very nice and I'm not going back anytime soon.

              But up north it's a lot quieter, so depending on where you go, perhaps ask user cwagner.

              2 votes
    3. aymm
      Link Parent
      Sounds very similar to me (also in Germany). I either walk if it's a very short distance, otherwise I ride my bike, and if that's too far I'll use public transport

      Sounds very similar to me (also in Germany). I either walk if it's a very short distance, otherwise I ride my bike, and if that's too far I'll use public transport

  5. [6]
    Akir
    Link
    Nope. Public transport is basically useless to my commute. Los Angeles - the megalopolis, not the city - is living proof of the importance of urban planning. Do a quick Google search for "how many...

    Nope. Public transport is basically useless to my commute.

    Los Angeles - the megalopolis, not the city - is living proof of the importance of urban planning. Do a quick Google search for "how many cities are in LA" and you will get the response "at least 107". So there are no public services that will take me all the way to work and back.

    Because I already knew it would be crazy to attempt, I hadn't even searched for the transportation authorities where I worked. It turns out there are actually eight of them, but they are all either extremely local (three of them are bus systems run by this and neighboring cities) wide reaching in the opposite direction I live, or are specifically run for the disabled.

    To make things worse, I live on top of a steep hill and there are no bus lines within a mile of my house.

    In any case, Google thankfully has a system to make sense of all this, and transport time varies between 3-4 hours, ensuring I would have absolutely zero time to myself to get personal things done. That would be my personal hell.

    Edit: for the record, Google's shortest route takes me through three transportation agencies, so it's also a fairly expensive proposition.

    7 votes
    1. [5]
      Nmg
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Sounds like you live in a suburban area far far away from your work. Pretty much the definition of when transit doesn't really make sense. For good transit, you need sufficient density in both...

      Sounds like you live in a suburban area far far away from your work. Pretty much the definition of when transit doesn't really make sense.

      For good transit, you need sufficient density in both where people are and where they need to go, as well as a comprehensible network (e.g. manhattan grid).

      I currently live in San Diego. People who live in San Diego often say the transit is bad. I live in a 5 story building with 5 bus lines in front of my door. I think those people just live in low density areas where transit is unprofitable without (much deserved) additional public funds.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        Litmus2336
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That's 100% true. At my old apartment (1500/mo) I was right next to a bus line that went everywhere (except to my job) so I tool the bus for everything and carpooled to work. Now I live even...

        That's 100% true. At my old apartment (1500/mo) I was right next to a bus line that went everywhere (except to my job) so I tool the bus for everything and carpooled to work. Now I live even further into North County (900/mo) and the closest bus stop is 1.5mi away :(. And I still have to carpool to work.

        The amount I pay for uber/lyft ($150) almost makes a car worth it financially, but I don't want one.

        SD bus system is actually great... if you live near a stop.

        Also, ironically, I'm doing the "live near where I work" thing. It'd be easier if I lived in the city, because then at least I'd be by transit lines, but my commute would go from 8 min to 60+.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          Nmg
          Link Parent
          Wow, where do you live? I moved to SD from the DC metro area because I am starting a doctorate program at UCSD. I could have lived near the campus...but I am already sick of overbuilt roads, strip...

          Wow, where do you live?

          I moved to SD from the DC metro area because I am starting a doctorate program at UCSD. I could have lived near the campus...but I am already sick of overbuilt roads, strip malls, and minivans...I grew up in the 'burbs. So instead I moved to Hillcrest. Strangely, I think the rent is cheaper here than in La Jolla. My "commute" to UCSD is longer, I guess, but literally everything else is closer and I just find the city more lively.

          Also, I just bike to Old Town Transit Center and take the 150 express bus (8 minute headways during rush hour, 25-30 minute drive), which means I am both commuting and getting my necessary and desired 1 hour of exercise every day.

          As a person who works at a University, the commute works. But I understand why those who work in Sorrento Valley or in otherwise soulless office parks say they can't take transit. Employers chose cheap lands next to massive highways over actually integrating themselves into communities.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Litmus2336
            Link Parent
            Yep, you got it! Soulless office park off the 56. I was so surprised how easy it was to get into and around the city. Unfortunately a lot of office workers like me can't go car less because of...

            Yep, you got it! Soulless office park off the 56.

            I was so surprised how easy it was to get into and around the city. Unfortunately a lot of office workers like me can't go car less because of work. I make due, but ultimately I don't really save any money, as I spend a ton on transit.

            1 vote
            1. Nmg
              Link Parent
              I took a look, and yeah...transit is non-existent there. There are some bike lanes though. An e-bike might be an affordable option for you, if that's the kind of thing you would be interested in.

              I took a look, and yeah...transit is non-existent there. There are some bike lanes though. An e-bike might be an affordable option for you, if that's the kind of thing you would be interested in.

  6. Bullmaestro
    Link
    Yes because driving a car is too expensive and because my local council is making it increasingly difficult for motorists. A lot of people drive regardless. There are three things that I feel...

    Yes because driving a car is too expensive and because my local council is making it increasingly difficult for motorists. A lot of people drive regardless.

    There are three things that I feel would improve public transport:

    • Better infrastructure. One of the big problems my city has is bottlenecked roads which can't support the sheer weight of traffic. Bus lanes only alleviate this to a certain extent.
    • Dedicated cycle routes. This would help in taking cars off the road, which improves the reliability of public transport. More people would ditch the car and cycle if it were safer to do so. This is what the Netherlands did in response to thousands of cyclists dying each year from road accidents.
    • Treating public transport as a public utility. Leaving it in the hands of private companies will generally lead to unfair business practices, poorer service, higher prices and a network that serves shareholders rather than the public.
    6 votes
  7. moonbathers
    Link
    I take the bus to work, because it's less stressful than driving. The city I'm in (Midwest US) is really car-centric but fortunately I live close to one of the few bus lines. I don't know how to...

    I take the bus to work, because it's less stressful than driving. The city I'm in (Midwest US) is really car-centric but fortunately I live close to one of the few bus lines. I don't know how to get more people interested in public transportation; it would require a culture shift across a lot of the country. One of my online friends was trying to convince me not to ride the bus and I was like "dude, it's not a big deal," and it's not. Occasionally the bus is a bit late but it's really not that big a deal. It saves me gas money too.

    5 votes
  8. [5]
    wfrced
    Link
    I need to get to work and home Please no more people Population control

    Why

    I need to get to work and home

    What could get more people riding?

    Please no more people

    How could your experience be more pleasant?

    Population control

    9 votes
    1. [4]
      tindall
      Link Parent
      Maybe this is sarcasm that I'm not picking up on, but... wouldn't it be better to easier to just existing public transit infrastructure?

      Maybe this is sarcasm that I'm not picking up on, but... wouldn't it be better to easier to just existing public transit infrastructure?

      1. [3]
        jtvjan
        Link Parent
        Could you rephrase your question?

        Could you rephrase your question?

        1 vote
        1. tindall
          Link Parent
          Yeah, I totally skipped a word - "just extend existing public transit" is what I meant.

          Yeah, I totally skipped a word - "just extend existing public transit" is what I meant.

          1 vote
        2. tibpoe
          Link Parent
          I believe they meant "extending"--i.e. more regular service; more routes.

          I believe they meant "extending"--i.e. more regular service; more routes.

  9. [2]
    gergir
    Link
    Why: can't drive, no car what prevents you from riding more: lack of money! (int'l trains) What could get more people riding: security personnel, catering How could your experience be more...
    • Why: can't drive, no car
    • what prevents you from riding more: lack of money! (int'l trains)
    • What could get more people riding: security personnel, catering
    • How could your experience be more pleasant: security personnel, catering

    Explanation: I live in the sticks, have to go to nearest capitals for museums, concerts, theatre, etc.

    4 votes
    1. Enoch
      Link Parent
      There's a program in France that streams classical music/ballet/operas to regional movie theaters, sponsored by local town administration. I know cause I've been twice. I'll see if I can get the...

      There's a program in France that streams classical music/ballet/operas to regional movie theaters, sponsored by local town administration. I know cause I've been twice. I'll see if I can get the details. Might be an option?

      3 votes
  10. MimicSquid
    Link
    Bay Area, California: Why or why not? I don't own a car, but there's plenty of transit options, of which public transit is only one. I'll prioritize it if it's going the right way. If you do...

    Bay Area, California:

    • Why or why not? I don't own a car, but there's plenty of transit options, of which public transit is only one. I'll prioritize it if it's going the right way.

    • If you do occasionally, what prevents you from riding more? Certain places I want to go don't have a great option that gets there without variable time spent waiting for transfers. If I'm going to a place where I have to be there at a particular time like a show or a business meeting, I'll cycle or take a rideshare because I want to arrive in a smaller window than I would get from public transit.

    • What could get more people riding? Lowered cost, more routes for buses, more trains/buses on the busier routes and times. Fewer jerks harassing people on the bus, but that might be a bigger issue than one that the transit authority can control.

    • How could your experience be more pleasant? More consistent temperature control, on top of the things mentioned above.

    4 votes
  11. [2]
    imperialismus
    Link
    I did use the local public transit system when I lived in a larger city. I lived relatively centrally and would walk almost everywhere, and take the bus for longer trips or on days when the...

    I did use the local public transit system when I lived in a larger city. I lived relatively centrally and would walk almost everywhere, and take the bus for longer trips or on days when the weather was bad or I was feeling particularly lazy.

    Then I moved to a small town. I never missed owning a car when I was living in the city, but I do now. Public transit is infrequent and unreliable and, unlike in bigger cities, almost all adults own a car for that very reason.

    3 votes
    1. Nmg
      Link Parent
      Hmm, maybe a bicycle, electric or otherwise, can be useful considering your new current residence. I think it's all about trade-offs and what you want out of the place you live in. At least your...

      Hmm, maybe a bicycle, electric or otherwise, can be useful considering your new current residence. I think it's all about trade-offs and what you want out of the place you live in. At least your housing costs could be lower?

  12. welly
    Link
    Hebden Bridge (small country town in West Yorkshire), UK. All the time, particularly at the moment while I'm "between motorbikes". But I'm generally a fan of public transport and do use it...

    Hebden Bridge (small country town in West Yorkshire), UK.

    All the time, particularly at the moment while I'm "between motorbikes". But I'm generally a fan of public transport and do use it regularly.

    Public transport in the UK is generally very good. Many buses now have wifi and USB charging points, trains are equally well serviced.

    The downside of train travel in the UK is the cost. If you know you're going somewhere well in advance (referring to longer distance travel) then a train ticket can be fairly cheap. If you end up going somewhere last minute then you'll get stung.

    For example, I'm going down to London on Wednesday. From Hebden Bridge to London, which I booked a few weeks ago, the single journey cost me £29, if I was to leave now it would cost me £114. I could probably fly more cheaply.

    3 votes
  13. Anwyl
    Link
    I live in LA, and don't own a car. I tried driving in LA when I first arrived and it was just so miserable that I swore it off. Now I take public transit and it's not nearly as bad as people...

    I live in LA, and don't own a car. I tried driving in LA when I first arrived and it was just so miserable that I swore it off. Now I take public transit and it's not nearly as bad as people think. The trains are way better than buses, and run pretty frequently.

    I think the best improvement at the moment would be convincing LA people to give trains a try once during rush hour. Public opinion of people who haven't tried it seems to be a major obstacle. Maybe having occasional free days to make it easier to try. Maybe publicize some kind of rush-hour race between a car and a train. It'd be pretty easy to choose a route and time which would make the train way faster.

    As for how to improve the actual experience, the obvious things are ones the city is already doing. More locations served by trains, more frequent trains. Buses exist to go where trains don't, but they're pretty slow, so I think expanding the trains is a better solution. Bike lanes can also help, but they don't form a network, so you're always going to be sharing the road with some pretty oblivious cars (city's working on that too).

    One thing that seems like it would make buses and trains more efficient, but less usable would be to have more routes with fewer stops. If you're going long distance, you can end up with most of your time spent sitting at stops (the bus route home from work would require waiting for 33 stops).

    3 votes
  14. ubergeek
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    Location: Western NYS I used to. The only reason I don't is because of a couple of reasons: The trip is more expensive now, via public transportation, than driving, due to the short distance I can...

    Location: Western NYS

    I used to. The only reason I don't is because of a couple of reasons:

    1. The trip is more expensive now, via public transportation, than driving, due to the short distance
    2. I can no easily bike into work, so no need for public transportation, due to short distance.

    So, if I were working further than what I do now, I'd consider it, depending on location.

    One issue I did have with my transit system was that I was needing to do multi-modal transportation, to save costs (Pay for one boarding, rather than 2). And the second leg (Or, first, coming home) only ran once every 45 minutes, and sometimes it didn't have a bike rack. Most of the time it did, but there would be some instances where it didn't.

    That "chance" of no rack made it a non-starter. Once racks became a reliable feature, I was able to do it again.

    The trip took longer than if I would have drive, but I appreciated the extra time to decompress from work, and to catch up on podcasts. It was a giant time suck, though. I can see why some wouldn't want to do that.

    Also, I did appreciate how much safer the commute is during winter. A bus is safer than a single passenger car, IME.

    3 votes
  15. ainar-g
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    Location Moscow (and sometimes the Greater Moscow Area), Russia. Do you ride your local public transit system? Why or why not? Yes, every day. The Moscow Metro is god-sent. It's a giant,...

    Location

    Moscow (and sometimes the Greater Moscow Area), Russia.

    Do you ride your local public transit system? Why or why not?

    Yes, every day. The Moscow Metro is god-sent. It's a giant, all-encompassing system which makes the whole agglomeration feel like one big thing, rather than a collection of small things. And our buses, trolley buses, and trams complete the picture. Sad that the whole “Moscow Mono-Rail” thing ended basically the same way as in The Simpsons.

    What could get more people riding? How could your experience be more pleasant?

    There are a lot of people sometimes, so I guess more decentralisation would be nice. Or at least buy more buses and trams, so that the Metro is not the only thing keeping the masses flowing.

    2 votes
  16. mrbig
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    Salvador, Brazil: not if I can avoid it. We have one of the smallest subway systems in the world, and our buses are dangerous (you can get robbed, it's not wise to use electronics etc), old and...

    Salvador, Brazil: not if I can avoid it. We have one of the smallest subway systems in the world, and our buses are dangerous (you can get robbed, it's not wise to use electronics etc), old and uncomfortable.

    I use my bicycle for short trajects (the vast majority), Uber for medium/long (depending on the safety of the region, what I must carry, time of day etc), and the bus when I hit my monthly Uber cap or Uber would be too expensive.

    2 votes
  17. jprich
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    I do. I live in Northern VA but work in MD. My commute is an hour and a half long one way, so three hours a day. It sucks as I only really get to see my wife on the weekends but its temporary til...

    I do. I live in Northern VA but work in MD. My commute is an hour and a half long one way, so three hours a day. It sucks as I only really get to see my wife on the weekends but its temporary til we move somewhere cheaper.
    Aside from the length of time, I do enjoy it as it gives me time to write as I'm going to and from work. I couldn't do that in a car sitting in traffic.

    2 votes
  18. eve
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    I'm near the Denver-ish area in CO. All throughout college I commuted mostly via bus to and from school. When the A-line was finally finished, I was able to take the train to and from school in a...

    I'm near the Denver-ish area in CO. All throughout college I commuted mostly via bus to and from school. When the A-line was finally finished, I was able to take the train to and from school in a much, much shorter commute. I only took public transport as a necessity. I had no car and no one to commute with.

    The worst part was how long it took. Generally it was around 45min depending on traffic. Then, part way through college, they changed the bus that went out to where I lived to a regular and not a limited, which meant stopping damn near every block and made the commute anywhere from and hour to an hour and a half. The choices for buses were few and fair between in terms of routes because of how far out of Denver I lived. I was at the end of a route and it fucking sucked. Due to the road the bus took, it was a main hub and there were a ridiculous amount of people getting on and off of the bus. All kinds of people from everywhere with all kinds of smells. God, I do not miss the smell of public transport.

    Fortunately, the A-line is a really nice train, especially in comparison to the other lines. The other lines are basically buses on tracks. The A-line has really good heat, AC, and it only takes 15-30min to get to Denver for me. If there were more trains, that'd be a bonus, but as is RTD is having a helluva time getting some of their other lines done so really a comprehensive, extensive train line is kind MIA for some time.

    I think the biggest issue with public transport in Denver is the lack of cleanliness. I know, there's not really anything you can do about your passengers and who does or doesn't put on deodorant or not reek of pot, but like ew. Seats will smell of previous occupants, heaven forbid you ride in the winter, the floor is perpetually wet and slushy and people are disgusting on the bus! And by disgusting, I mean behaviors. It's weird that kinds of things that people are comfortable doing on public transport. Like please, no.

    There's also safety, as in people you have to watch out for who have a chip on their shoulder and think the world is turned against them, or people who happen to have violent attitudes or even mental illnesses. As a, at the time, young, alone woman it was scary at times, riding all the way out to where I lived especially in the winter when it got dark so early.

    This is kind of long, sorry about that. I've used public transport occasionally. When my SO and I went to comi-con we took the train downtown, that way we wouldn't have to deal with parking, and the park and rides are easier. I don't work anywhere near a convenient train or bus ride so I don't take it to work at all. If it was an option, I would take it occasionally as a way to save on gas. As a small convenience thing, public transport is fine, but if it's something you HAVE to rely on to get anywhere, it fucking sucks.

    2 votes
  19. Tau_Zero
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    Do you ride your local public transit system? I grew up in the US suburbs and lived most of my life in one, where everyone drove everywhere. The exception then was on the handful of trips into the...

    Do you ride your local public transit system?
    I grew up in the US suburbs and lived most of my life in one, where everyone drove everywhere. The exception then was on the handful of trips into the nearby cities, parking somewhere easier/outside and taking public transport the last leg.
    I currently live in a different country and more urban setting, and use the MRT and bus system regularly, maybe 50-60% of journeys. The rest is a mix of walking, private hire car (taxi, other services), and getting a lift from someone.

    Why or why not?
    I don't own a car; where I am, there are significant extra expenses in this country for car ownership compared to the US. The MRT and bus system are great by global standards. It simply makes the most financial sense. I'm also not a fan of city driving, but I'm sure I'd get over that with regular exposure so it's not a factor. Being able to do something, like read, is a perk of public transport, but only sometimes (e.g. can't read while standing and holding a bag on a packed train)

    If you do occasionally, what prevents you from riding more?
    I dislike public transport; cost is the only reason I take public transport most of the time. It's usually slower except during the absolute peak rush hours (frequent stops, indirect route, waiting for arrival/transfer). Logistics are more complicated (figuring out what services/routes to take, arrival frequency and first/last schedule, if the schedule is actually followed, managing transfers and their timing, etc.). Walking at either end, sometimes a lot (weather becomes important). Low carry capacity (both weight and size), exacerbated by crowds, and complete lack of storage between multi-destination trips. Uncomfortable (no eating or drinking allowed, crowds, little personal space, chance of not finding a seat, less comfortable seats than a car, inconsiderate/noisy/messy neighbors, no control over temperature or music). And, even cost sometimes isn't a big difference between a private hire, like higher night bus fees or a group of passengers.

    What could get more people riding?
    Make it free for tax payers. More routes and express routes. Increase frequency of off-peak and weekend (waiting 15+ minutes sucks). Larger, better sheltered outdoor stops. Don't stop running (or provide an alternative shuttle during such time). Add some sort of "last-mile" transport from the main stops/stations (drop-off/pick-up shuttle? discounted local transfer deal with taxies? I don't have a good solution yet). More public storage (maybe large storage at MRT stations, small storage lockers sprinkled around?) Somehow incentivize free same-day/next-day delivery deals for local retail.

    How could your experience be more pleasant?
    This has mostly been covered by previous answers. Pie-in-the sky, things could get a bit better once fully autonomous cars and buses become the norm. Lower cost, no need stop at night, tighter-packed but efficient flowing traffic, most efficient integrated experience possible (just pick a->b and service can, for example, get you on the right bus and have a car arrive at exactly the right time for last-mile). From there, eliminate unnecessary "patrol for street flag down" traffic and maybe work out some dynamic demand-based busing instead of fixed routes and schedule. Doesn't solve all of the problems, like carrying/storing stuff, but at least makes the ride more bearable.

    2 votes
  20. Micycle_the_Bichael
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    Location: East Coast of USA Frequency: To get pretty much everywhere. Why or why not? A couple reasons. The obvious one is I don't have a car. Now, I could have a car if I wanted. But I decided I...

    Location: East Coast of USA

    Frequency: To get pretty much everywhere.

    Why or why not? A couple reasons. The obvious one is I don't have a car. Now, I could have a car if I wanted. But I decided I prefer the train. It is a bonker cheaper for me (parking downtown where I used to work was $30 a day, $20 if you worked somewhere that subsidized parking, car payments, car insurance vs $90 a month for unlimited rides), I find riding the train to be way less stressful than driving. I have 2 change trains twice in my 45 minute commute on public transportation and it still is less stressful to me personally than driving. To be fair and transparent: I hate driving, I hate finding a parking spot, I hate dealing with aggressive drivers, I hate dealing with lost drivers, I hate dealing with old drivers, I hate dealing with myself making decisions while driving. I think the way America is built and designed from an infrastructure standpoint is fucking stupid and I hate it, and I refuse to move somewhere where I need a car ever again even if rent costs me an arm and a leg.

    If you do occasionally, what prevents you from riding more? If it's inconvenient and less than 30 minutes walk each way, I'll usually walk. If it is more than that I either rent a car or lyft. It has to either be really far away or really far from public transit for me to not use it. I would say I take a Lyft once every couple of weeks.

    What could get more people riding? Depends on who you want riding. Do you want more of the drivers from outside the city using the trains more rather than driving in? Then extend the commuter rail to more of the suburbs or make larger parking lots at the commuter rail stops so people can park their cars. If you want to increase ridership while helping the people who depend on public transportation like the poor and lower middle class / middle class/migrant workers, the big thing is increase the frequency with which things run and make them be dependable. If someone has a job interview to get to and the trains run once every 20 minutes and are never on schedule, why the hell would anyone chose to take you. Even if the other options are harder, not depending on irregular and trains that if you miss it your fucked is going to be something everyone avoids.

    How could your experience be more pleasant? My experience is mostly fine. I think the biggest things would be (1) be on schedule (2) force people to take a class on how to exist on the train because I swear to god if I deal with one more person taking up a ton of space because they don't know or care about the rules of the train I'm going to lose it. At least if I know they know the rules and are ignoring them I can feel guilt-free about hating them.

    1 vote
  21. Luna
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    This summer I was interning at a company in New Jersey. I really liked it, I was able to walk 10 minutes, take a 7 minute train ride, and a 20 minute direct shuttle to work and back. I could have...

    This summer I was interning at a company in New Jersey. I really liked it, I was able to walk 10 minutes, take a 7 minute train ride, and a 20 minute direct shuttle to work and back. I could have walked for all my errands but the grocery store near my house had a bad produce selection so I drove to Wegmann's (which I am now super jealous of, Harris Teeter only beats them in generic selection). I went 2 months and 10 days without filling my tank (I only filled up on my way out). I made plenty of trips to NYC on the weekends and took exclusively public transit up there.

    I'm back in Charlotte now, and although the transit situation has improved a lot here, most of the bus routes are still centered around downtown, so a 15 minute drive to a major mall from my college would take 1 hour by light rail + bus, and when the movie I was going to see got out the light rail would be making its final trip for the night. Part of this is the way the city is laid out, it's not very gridlike outside downtown so crosstown service like NYC is difficult to achieve, but it could be fixed by better planning and encouraging transit-oriented developments.

    I don't ride public transit here very often because I only use my car to get groceries on the weekend, otherwise I'm mostly on campus for everything. I'll be moving off-campus next year and will hopefully be near the light rail. I know other people don't ride because they're fine with light rail but view busses as crappy and for poor people, which is a difficult misconception to break.

    I'm excited to see the new silver line light rail developments, it's a much needed addition and I hope they continue expanding rail transit in the region. (And after experiencing the NEC I've been writing to my senators in support of Amtrak, though they're both republicans so it'll probably fall on deaf ears.)

    1 vote
  22. beewall
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    I'm on the bus right now, so yeah. Usually I walk places though.

    I'm on the bus right now, so yeah. Usually I walk places though.

    1 vote
  23. SleepyGary
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    I only ride the transit occassionaly because I rarely leave my neighborhood, I work from home. Everywhere I would take transit it's super inconvenient for me. Occassionally I will take transit to...

    I only ride the transit occassionaly because I rarely leave my neighborhood, I work from home. Everywhere I would take transit it's super inconvenient for me. Occassionally I will take transit to go to pub in a neighborhood or downtown that I can get to on a bus where I don't need to transfer and it has relatively few stops. But just about every other destination I regularly go to requires multiple transfers and rides 3-5x longer than driving.

    Eg Taking my child to her day home, it takes 5-8 minutes by car, 45m by bus (I can almost walk there faster.) To get to my work meeting space it takes 20 minutes by car, 1h15m by bus. Each of those have no fewer than 3 transfers so the points of failure could easily make that an hour longer.

    We are getting a LRT line build into our community, however, by the time it's built I doubt I'm going to have many reasons to be heading to the downtown core, but if it were in place 5-10 years ago I would have been taking it all the time. My wife would make great use of it though as she works right near one of the planned stations and they tend to be more reliable than buses.

    1 vote
  24. mftrhu
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    Now, keep in mind that stopped commuting a few years ago, but... I don't have a license. I don't want a license. Cars scare me. The people who drive cars scare me even more. I don't want to have...

    Why or why not? If you do occassionally, what prevents you from riding more? What could get more people riding? How could your experience be more pleasant?

    Now, keep in mind that stopped commuting a few years ago, but...

    I don't have a license. I don't want a license. Cars scare me. The people who drive cars scare me even more. I don't want to have to pay attention to the road, especially not in the morning, when I'm still in a zombie-like state, or late in the evening, when I'm running on five coffees and still just about falling asleep.

    For that, public transport is a godsend. I can just get in, stamp the ticket, sit down, and doze off for half an hour, or maybe grab my phone and read something.

    But, in my area, public transport is also quite shitty. The website(s) of the local transport companies are old and difficult to use. Most information (e.g., about strikes) comes from word of mouth. There aren't enough buses during the day, and none at all after ~20. You need to be on the look-out for your bus, because they won't stop unless you flag them down. You can't distinguish them from afar, they are all the same colour, and don't have a destination display. You can't rely on the time, either, because they can pass by your bus stop up to ten minutes early, or up to half an hour late.

    Old buses, bad seats, no AC don't bother me that much. The lack of information does. Even if they didn't provide an app with the up-to-date location of the various buses, just displaying their destination on the front of the bus would be ridiculously helpful.

    1 vote
  25. AugustusFerdinand
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    Location: Dallas, TX Public transit type: Light rail Frequency: Previously I did so every workday, I do so only occasionally now as my full time job allows me to work from home. So I only go in...

    Location: Dallas, TX

    Public transit type: Light rail

    Frequency: Previously I did so every workday, I do so only occasionally now as my full time job allows me to work from home. So I only go in when I, or my boss, finds it necessary to do so. However my company is fast adopting more and more tools that don't require being present to collaborate and so it's only become less frequent. At present it's about once every other week.

    Why: Multi-faceted.

    • Cost: A day pass on the train is $6, it would cost me more in tolls to get to work and back, not factoring in fuel and maintenance costs should I commute.
    • Time: On a bad traffic day, the train can get me to work faster than driving. On a good traffic day, it's only about 30% slower.
    • Mental health: A large influx of people has caused a strained road system to only get worse and the driver's attitudes with it. As a result I frequently found myself angry when arriving at work or home after driving during rush hour, be it at the sheer incompetence of other drivers or merely their inconsiderate nature.

    What could increase ridership: Better access. Dallas was early to the public transit game with street cars that had a more dense system than our current light rail, but that was killed off as happened in many cities. It was then late to the game getting a public transit system back in place, so there's some catching up to do. Add in resistance from certain parts or suburbs to public transit lest "undesirables" show up in their precious little neighborhoods and you get a slow, but steady growth as more and more people push for public transit.

    What could improve my experience: Meh, it's not bad and about as I'd expect.

    Do you own a vehicle: Yes, five. Three for pleasure, two for utility.

    1 vote
  26. meme
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    I'm a licensed driver because I grew up in the philadelphia suburbs, but I moved to NYC and now solely use public transit. Why? Because NYC is very dense and for the most part public transit is...

    I'm a licensed driver because I grew up in the philadelphia suburbs, but I moved to NYC and now solely use public transit.

    Why? Because NYC is very dense and for the most part public transit is easier and cheaper than owning a car. I tend to use only the subway and not buses because no bus route is superior to what a train can get me. NYC has had a decrease in ridership across all transit because the city isn't investing enough in repairs or expansion, and if you want to get to work on time it's worse than ever before. Currently the most pressing issue to me for using the NYC subway is the homeless problem. Extremely dangerous and mentally ill individuals have free reign to harass riders and trash cars. You never know when you'll be stuck in a tunnel and a crazy person is going to get in your face and make threats. People get stabbed or pushed into the tracks on what seems to be a weekly basis.

    It would be a massive amount of money to repair and expand the NYC public transit system and it's very frustrating our current local and state government isn't up to the task. There's plenty of money sloshing around our very wealthy city, and God knows where it's going.

    1 vote
  27. patience_limited
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    It's not practical where I live. The nearest bus stop is about a mile away (not great when winter days average -10°C, and there are no safe bike routes), weekday rides to most destinations of...

    It's not practical where I live. The nearest bus stop is about a mile away (not great when winter days average -10°C, and there are no safe bike routes), weekday rides to most destinations of interest are over 45 minutes with multiple transfers, and late night/weekend service is minimal.

    Typical Midwestern U.S. transit planning, made more obnoxious by residing adjacent to the main airport.

  28. knocklessmonster
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    For certain trips, yes, but I walk anything less than a mile, and bicycle mostly because my bike is as fast as the bus, without having to wait for it or transfer. I'm also far less likely to get sick.

    For certain trips, yes, but I walk anything less than a mile, and bicycle mostly because my bike is as fast as the bus, without having to wait for it or transfer. I'm also far less likely to get sick.

  29. krg
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    On it right now! In Los Angeles. It's pretty damn convenient in my particular location, but the whole of Los Angeles is cursed with sprawl and, so, can be a crapshoot in a less-dense part of town....

    On it right now! In Los Angeles. It's pretty damn convenient in my particular location, but the whole of Los Angeles is cursed with sprawl and, so, can be a crapshoot in a less-dense part of town. Still, I'm able to get around. Usually no more than two routes (and a bit of walking) to get wherever I want.

  30. cptcobalt
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    South Bay Area, CA. I used to with great frequency when I lived in my previous apartment. It would be a half-mile walk to the light rail, followed by a 25-minute ride, then a one-mile walk to...

    South Bay Area, CA.

    I used to with great frequency when I lived in my previous apartment. It would be a half-mile walk to the light rail, followed by a 25-minute ride, then a one-mile walk to work. In total, my commute would be about an hour in total each way, but decently easy, and I got to read books on the way.

    However, after moving, the legitimate best-case scenario for me to take public transit for my commute is so nonsensical that I can't really consider it—it would be about an hour and a half each way to travel less than ten miles. It kinda sucks, actually. I'd prefer to not have to drive.

  31. alexandre9099
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    Unfortunately i can't, because there are close to none where i live (portugal). Either you live on the big cities (Lisbon, Oporto, Faro and maybe some others) or you just have some public...

    Unfortunately i can't, because there are close to none where i live (portugal). Either you live on the big cities (Lisbon, Oporto, Faro and maybe some others) or you just have some public transports between cities, not inside the city itself

  32. BunnyBrown
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    I live in Toronto! I use the TTC everyday. It is great. It is clean relative to other NA subways, people are respectful and trains are on time. The only downside I can think of is bit expensive...

    I live in Toronto! I use the TTC everyday. It is great. It is clean relative to other NA subways, people are respectful and trains are on time. The only downside I can think of is bit expensive for me. But then again Toronto is an expensive city to live in.