Top 5 Reasons to Take Public Transportation

Find out how to get uninterrupted “me” time for less than $10 a day.

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As a born-and-raised Los Angeleno, I practically grew up in a car. Plans were scheduled around rush hour traffic, and “taking the back way” was considered the only way.

But when I moved to San Francisco, I was introduced to an entirely new world — a world in which my commute time never varies and rush hour simply means enhanced people watching. I’m talking, of course, about public transportation.

Besides the obvious perk of getting to play the “What’s That Smell?” game every day, here are the top 5 reasons for taking public transportation.

1. I enjoy uninterrupted “me” time

I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit selfish with my time. But between work, family, and my bountiful social calendar (Esurance writers are very social), it’s hard to find time to hunker down with a good book. Unless, of course, I have no choice.

My commute provides me with an hour of unadulterated reading time 5 days a week. I plow through novels, daydream, or sometimes just catch a few extra z’s. I couldn’t do any of those things behind the wheel (at least not safely).

2. I get to people watch

Public transportation is like a sociology experiment gone wrong (or oh so right). What happens when you put hundreds of people from all walks of life together in close quarters? Well, usually nothing. But it does make for some great people watching … just don’t make eye contact! Plus, it’s really fun to eavesdrop and create backstories for other riders.

3. I save money

If you live in a city that charges around $4 a gallon for gas and about $20 a day for parking, you too might appreciate the money-saving advantage of public transportation. Sure, it’s not free, but for under $10 a day, I get to and from my destination safely and on time. Plus, I put so few annual miles on my car that I actually qualify for a car insurance discount!

4. I save time and hassle

“Save time?” you ask. Yes, it actually takes longer to drive to work during rush hour than it does to take the train. And I don’t have the aggravation of stop-and-go traffic, the anxiety over getting rear-ended, or the frustration of finding a parking place. (Though I will admit to a flash of frenzy when my favorite seats on the train have been taken.)

5. I help the environment

I’ve got to say it’s pretty awesome to be able to gloat about my greenness. “Oh, I just saved 18 pounds of CO2 emissions today. What did you do?” But in all seriousness, the average commuter emits close to 13,000 pounds of CO2 per year. By choosing the train instead of the car, I keep my annual car emissions around 2,100 pounds. You’re welcome, future Earth inhabitants.

I know not everyone has the option to take public transportation, but if you do, give it a shot. You may just save time, hassle, and money. (Is it just me or do public transportation and Esurance have a lot in common?)

If you don’t have public transportation available in your area, try carpooling. You can still hit items 3, 4, and 5 on my Top 5 Reasons list (and get all your extra “me” time on the days you don’t drive).

Related links

Top 5 Reasons Not to Drive
Top 5 Reasons to Drive an Automatic Car
Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Stick Shift
Top 5 Reasons to Walk

4 Responses to “Top 5 Reasons to Take Public Transportation”

  1. Mel
    January 23, 2013 #

    What a positive way of looking at public transportation! I have been a city girl for most of my adult life and actually don't know how to drive. It's easy to forget how great transportation is here and how lucky we are. Thanks for putting it into a more positive perspective for me.

    • Jessica Guerin
      January 23, 2013 #

      Thanks for such a nice comment, Mel! I'm glad I could make you a public transportation convert. :)

  2. Ellie
    February 8, 2013 #

    Hahahahaha, I TOTALLY played the "what's that smell?" game on the train this morning. Why can't the smells ever be good????

  3. Amber
    June 5, 2013 #

    This is very well said. Number 1 is the most important to me. Also, the save time and stress is so true. I actually don't have my driving lisense, but I'm planning to get it soon. Why? Why not. It also helps me answer questions like, "when are you going to start driving?" I'm taking public transit by choice. I'm sick and tired of people pitying me having to WALK in the rain or cold. I'm planning to get my lisense, so I can have it when I need it. I also hate being on cars. I feel uncomfortable…

    And most important of all, being a small part of a big picture for the environment.. isn't that great?

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