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).