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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 02-27-08, 12:59 PM   #1
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Why mass transit is unpopular:

I am changing work places. My new commute will take me from the extreme SW of Dallas to the NW of Dallas.

Bicycle only: 23 miles of multi-lane arterials (MLA) with the highest posted speed limit (PSL) of 40 MPH. from home to work. I would need to leave the house 2 hours before 8 AM. (One and a half hour riding, half an hour for cool-down or flats.) The distance and roads are well within my abilities.

Light rail: Five miles to train station closest to my house and then four miles from train station to work on MLA with PSL of 40 MPH. It would cost me $3 each day and I would still have to leave the house at 6 AM. An additional hazard with this plan is that if passenger use is heavy, my bike and I can be kicked off the train.

Mass transit for the entire trip: Walk a half mile to a bus stop to meet the 6:07 AM bus, transfer to rail, then transfer to another bus to arrive at work with about 10 minutes to spare. I should actually have to to meet the 5:47 bus to allow for connection mishaps. In this scenario I would leave the house about 5:30 AM. This commute would also cost $3 a day. ($2.50 a day if I bought a monthly pass for $50 and used it five days a week.)

In my case, with almost door to door service, I can easily travel across town faster on my bicycle than if all or part of the trip were done on mass transit.
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Old 02-27-08, 02:15 PM   #2
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Wow that looks like a bad transit route. Mass transit with lots of transfers and lots of stops really make it a poor option. It is a nice option to have if you can't ride due to really bad weather though, or if you can't ride 23 miles. I'm finding a similar distance by bike to be wearing me down.

I think I could get from double oak if I got to highland village and then took an express down to dallas and transfered to get over to irving. hmm. Using the dart itenerary tool.
If I leave work tonight by DART bus at 4:39 I can take the 301 to the 202 to the 102 which gets me into lewisville at 7:20 , with nearly one hour of transfer lag.
"Your trip has 2 transfers and will take 2 hour[s] and 40 minute[s]. Depart 4:39p from stop HIDDEN RIDGE @ GREEN PARK - E - FS on line "301 N IRVING TC VIA TUDOR". Arrive 4:44p at stop NORTH IRVING TC. Transfer 5:00p at stop NORTH IRVING TC to line "202 DOWNTOWN DALLAS VIA LAS COLINAS". Arrive 5:28p at stop CBD WEST TC. Transfer 6:10p at stop LAMAR @ PACIFIC - S - NS to line "DCTA ROUTE 102 - DENTON PARK & RIDE". Arrive 7:20p at final destination stop LEWISVILLE PARK & RIDE."
After that I catch the DCTA Bus to the highland village walmart which is hourly meaning another 40 minute wait and however long that trip takes. Then walk 2 miles home with no shoulder narrow 40mph 2 lane roads. My commute would almost be as long as my work day if not longer gross.

Wow I guess mass transit is completely out for me. I think I'd have to call for a ride or sleep on a cot
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Old 02-27-08, 03:10 PM   #3
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I hear you there. My apartment is 1/4 block from a bus stop. My work has a bus stop at the edge of the parking lot. Its about 3 miles between the two. It takes me about 35 minutes to go the distance by bicycle. I can walk it in a little over an hour. It would take 1 hour and 50 minutes to make the trip by bus.

The trick, both my apartment and employer are in west Little Rock. All bus lines run radially from downtown to other parts of Little Rock. I would have a 45 minute ride to downtown, a 25 minute wait and a 50 minute ride out to work.
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Old 02-27-08, 03:20 PM   #4
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No one takes mass transit around here because it's too crowded.
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Old 02-27-08, 03:46 PM   #5
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When I lived back in Connecticut I was pretty lucky considering. I worked in NYC and basically you had metro north running trains along Long Island Sound to NYC for commuters on a good schedule. If I wanted to I could take a bus 4 miles which took twenty minutes because of all the lights and stops (usually I rode my bike 10 miles to the closer stop with bike lockers). I'd then get on the train and sleep/read or whatever until it stopped at grand central station in NYC. Going home was much the same.

It wasn't perfect of course. Far too many limits on train speed due to poor tracks and poor track placement. It was really the only way in unless you wanted to drive 60+ miles into NYC and pay $$$ to park or pay $$ to park and bus/subway it in. And of course the sheer time sink if you lived further down the line like I did. Yeah "Train time is Your time" and all that crap they used to spew but you know 3-4 hours daily of Train time blew chunks when my boss kept me for what we'd call half days. Half day = 12+ hours.

For a little while we lived in a little half room upstairs apartment closer to NYC and I had almost an extra 2 hours everyday! Of course being married, having dogs you need more space and out to the burbs where you can afford and commute time goes +++.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:14 PM   #6
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We just recently got a little mass transit system in my town. It mostly runs when I'm already at work, and doesn't go any of the places I need to go. But hey, as long as it helps some people (and it does).
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Old 02-27-08, 07:21 PM   #7
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I hear you there. My apartment is 1/4 block from a bus stop. My work has a bus stop at the edge of the parking lot. Its about 3 miles between the two. It takes me about 35 minutes to go the distance by bicycle. It would take 1 hour and 50 minutes to make the trip by bus.

The trick, both my apartment and employer are in west Little Rock. All bus lines run radially from downtown to other parts of Little Rock. I would have a 45 minute ride to downtown, a 25 minute wait and a 50 minute ride out to work.
That is basically what we have around here, add in the fact that earliest buses don't start running until around 7am...and stop around 7pm...now what good is that if you have a shift job and work first or second shift. You can get a ride one way or the other, the rest of the time you are on your own. No wonder we have so many people driving around.

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Old 02-27-08, 08:35 PM   #8
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No one takes mass transit around here because it's too crowded.
Umm. if it is too crowded someone must be taking it...
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Old 02-27-08, 10:47 PM   #9
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Light rail: Five miles to train station closest to my house and then four miles from train station to work on MLA with PSL of 40 MPH. It would cost me $3 each day and I would still have to leave the house at 6 AM. An additional hazard with this plan is that if passenger use is heavy, my bike and I can be kicked off the train.

Why not move closer to one of the lightrail stops? That way you would only have to bike four miles from the train station to work. I did this and became car free in the process. Buy a folding bike and a bag and now they can't kick you off. My lightrail is going up to $2.50 one way but with a monthly pass, it's about $53.00 dollars and weekends are free. Mass transit works, but if it doesn't, you have to make it work by relocating. You can become and bike free as I have.

Trust me, 23 miles each day will really wear you down.

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Old 02-27-08, 11:04 PM   #10
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Wow, you guys have really bad mass tranist. In Seattle, we've been working on some sort of rail for, oh, 40 years or so, but, surprisingly, the bus system isn't so bad. I've found it to be efficient, very inexpensive compared to owning a car, comfortable, and easy to figure out. King County has this trip planning feature on its web site (as I imagaine other cities do), and it's really convenient. I can get to work by bus in about 15-20 minutes, door to door. It's not as fun, or, in most cases, as fast as riding a bike, though, so I'll almost always opt for the bike unless it's icy.

It really helps a lot, though, if you live closer to work. I always make sure that living close to my job is a viable option; I work really long hours, and there's no way I'm going to minimize my precious free time even further by spending a lot of time on a long, sh*tty commute.
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Old 02-27-08, 11:55 PM   #11
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I drive about 35 miles to work every day (Garland to Euless). Now you see why!

I can catch a bus close to my house, or ride my bicycle about 6 miles to the rail station. Then transfer to the Trinity Railway Express at Union Station, and get off 2 miles from my work. Then go on a busy road, 3- lanes each way, no shoulder, no sidewalk, no streetlights, with lots of truck traffic. The last time I did that was on a Saturday. I got down to Union Station and had to wait over an hour for the next TRE train, took me something like 3 hours total. I could have driven it in 45 minutes. And unless it's 56 degrees outside, that last 2 miles is going to get me either cold or sweaty.

By the way, the old silver TRE units are terrible for a bike. You have to tote it up the steep narrow stairs and onto the train. TRE is slower than DART, the run slower and stay at the stops longer.

There are a couple of DART lines currently under construction- does either of those get closer to where you live?
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Old 02-28-08, 05:56 AM   #12
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Well in theory Public Busses are a very reasonable way for me to get to work. one block from my house I can be picked up, and without any changes be dropped off (in 45 min.) about six blocks from work. If I change buses I can get within 3 blocks for about an even 60 min. The bike times are basically the same 45-60 min. The monthly cost is 41 dollars.

There are two reasons the bus is not my first choice (other than the excersise which I need): First the people, people are either very stinky, or very loud and often both. and in my experience the people on the bus are even more so stinky and loud. Second the schedules, or should I say lack of a schedule; the bus can be up to 10 minutes late (or early how f'ed up is that?), on top of that they change the schedule every three months just to keep me from having it memorized. Add to this that the slightest manipulation of the weather or rider density throws the entire days schedule out of wack leaving busses half hours behind.
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Old 02-28-08, 06:35 AM   #13
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No one takes mass transit around here because it's too crowded.
Wow I wish we had that problem. MARTA allows bikes on trains if there's space, but I've never been on a train so crowded I was forced to get off.
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Old 02-28-08, 06:41 AM   #14
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Americans love affair with their cars. They don't want to be inconvenienced by having to having to figure out transit time tables.
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Old 02-28-08, 08:09 AM   #15
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No one takes mass transit around here because it's too crowded.


I nominate that for the Yogi Berra award.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 02-28-08, 09:05 AM   #16
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I live in Minneapolis and work in one of its suburbs (not a popular route to take in the morning). It takes me about 40 minutes to ride 6.3 miles to work. Last year, because of a knee problem, I had to take the bus for 17 days. Because of transfers and the associated layover times, and the less direct route the bus has to take (it can't go from my door to the office door), the bus trip (which costs four dollars for the round trip, by the way) takes...about 40 minutes.

Slightly off topic, gasoline here is $3.00 a gallon, which means that every day I ride to work I save half a gallon, or $1.50. I finally, this winter, have reached the point where I can go in all but the worst conditions, in comfort. As that capability has developed, I find that I am internalizing the concept of, why would anyone NOT use a bicycle to get to work? Why would I take the bus when it is no faster than a bike and costs $4.00 in addition? Why would I spend $1.50 (plus the hidden expense of wear and tear) for the privelege of hauling with me a piece of motorized heavy equipment which I then will have to store someplace while I am working? It's crazy to use anything BUT a bicycle to go that relatively short distance (unless other circumstances dictate, of course). And yet, when I walk into the office with the helmet and other stuff, there still are people who think I'M crazy.
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Old 02-28-08, 02:26 PM   #17
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It's crazy to use anything BUT a bicycle to go that relatively short distance (unless other circumstances dictate, of course). And yet, when I walk into the office with the helmet and other stuff, there still are people who think I'M crazy.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 02-28-08, 03:27 PM   #18
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I am changing work places. My new commute will take me from the extreme SW of Dallas to the NW of Dallas.
is it worth it to move?

personally (and i know everybody's situation is different) I'd move if you think you'll be at the new job a while. Looks like you'll be spending 3-4hrs a day commuting... that's a lot of time out of your life to get back & forth to a job.

cheers & best o luck
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Old 02-28-08, 03:43 PM   #19
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No one takes mass transit around here because it's too crowded.
Leela: Did you drive much in the 20th Century, Fry?
Fry: Nope. Noone in New York drove. There was too much traffic.
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Old 02-28-08, 04:21 PM   #20
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Americans love affair with their cars. They don't want to be inconvenienced by having to having to figure out transit time tables.
in my experience, the problem is that the transit time tables are meaningless. For instance the time table posted at one of the stops I use is now six months out of date, the bus company has done two revisions since it was posted and the times are now 5-15 min. off. Add to this the confusion of bus routes with the same number that deviate from the normal path (and aren't clearly indicated on the tables) and I can see how someone who hasn't used our bus system would find it quite daunting to start. I only did because I had no other option on a couple of occasions and had to figure it out.

Now granted the problems are worse in columbus than anywhere else I've been, but in my experience it isn't that uncommon for a few of these issues to appear in any given system.

My theory is that public transit companies typically can't afford the most well qualified processes engineers, or don't even bother to think about their time tables in this way.
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Old 02-28-08, 04:45 PM   #21
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My theory is that public transit companies typically can't afford the most well qualified processes engineers, or don't even bother to think about their time tables in this way.
Another way to improve bus systems might be to require that the transit system employees use the bus for their own commutes, no exceptions for anyone at any level.
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Old 02-28-08, 04:52 PM   #22
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Wow, you guys have really bad mass tranist. In Seattle, we've been working on some sort of rail for, oh, 40 years or so, but, surprisingly, the bus system isn't so bad. I've found it to be efficient, very inexpensive compared to owning a car, comfortable, and easy to figure out. King County has this trip planning feature on its web site (as I imagaine other cities do), and it's really convenient. I can get to work by bus in about 15-20 minutes, door to door. It's not as fun, or, in most cases, as fast as riding a bike, though, so I'll almost always opt for the bike unless it's icy.

It really helps a lot, though, if you live closer to work. I always make sure that living close to my job is a viable option; I work really long hours, and there's no way I'm going to minimize my precious free time even further by spending a lot of time on a long, sh*tty commute.
it really depends on where you live around seattle. Outside seattle proper (i.e. suburbs) it's a freakin' nightmare, imo. For me, taking the bus would entail a couple of pita transfers and about 1/2 an hour longer than just taking my bike (which is about 1/2 an hour longer than driving). Add to that, the first bus wouldn't arrive to pick me up at my house until a 1/2 hour after I'm usually at my desk at work. It would drop me off a couple blocks from my work about three hours later than I usually arrive.

I would rather be riding my bike than the bus anyways.
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Old 02-28-08, 05:41 PM   #23
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Another way to improve bus systems might be to require that the transit system employees use the bus for their own commutes, no exceptions for anyone at any level.
it might just convince everyone currently working those glamorous, hi-paid transit jobs.... to quit.
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Old 02-28-08, 07:05 PM   #24
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it might just convince everyone currently working those glamorous, hi-paid transit jobs.... to quit.
Maybe institute a once a week or month policy. Either way it is a good idea as it shows the employees the effects of their decisions.
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Old 02-28-08, 08:20 PM   #25
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Americans love affair with their cars. They don't want to be inconvenienced by having to having to figure out transit time tables.
Inconvenienced HELL...try to make heads or tails out of this one....FAST the closest it runs to my house is about 12 miles...but then again I do live out aways This is the bus line that serves and area of over 300,000 that is 87% urban, the core city is around 125,000.

Edit: Found an article in an old newspaper about why they took out the shelters along the bus routes, seems the vandals were causing too much damage, so now they don't even post the schedules anymore...apparently. I have also noticed in the past that only some of the bus route signs actually identify which route you are waiting for the bus on????

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