Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why Transit Doesn't Get More Riders

Matt Welch of the LA Times has an opinion piece up that hits the nail right on the head about why mass transit is mostly used by lower income brackets.

Why I think public transit doesn't get used more:
- doesn't go where people what to go
- doesn't go on the schedule people have
- takes much longer than driving
- isn't always cost competitive as an alternative to parking, especially given time trade-offs.

When I lived in Pittsburgh, I used the bus once to commute, and then opted to walk instead for the following 3 years, except when carpooling. It took 45-60 minutes to take the bus, and it took 30 minutes to walk the 2.5 miles and take the incline. The bus route was probably 5 miles long. At another point in living in Pittsburgh, the bus system was essentially useless to someone who was not attempting to commute into the downtown zone, or back and forth along one of the major bus corridors. If you needed to get to the far side of the city, there just wasn't a timely way to do it.

I haven't had enough time to thoroughly investigate the transit options in my new home, but I'm intending to try as soon as I have a place to go on a regular basis.