Friday, May 19, 2006

BusMan Goes to Malibu; What is it I don't understand?

Friday I had a meeting in Malibu. This is 25 miles from my office, a 50 mile round trip. Even though the meeting was at 11:00 a.m., I knew there would be several spots of heavy traffic. There were. Particularly where the construction crews reduced the already congested Pacific Coast Highway from one lane to two. I checked the MTA web site and found a bus that goes from Fairfax and the 10 Freeway, straight to where my meeting was being held. I took the bus from my office, down La Cienega to the corner of Fairfax and the 10 Freeway, then got on the 534 bus to Malibu. The ride was comfortable, I paid no attention to the traffic, and I read two more chapters of my Retirement Income Planning book. The driver was so nice; she let me off between stops, right in front of my destination. I left myself 20 minutes more than I would have had I driven, and I ended up getting there 20 minutes early; in other words, minimal time loss.

What am I not understanding? Why do people choose to get in a car by themselves when they can have someone else drive them? I know people are frustrated in traffic. Not only do they talk about it all the time, you can see it in their faces as you pass their cars. Personally, I get physically uncomfortable when driving more than a few minutes. Am I the only one? Are people afraid of the other people on the bus? The vast majority of people I encounter on the bus are nice, well behaved, and even friendly. That’s more than I can say about the people I interact with when driving. I don’t get it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make a lot of sense, BusMan. And I don't know how to change the behavior of people who do things (like drive cars to work instead of taking public transit) that so clearly contribute to unhappiness. It is ridiculous.

Your experiences seem to cut against many arguments for increasing funding for public transit. Ridership is not widesperad because the bus system is inconvenient (you've proven otherwise) but because people would rather be drivers and be miserable. I don't know how to crack that nut.

6:42 AM  

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