Friday, May 29, 2009

My point (and I do have one)

In which I babble uncontrollably about yet another... something or other...

I may not have previously mentioned this, but there is a class system here, perhaps due to our British roots. Where I grew up it was somewhat more egalitarian and the concept that was knocked into our little kidlet brains was, "to whom much is given, much is expected." It seems the local privileged group are more likely to believe that, "to whom much is given, much more should be given - and we don't need any freakin' manners, either, peasants. If I have not already met you, you cannot be anyone of any significance. Stand aside."

But I digress. As annoying as I find the local class system, my point is that public transport is looked down upon here as a lower class activity in a way it is not in many other places where it is seen as simply a convenient method to get about without the hassle of finding a parking spot. Even the environmental card does nothing here to encourage people to use the buses and as a result the bus system is largely crap due to lack of use, which of course leads to lack of use.. because it's crap. The filthy rich everywhere eschew public transport, I’m sure, but I know for a fact that in many places the average middle classes travel by bus/tram/subway/train with no sense of shame whatever.

Be that as it may, and me being the cranky, wrathful CFA* that I am, I refuse to avoid buses, and now that my feet are more or less healed, have recently been walking/busing a lot in my brilliant new 4-point transportation plan. The points being:

1. save wear and tear on the car
2. save on gas
3. get exercise
4. lose weight.

It is brilliant. I have purchased a pedometer and am working up to the recommended 10,000 steps per day. It’s almost 2,000 steps from home to work, so walking to work, if I also return home for lunch, has me up to a whopping 8,000 steps right there. After the past year and a half of dicky feet, the ability to walk long distances is positively intoxicating.

But that’s not all! I have a second point! Yes. Yes, I do.

Yesterday while travelling by foot & bus I met a lovely, friendly person that I would never have met had I been driving my car. Would never even have noticed her. A marine biologist who originates all the way from the other side of the country, who came here not long before I did and with the same short-term stay in mind. We had a nice chat at the bus stop and then continued it while travelling on the bus. It was like finding a little gem in an unexpected place. Thank you, nice marine biologist lady for brightening my day!

It appears my 4-point plan needs to be expanded to include a 5th point:

5. meet lovely, lovely people.

*CFA = come from away


Anonymous Erin said...

I hear you! It's not quite as bad here, but not far off. I've never had a car. I grew up without a car. I lived in a city that had decent transit, and it worked.

Where I am now, it seems the only people who use transit seem to be either mentally ill, teenaged, or me. If I used the transit during peak rush hour times, I'm sure I'd get a different crowd, but there you go. Getting anywhere seems to take forever. And when you say "I've got to catch the bus" people look at you oddly. I'm surrounded with people who have more money than sense. To be honest, I'd love a car - if only to help with groceries and longer distances. But here I am.

Gee, did you think you're first comment would be so cranky?!

May 29, 2009 at 9:03 p.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

That's not cranky. Just real.

I'm trying out not having a car. In fact, the exhause it shot again, so in effect, I don't have one. I don't mind it except it makes things you'd like to buy in bulk difficult. Also, it keeps you in the house earlier and makes any impulsive forays out of the question. Other than that, it works for me. I'm well placed with regards supermarkets, hardware stores, etc. and can easily walk to work.

There are very few regular, normal adults on our buses either.

May 29, 2009 at 9:16 p.m.  
Blogger Squeakypony said...

Our city council are busy working out ways to stop people from driving cars into the city. After one too many games of "guess that smell" along with the novelty random bus time table I now ride a push bike to work.

Thanks to the City Council I have a sparkling unused car - and a clapped out wonky bicycle (and I love it)

May 30, 2009 at 9:37 a.m.  
Anonymous Erin said...

I'm glad you said that - I was beginning to worry about myself a bit!:)

I agree with you - I find grocery shopping sometimes difficult, and going anywhere that isn't on the transpo grid is almost impossible.

May 30, 2009 at 11:44 a.m.  
Blogger Pseudonymph said...

I do take public transport where possible - the kids take it to and from school, however we use trains, as we live close to a direct link to the city. However, even with public transport, there is a differentiation - trains, go to city, therefore used by white-collar workers. Buses, go to the city as well, but also suburb to suburb, therefore perceived as being used by, as already mentioned, the tired, the poor and the huddled masses.
I am the only one of my friends with a smartrider*....

*pre-paid public transport scan on/off card

May 30, 2009 at 11:20 p.m.  
Blogger dawna said...

I hear the same thing around here - the bus is fondly referred to as "the loser cruiser".

But you meet the most interesting people on the bus....well, it was a lot easier before the iPod stage when everyone was "plugged in".

June 7, 2009 at 1:08 a.m.  

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