Monday, October 15, 2007

Benefits of public transport - Take action for a better environment

Photo by johnseb

Today is Blog Action Day. Bloggers around the world unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. So today, I'll write about the most obvious benefit of using public transport: It helps to make a better environment.

I always hear people say "It won't make any difference to the world if I take the bus or go by car". Well, that's probably true. But have you ever considered that saving the environment doesn't necessarily mean you have to save the planet? What about the environment around you? Your city? Your street?

Nobody wants to live in a street with a lot of traffic. We moan about all the noise and exhaust they cause. We moan about the pollution that makes us sick. We moan about how dangerous it is to leave the house. We moan about traffic jams.

But still, we drive by car.

What if you'd take the bus whenever possible? That would be the first step to make your city a better place to live. A first step to leave your children a better world. So using public transport might not save the planet. But it will make your environment a better place to live.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Benefits of public transport - Run errands on your way home

Photo by daquellamanera

This post is part of a series of posts about the benefits of public transport.

When I talk to other people about using public transport, I often hear one argument that seems to be a killer-argument against taking the bus: They need their car to run errands.
At first sight this really looks like a strong argument. But if you take a closer look, you'll find that you don't really need your car most of the time. If you need to buy big items, a car might be necessary, but most things you buy won't be that big. The milk for tomorrow's breakfast will easily fit in your bag and go with you on the bus. But there are other arguments...

My shop can't be reached by bus.

So what? Your favourite shop can be reached by car, but you won't get there with the bus? Maybe that's because you chose it because you alway go there by car? Don't you think there are other shops that will sell you your milk? Try to take the bus to work, take a look out of the window and count the shops you can reach this way.

But my shop is much cheaper!

Even if you found a shop that sells everything much cheaper, driving there by car isn't free. On the other hand, you can easily leave the bus to go wherever you need to go and take the next bus home.

But this will take so much time! I prefer to have one "big-shopping-day" per week!

Granted, your commute will take longer if you go shopping every day compared to doing it just once a week. I used to drive to a big shopping center every saturday. I thought that I saved money by buying there, but one day I realized how stupid this was. It took me half an hour to get there and half an hour to go back. There were lots of people there and my shopping took quite some time.

Today, I visit the shop on my way home with the bus everytime I need something. This takes a couple of minutes every day. This is no time compared to my hour long journey to the shopping center. As a bonus, there is no need to go shopping on the weekend, so I've got more free time. And I always have fresh fruits at home.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Benefits of public transport - Make friends

Photo by ernoldiƱo

This post is part of a series of posts about the benefits of public transport.

Have you ever wanted to know more people and find new friends? Well, there's an easy way: take the bus.

Granted, you don't want to talk to everybody you see there, but you'll meet some interesting people after a short time. And it's actually quite easy to start a conversation. You take the same bus like them every day, and if the bus is late again or it suddenly starts to rain you've got a common problem. That's a good chance to start a conversation...

On the other hand, you could also take your car. But I bet it's much more harder to start a conversation with nobody around...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Benefits of public transport - Become more patient

Photo by loop_oh

This post is part of a series of posts about the benefits of public transport.

Granted, the first weeks of taking the bus can get a little bit hard. You miss the bus and have to wait for the next one. Your bus is late, and you have to wait longer than expected. Such things always made me angry, and on some days I thought about giving up on public transport and use my car again. But I decided to go on, and today I'm glad I did.

Missing the bus is annoying. But after some time I recognized I couldn't do anything about it. So why waste any energy on being angry? I now try to make the best of this time. There are so much things I can do on my commute, missing the bus simply gets me some extra time. I'll be at the office soon enough, working for hours - some minutes of waiting won't make much of a difference. In fact, there are days when I'm glad when it takes a little bit longer. That's when I got a really thrilling book from the library...

Not only did I become more patient on my commute, I'm now more patient in any situation. I've been pretty impatient some years ago, but my daily commute with the bus showed me that getting nervous about a lost minute won't change anything. And it definitely won't get any better when I get angry...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Benefits of public transport - More time

Photo by tallkev

This post is part of a series of posts about the benefits of public transport.

We have already learned that using public transport can make your life more stress-free. As soon as you enter the bus, you no longer need to care about traffic and all the stress it adds to your life.

This brings us straight to another benefit of public transport: You've got more time for yourself. This may sound a little bit strange because we all tend to think that we have got to get to work as fast as possible. But have you ever asked yourself why you need to get there so fast? Because the time you spend in your car is - for the most part - lost time. You have to concentrate on the traffic. The only thing you can do is listen to the radio, unless you're one of those careless people who think it's safe to read the newspaper and make a phonecall while driving a car.

When you're using public transport, you can do a lot more things...

  • You can read a book or a newspaper - didn't you always want to read more?
  • You can plan your day, with the pen you always carry with you.
  • You can listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts (even video!)
  • You can play games on a portable gaming console
  • You can make phonecalls without risking your life
  • You can talk with other people
  • You can take a nap on your way home after a hard day at the office. Try that in your car..
So, why not use your time more productive? You'd be reading the newspaper anyway, why not combine it with your commute?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Benefits of public transport - Less stress

Photo by saveena

This post is part of a series of posts about the benefits of public transport.

At first sight using any kind of public transport doesn't look very stress-free. You have to take care of the schedule and you have to make sure you don't miss your bus. On the other hand, your car is waiting for you and ready whenever you want to go.

I used to think the same. But then I tried to take the bus and after some years of using public transport I no longer think of my car as a stress-free way to get to the office. Let's take a closer look at how you use your car...

  • You go to the garage, sit in your car and drive away, right? What about all the things you need to do for this? Your car doesn't go to the gas station by itself. You have to take care of this. Everything we need to take care of adds a certain level of stress to our lives.
  • You then drive to your office. If your drive is a pleasant one, you're quite a lucky guy. For the rest of us, there are traffic jams, annoying red lights and most annoying: other drivers. If those other drivers would take the bus, driving to work would be so much nicer. If they weren't driving like crazy idiots, the way to work wouldn't take that much time. I wonder if they think the same about me.
  • You finally reach your destination. You can now start your turns around the block to find a free parking lot. Have you ever thought about how much time you spend parking your car in a year?
On the other hand you could take the bus...
  • Your day starts a little bit stressful on the first days. After a few days you no longer think about the bus schedule, you simply know when you have to go to reach the bus without any stress.
  • That's it. Now you've time for yourself. The bus driver takes care of all the other crazy idiots on the street and you don't have to find a parking lot.
Of course this only works if your home and your office are near public transport. But if you live in a city, chances for this aren't that bad. Maybe you should take a closer look at your local public transport system and start with a stressless commute tomorrow? If you do, try for a longer time. The first days when everything is new to you might not be as stress-free as you want, but this will get better every day...

The benefits of public transport

I'll try to post a series of articles about the benefits of public transport, starting today. Everybody knows that using public transport is a good way to help the environment. But the most important thing for most people is: "How could this be good for me?"

I'll point out some of the benefits I get of using public transport. I started to take the bus some years ago. It took me nearly double the time it takes by car, and yet I'm still taking the bus. It can't be that bad after all. I still have a car, and I don't go everywhere with public transport. It's not that it's strictly necessary, it's just convenient. But I try to take the bus as often as possible.

I hope that I can show you that public transport can be good for you...