Bus Commuting Sucks More Often Than Not

As awesome as it would be if everyone could feasibly take public transit for their commute, Scott McGerik breaks down exactly why it’s not a good idea for him.

There’s math. He gives a perfect example of the back of the envelope calculations involved. I followed along and found that my per-mile costs are much lower than I thought. And depending on what your costs are, it makes everyone’s break-even point different.

What it really boils down to is that it’s just not feasible to take Metro Transit between suburbs. This is an oft-cited problem in discussion of what’s lacking in our public transportation system. If it takes 75 minutes to get to work by bus vs 10 minutes by car (each way), of course you’re going to drive. Similarly, there is no Southwest Transit option for me to get four miles across Eden Prairie from home to work. My choice becomes 9 minutes in the car vs 22 minutes on my bike.

If you need to get four miles across Minneapolis, public transit still may not be feasible depending on where you’re going, but there a lot more options.

5 Comments so far

  1. Art (artallen) on July 6th, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

    Buses (or other public transit) are only really cost effective if you live in the city and don’t own a car. This is unfortunate but true =\


  2. yoshi on July 6th, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

    Art – its not true and thousands of people disagree with you. Park and Rides are very popular. So much in fact that Park and Ride lots are overflowing. But suburb to suburb or -from- the city to suburb does not work with Metro Transit. As its largely a wheel and spoke transit design.

    As I work downtown – I take the bus or bike in from my south minneapolis home. I know many who do park and rides from woodbury, eagan, minnetonka, etc. The cost and convenience factor trump trying to get into the city and parking. If I don’t work downtown – I am forced to drive or bike it. Now that’s the unfortunate truth.


  3. kitt on July 8th, 2008 @ 9:40 am

    Even if you live in the city, it’s not convenient unless your destination is on the way to or from downtown. I live in NE Mpls, and my workplace is on the edge of Golden Valley. My drive is about 15-20 minutes, all of 6 miles in distance and it takes 45-50 minutes by bus. Why? I have to go downtown! I bus downtown, get off, wait for another bus, and that takes me to work.

    Metro transit’s "Let’s make everyone go downtown" scheme is extremely inconvenient for those of us who don’t need to go there. Even busing to the U of M is 30-40 minutes for the same reason, and I live right off of University Ave. I bus downtown and then to campus. No wonder so many people avoid the bus.

    It takes me the same amount of time to bike to work and shower as busing. I still bus though; I feel it’s important and it lessens my carbon footprint. That doesn’t change the fact that it sucks.


  4. Erica M (ericam) on July 8th, 2008 @ 9:47 am

    It takes me the same amount of time to bike to work and shower as busing. I still bus though; I feel it’s important and it lessens my carbon footprint. That doesn’t change the fact that it sucks.

    It sucks that folks even have to make this choice. If they really want to encourage more people to take public transit, there’s got to be better commuting options. To make it compelling for new riders, they have to make it dead simple for commuting, and that is not happening.

    I think it’s telling that so many people are willing to give it a shot but don’t because it’s not just not convenient, it’s highly inconvenient.


  5. Roundup | Minneapolis Metblogs (pingback) on July 21st, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

    […] the metro needs a comprehensive LRT system, there is a lot of opportunity in adequately funding and fleshing out our bus system and bringing back […]



Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.