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When you drive, why do you do it instead of walking, cycling, or using COTA ?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion When you drive, why do you do it instead of walking, cycling, or using COTA ?

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Viewing 15 posts - 106 through 120 (of 124 total)
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  • #376298
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    TomOver wrote >>
    But why do the analysis in the first place ?

    Personal curiosity.

    TomOver wrote >> Otherwise, this analysis would seem–to me at least–to be a class-based fetish for gathering data.

    Don’t project your seemingly derogatory assumptions on me. This is a topic I’m extremely interested in and these sorts of remarks keep me from wanting to continue to discuss anything at all with you.

    #376299

    Is it really about time ? Or is it, instead, a question of the quality of the experience ?

    When I drive, its to get someplace I have to be that is beyond walking distance according to a schedule.

    Fuck experience, its about time.

    #376300
    Mae Greentree
    Mae Greentree
    Participant

    Core_Models wrote >>

    Is it really about time ? Or is it, instead, a question of the quality of the experience ?

    When I drive, its to get someplace I have to be that is beyond walking distance according to a schedule.
    Fuck experience, its about time.

    I have to agree. I could rush to leave my house by 6:00 am in order to take a bus ride that would drop me off near work over an hour early (the next the bus would drop me off an unacceptable 20 minutes late). Or I could wake up at 6:00 am, have time to cook myself breakfast, pack lunch, take in some news, and spend a little time with my husband before I drive to work, which generally takes 15-20 minutes. The earliest bus ride would get me home over half an hour after my car commute would. In other words, I have at least 2 hours’ worth of time every weekday that I feel is better spent at home than in riding on and waiting for a COTA bus.

    Another issue with I have with walking/biking is health-related. Especially recently when temperatures are high, seasonal allergens are abundant, and air quality is extremely low, biking is impossible and even walking has risks. Driving allows me to be less dependent on medications to survive summer in Ohio.

    #376301

    thepiece
    Participant

    +1 to the comments above.

    I rode cota to work for years and have lived here car free for a duration, somewhat out of principle, somewhat to save money or occasionally the hassle. At some point the time cost exceeded all of those concerns so I stopped. We all have to make decisions based on those things, and I don’t think people should be criticized for the rational choices they make.

    Time is pretty important to people, and just like getting stuck in gridlock on the outer belt isn’t a wonderful experience, riding COTA for 45 minutes to travel a few miles or standing at a bus stop in January is not a wonderful experience.

    TomOver, it’s cool to try and get people to take different modes of transit, but when you talk about how amazing the “experience” of riding COTA is or that time really isn’t important and is just a social construct, that seems a little out of touch with reality to me.

    #376302

    gramarye
    Participant

    I’ll also share this:

    The bus systems in Columbus (at least the last time I used it, which was about a year and a half ago now) and Akron do not go out of their way to accommodate white collar passengers. Specifically, they don’t have the rechargeable tickets that the metro systems of places like D.C. and New York offer, which means that they operate on a cash-only, exact-change basis. In addition, my profession, at least, operates in a world of deadlines; the frequency with which buses fall behind schedule is professionally risky, and most in my profession consider it an unnecessary risk.

    I live in downtown Akron not far from the Transit Center from which almost every single Akron Metro bus route leaves. Two routes go right by the doors of my apartment building. Several more pass right by my office, which is on a main street named Main Street. Another 10+ go within four blocks of me. I still seldom ride the bus.

    I decided to experiment with it. I did the legwork to figure out the route maps. (They aren’t on Google Maps the way Columbus is. They need to be.) Despite needing to make a trip of only about 10 blocks, with two potential buses to choose from, both were late. I ended up being 15 minutes late to a brown bag luncheon with a federal judge. I was glad I didn’t end up experimenting with it for a court appearance.

    I would love to say that I had a sufficiently positive experience with the bus to be able to spread the good news around the office and encourage some people to try it, at least at lunch or for runs right up the road to the federal and state court complexes. Sadly, I am not in a position to be able to do that, and this is after giving them a chance. If they want my business, they will do the following:

    (1) Get on Google Transit or design an in-house route planner of comparable ease of use (good luck). Akron Metro’s Web site right now is almost criminally underdeveloped. I can download a bunch of PDFs of the various routes, and a full-system map (in tiny print unless I blow it up to 400%). I can’t actually access a dynamic map of the system. (Columbus, at least, is on Google Transit, so this criticism is Akron-specific. I believe the others here apply equally to both systems.)

    (2) Produce iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Web-based apps that can track all the buses. I want to be able to walk out of my office with exactly one minute to go before the bus arrives. I don’t care if it’s behind schedule, actually–as long as I know. Standing and stewing at the bus station for fifteen minutes was one of the most grating parts of the experiment, however.

    (3) Install a fare card system. I don’t want to carry around a bunch of quarters. I want to pay $10 or $20 at once and be able to ride until it’s used up. Even better would be the option to buy a fare card online and have it mailed to me.

    The bottom line: riding the Akron Metro made it very clear to me why the overwhelming majority of the people who do so, at least to outward appearances, are the people for who are forced to do so for financial reasons.

    I’m not. I *can* afford a car. I will be able to afford a car even if Peak Oil turns out to be much worse than I anticipate. I am also one of the most enthusiastic boosters for the urban lifestyle in my office. I make no secret of the fact that I live downtown and walk to work along the bike trail that goes by both my apartment and my office. That said, if the bus system wants to be a part of the case for urban living that I make to my coworkers, it needs to make some serious changes to be compatible with the lifestyles of busy, tech-savvy, 21st-century professionals. I’m not going to sacrifice my own credibility overselling the buses just out of some blind loyalty to all things urban.

    #376303

    Trixie
    Participant

    I’m driving today because it’s Africa hot. I love riding my bike to work but I am a giant baby when it’s super hot or super cold. Oh yeah, and it’s too hot to wait for the bus. Again, giant baby.

    #376304

    Talcott
    Member

    gramarye wrote >>
    (3) Install a fare card system. I don’t want to carry around a bunch of quarters. I want to pay $10 or $20 at once and be able to ride until it’s used up. Even better would be the option to buy a fare card online and have it mailed to me.

    I emailed COTA a few months ago about that, and was told they were looking into it and might have them next year. The need for exact change is the #1 reason why I don’t ride COTA more. Aside from environmental issues, I feel like COTA is leaving money on the table by not having a pre-paid card system. Right now, I only ride the bus if I’m planning for it ahead of time, but when I had a monthly pass I would often hop on the bus on a whim to check out something downtown or elsewhere. Ideally, I’d like to think there would be a bulk discount worked into the card price, but I’d pay full price for the convenience.

    #376305

    Cookie
    Member

    I haven’t been able to walk to work lately because of a stress fracture in my foot. I got the OK from the doctor to take off the air cast and start walking again, but I wimped out for the air conditioned bus this morning. What would my great grandparents say?

    #376306

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    Talcott wrote >>
    I feel like COTA is leaving money on the table by not having a pre-paid card system.

    This is likely true in more ways than one. It’s not just lost revenue. In transit, time is money, drivers are paid by the hour. Since cash-paying customers are slower to board than those with monthly passes or smart cards, the slower speeds cost COTA money. If they could reduce dwell times (time a bus is at a stop), they could run fewer buses and maintain the same headway (time between buses). The faster speeds would probably also attract more customers and revenue. A smart card would cost some money to adopt, but I think it’s a no-brainer, probably one of my top three priorities for COTA.

    #376307

    Talcott
    Member

    johnwirtz wrote >>

    Talcott wrote >>
    I feel like COTA is leaving money on the table by not having a pre-paid card system.

    This is likely true in more ways than one. It’s not just lost revenue. In transit, time is money, drivers are paid by the hour. Since cash-paying customers are slower to board than those with monthly passes or smart cards, the slower speeds cost COTA money. If they could reduce dwell times (time a bus is at a stop), they could run fewer buses and maintain the same headway (time between buses). The faster speeds would probably also attract more customers and revenue. A smart card would cost some money to adopt, but I think it’s a no-brainer, probably one of my top three priorities for COTA.

    How complicated would that kind of system be to implement? Could the current readers be configured to write to the cards in order to deduct the fare for each trip, or would they need to install new readers on each bus? Other than some administrative costs, that’s the only hurdle I can think of (at least for a pilot program). There are all sorts of bells and whistles that I’d like to see as part of that program (rechargeable cards, kiosks, discounted rates, etc.) but I think just being able to buy a 12-ride, $20.00 paper card (just like the monthly pass) would be both popular and easy to implement.

    #376308
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    gramarye wrote >>
    I want to be able to walk out of my office with exactly one minute to go before the bus arrives. I don’t care if it’s behind schedule, actually–as long as I know. Standing and stewing at the bus station for fifteen minutes was one of the most grating parts of the experiment, however.

    I know you’re talking about Akron and not Columbus, but I just wanted to say… I use the built-in google maps app on the iphone to pull up on-the-fly transit directions on a daily basis and it works like a charm 95% of the time (the other 5% of the time it tries to give you a later-arriving non-transfer route as a priority over a speedier single-transfer route which can be goofy to work around). Anyway, punching in directions is as easy as having the iphone use the GPS for “current location” so all you have to type in is your desired location (or click 2 buttons for a bookmarked location) and it will tell you the next bus you need to take, where that stop is, and when it’s arriving.

    Of course, it doesn’t help if the bus is running late or early, but I usually try to get to the bus stop 3-4 minutes ahead of the bus and rarely wait longer than 5 minutes total. And again, if you’re using a mobile device for productivity, 5 minutes of checking email, checking rss feeds, listening to voicemails or some other electronic tasks can make those 5 minutes fly by without really “wasting” time. Though some days it’s nice to just relax too. ;)

    #376309

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    Talcott wrote >>

    johnwirtz wrote >>

    Talcott wrote >>
    I feel like COTA is leaving money on the table by not having a pre-paid card system.

    This is likely true in more ways than one. It’s not just lost revenue. In transit, time is money, drivers are paid by the hour. Since cash-paying customers are slower to board than those with monthly passes or smart cards, the slower speeds cost COTA money. If they could reduce dwell times (time a bus is at a stop), they could run fewer buses and maintain the same headway (time between buses). The faster speeds would probably also attract more customers and revenue. A smart card would cost some money to adopt, but I think it’s a no-brainer, probably one of my top three priorities for COTA.

    How complicated would that kind of system be to implement? Could the current readers be configured to write to the cards in order to deduct the fare for each trip, or would they need to install new readers on each bus? Other than some administrative costs, that’s the only hurdle I can think of (at least for a pilot program). There are all sorts of bells and whistles that I’d like to see as part of that program (rechargeable cards, kiosks, discounted rates, etc.) but I think just being able to buy a 12-ride, $20.00 paper card (just like the monthly pass) would be both popular and easy to implement.

    I’m not sure about all the technical requirements for a smart card system, but plenty of other cities have obviously done it.

    I think I’d actually rather see a move towards having fare boxes that accept contactless debit/credit cards. That would take the burden and cost off of the transit agency to provide the physical cards and ticket vending machines. They could still partner with a company to create a card that would double as a monthly pass.

    I love your multi-ride pass idea. Seems simple and easy. I ride a train every day where I would guess at least half the customers use a 10-ride pass that the conductor punches. I use a monthly ticket-by-mail program. The cost is deducted pre-tax from my paycheck and I don’t even have to write a check. The pass just shows up in the mail every month.

    #376310

    mt448
    Member

    So, back in the 90’s there was this lil ole movie called “Singles.” In the movie, the lead character wants the mayor to approve his Supertrain…mass transit for inner Seattle. And in reading this thread, a line from that movie came to my mind. When he presented the idea, he was answered with “people love their cars.” I know I might get blasted for this…but I do love my car. I love driving around with the radio loud, I loved hiding my smoking habit by driving and smoking (when I was in my 20’s), I love the wind on the freeway. I love my car. Yeah, I walk, and I bike, but I love my car.

    #376311
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    I’d say more accurately “some people love their cars”. ;) I personally hate driving about 90% of the time.

    Anyway, the best part about making investments and improvements in public and pedestrian transit infrastructure is that no one is required to love their cars any less. :D

    #376312

    gramarye
    Participant

    I could see myself loving *a* car, just not the one I currently drive. I’m excited about test driving some electrics when my current car finally dies, but I think I’ve got a few good years left in my little Nissan.

    Right now, I just like my car. I don’t hate it or love it. I do hate driving in certain places and times, which is why I think renting an apartment within walking distance to work was a good call. My car gets from Point A to Point B, is completely paid off, is moderately fuel efficient, and has a midrange custom sound system that was worth the modest investment. (It’s not a portable earthquake, but I don’t need that.) The air conditioner is on its last legs, though, so I’m not too keen on driving it in this weather!

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