Friday, June 29, 2007

Let go the car!

On my way to the office, I look around and find that 90% of the vehicles are occupied by just the driver - including me. With the rising fuel prices, increasing traffic jams and concerns for global warming, I had a huge guilt in my heart. I was an abettor in the bumper-to-bumper traffic jams and a contributor to the selfish depletion of natural resources. Among the alternatives, cycling or walking was not an option considering the miles I'd to travel. Carpool was an option that I really wanted but none of my searches resulted in success. Finally, frustrated with being stuck in traffic jams almost every other day I decided to use the San Diego Coaster (train). Words can't describe my feelings the first day I commuted to office solely on the basis of public transportation. Not only was I saved the agony of jams and harassment by traffic violators but I it also made me feel as if I'd contributed to a good cause however small the contribution: I'd saved a few gallons of gas, to be precise 2 gallons. If I could do this every week, then I would save 104 gallons in a year. If one person could make so much difference then just imagine how much gas would be saved if each of us shunned our cars just once a week!

Using public transportation has many advantages, personal as well as societal:
  1. Saves gas.
  2. Saves you the hassle of driving and facing traffic.
  3. Gives you time to do anything you enjoy doing during your commute.
  4. In most cases would turn out to be cheaper. The cost of driving your own vehicle is not just the cost of fuel, it also included cost of maintenance, insurance, etc. To calculate the actual cost of driving you can use this calculator.
  5. Reduces the depreciation on your vehicle.
  6. Reduces the cost of maintenance of your vehicle.
  7. Reduces number of vehicles on the road and hence decreasing traffic jams.
In some cases, like mine, using public transportation may take some extra time as compared to taking your own vehicle but that extra time can be put to good use and then the pros easily outweigh the cons.

For those who're looking for some information on how to commute using the coaster: most of the stations have the facility to park your car at the station of origin and from the destination station there are a number of shuttles which is most cases will drop you off next to your office. These shuttles are free if you're using the coaster. A single day ticket might be a little expensive but it's worth when on days of the week when you encounter long traffic jams. A monthly pass is very reasonable if you decide to use the coaster daily. The best part of these shuttles is that they are for the coaster commuters so they leave as soon as the commuters have boarded and hence there's no wait. Similarly, their return time is scheduled such that they drop you off just in time for your coaster. Another advantage of using the coaster is the beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean you get to see.


Meetu said...

Nice one Smriti.
Hope many people read this and get inspired. As for me I already use tube in London / office bus in India ;o)

Smriti said...

Thanks Meetu! That's my hope.