Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Bus

November starts Air Pollution time in my beautiful city; the temperature inversions near our mountains keep all the car exhaust right down here with us and the smallness of our trees and the wideness of our vistas mean that (a) it doesn't get cleaned up and (b)it is all too visible. So starting in November we have to use more expensive gas and are invited to not drive to work one day a week. I'm lucky enough to live two blocks from a bus line that takes me right to church and have been taking the bus more and more often this last year. I bought a three month pass in July and today I sprung for a 13 month pass. Now I take the bus every day that I don't need a car.

It's a big lifestyle change. It adds a half hour to my work day, which has taken some getting used to, but I feel like I know my city and its people better, and I do get home more relaxed and somewhat better exercised. But mostly, it's my little bit, not only for the winter air quality in my city, but for the world; the island dwellers and polar bears and the African peasants who suffer the most from drought. It's a symbolic gesture which will do no measurable good, except to show that it is possible, even in a sprawling western city, to do a lot on public transportation.


mjae said...

I love that you take the bus. Eric & I walk/bus (respectively) to work 2x a week. Feels great. I love the way it slows your whole day down, and changes the pacing of your perspective to that of a stroll.

You actually have time and space to smell fall blooming and watch the daily miracle of leaves changing color. Pretty great.

We live right by the newly-instituted Lomas RapidRide that connects the Westside, Old Town, Downtown, & UNM. It's fantastic. Such an efficient and cheap way to connect our city. If only they'd follow that model instead of fixating on light rail, which costs ten times what a bus system does for much less service and zero flexibility. Ugh.

And yes, while your gesture is largely symbolic, it's that proverbial raindrop that could become a storm of change if everyone did even that much.

So cheers, fellow public transportation lover, because it's not just an environmental position; it's also about social justice, as low-income families depend on a public transportation system that would be so much better if we all demanded that it improve so that it works for everyone.

grumblecake said...

There's an interesting discussion of the Albuquerque bus system taking place over at the new Duke City Fix. In fact, there's a new group over there called "ABQ Bus Riders"! Check it out!