Why I Don’t Take Public Transpo Any More

That’s the headline on a column from the Toronto Star. A working mother decided that even though it costs more to drive, it adds greatly to the quality of her life. Read it here.

It’s a big change for me. I used to take the TTC every day. I live in Scarborough, near Kennedy Road and Steeles Avenue. It’s a long commute to the Star’s office at 1 Yonge Street – typically between 75 and 90 minutes each way. I would read to pass the time.

I work three days a week, and lately I’ve been staying late at the office to get extra work done. That’s when I realized how much faster driving was. I can leave the office at 8:00 p.m., and be standing in my living room 30 minutes later (40 minutes if there’s traffic or if I stop to pick up a couple of things at the grocery store.)

Instead of coming home well after bedtime and exhausted from a long commute, I get home still wide awake and in time to kiss my girls goodnight.

Her last line:

When I write about not using public transit anymore, it’s with a heavy heart.  I believe in public transit the way I believe in public education: the more we use it, the stronger the system becomes and the more we all benefit. But right now, driving just makes more sense – not financially but for my quality of life.

I concur. My office is 10 driving minutes from my home, about five miles.  Less if I hit all the lights.  I have taken the bus, it takes about 45 minutes to an hour, each way  — And frankly I just can’t invest the time.

This is where the earlier post about car pooling comes in. Trying to get people out of cars and into “rapid” transit is difficult enough, but when it takes twice as long, its probably a non starter. However, I, and most likely the Canadian woman in this article, would be happy to car pool certainly most of the time, if it were available to us.

See, that’s what so nice about a carpool.  When you have a schedule change and need your car, you can do it. Doctor, visit to the kid’s school, see your accountant, just drive that day. If you have a four person car pool, you have still taken two cars off the road for that day. Not a bad thing.

A number of wags here on the Parking Blog have been railing about car pools for years. It makes sense in every way. Like the writer above, I too feel guilty when I drive alone to work, just not enough to spend an additional hour and a half out of my life on a bus.


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3 Responses to Why I Don’t Take Public Transpo Any More

  1. Lindsay says:

    For me, the same thing applies as to why I ride my bike. Driving is out of the question – I don’t have a car. But transit takes 30-45 minutes and when I hop on my bike, I’m at work in about 12 minutes. I can walk to work in 50 minutes, and that’s free! Even today, when it’s cold and rainy, I’ll just layer up and take a hot shower at my office.

  2. Keith says:

    My commute on light rail is 30-35 minutes, door to door, and this includes a bit of walking to and from the train stops. Using my car for all other errands except commuting keeps my total mileage under 7,500 miles per year. That gets me a discount on my auto insurance.

    If everyone used an alternative commute one day per week – walk, bike, transit or telecommute – we might see a 20% reduction in congestion. What would commuting be like then?

  3. JVH says:

    Heh — There are only three of us and we work vastly different hours. So car pooling is not in the cards. Our office is in an industrial area, not many office types nearby. Just saying…There is always a reason, Keith. JVH

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