Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interesting Blog About Public Transit

I find this interesting because, I'm both a bicycle and MINI Cooper enthusiast with a high appreciation for public transit.

I found this link on the Streetsblog.net site. The Transit Pass has put together a comparison of public transportation rides verses population in major metropolitan areas across the country. Since I'm in the DFW Metroplex, I was interested in the results for Dallas.

With a population (according to Wikipedia) of 6,300,006, Dallas is 4th on the list of size, right behind NYC, Chicago and LA. However, with only 217,000 rides per day, it falls below the top 15 cities in public transportation usage. They're blaming it on the fact that Dallas was "...built around the car and without public transit in mind. " - which I can completely agree with.

We're a city that's spread thin and wide with no natural limitations on growth. We're not bordered by mountains or oceans forcing us to develop communities within limited real estate. We just go further out. Unfortunately, because of this, nothing is close. You almost need a car for work, shopping or to do anything around the Metroplex. The challenge of decent public transportation gets harder as the city grows larger.

For my commute to work, public transportation is useless. Instead of going into Dallas, my job is west of my home. Yes, there are buses that go from my neighborhood to a few blocks from my office. However, it requires at least 2-3 transfers and almost a 2 hour commute - for a 13 mile distance. Since bike commuting in the suburbs is not very common and Texas drivers aren't very accommodating, cycling isn't a safe option either.

There's nobody to blame for this. We've just become victims of our own situation. Of course this looks bad for DFW who, along with Houston, "represent the worst of car culture in America."

Personally, I would love for the DART and public transit to thrive in my city. I'd even take it more often if somebody could come up with a better solution for me. Until then, I'll be enjoying my fun, little, fuel efficient MINI Cooper.


Steve A said...

I have an annual "T" pass. It's difficult to find use for it for point-to-point travel that's competitive with my bicycle, much less car. The only exception has proved to be TRE and that's all I've ever used the pass for, though I keep looking for other uses. TRE works because it lets me get to a station, quickly get many miles down the line, and then ride to the finish point. This morning, for example, TRE allowed me to get from Colleyville to AA Center by 8AM. I rode to the Centerport Station and then hopped on the train.

In reality, the same is true of transit in most other places. I took a bus to work in Los Angeles, but only because it went within a block of my house and dropped me off at work with no transfers needed. I was lucky.

dickdavid said...

Like many in DFW, I am spoiled by the convenience of point-to-point travel. Honestly, transfers don't bother me to bad and I could ride to avoid most of them.

Unfortunately, my job has me on an unpredictable schedule, which makes it difficult to come up with a commuting routine. Since the DART stops/reduces certain runs, the wait and the commute take longer.

My goal is to figure out a route, DART or not, that gets me home safely - at least a couple days a week.