Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Defense of Public Transportation

In the two-plus decades I have been part of this world, I have ridden in a number of private vehicles. The first family car I remember is a 1989 Volvo, and my parents currently own a 2003 Toyota Matrix. I have also been a passenger (and sometimes even a driver) of my friends’ assorted cars and similar vehicles. I have ridden in limousines and even a jaguar. Cars are a worthy invention.

But I have no desire to own a car. I feel that, for where I see myself in my early adulthood, the costs outweigh the benefits. I dislike the thought of scraping together money to initially buy a car, and then the regular expenditures for gas, repairs, parking, and insurance.

Instead, I would rather avail myself of public transportation. I consider it to be an essential industry. And thankfully, even mid-range municipalities have such an industry to some degree. A major metropolis like Chicago, where if I have my way I will end up after college, has an equally massive public transportation system.

My personal favorite elements of Chicago’s public transportation system are the Chicago Transit Authority’s rapid transit system and Metra commuter rail. The former provides quick access between most major points in the city itself and several of its closest suburbs (I use it mostly to get from Oak Park to downtown); the latter provides regular access from the city to epicenters within the six-county area (I use it mostly for transit between Wheaton and Oak Park or Chicago). It is all really quite simple. Get on, take a seat, and get off. It provides a handy opportunity to catch up on some reading, too.

In my adult life, I would much rather spend a few hundred dollars a month on public transportation than probably a thousand dollars a month on the costs of owning a car. Public transportation may not take you from portal to portal, but a few blocks’ walk on either end is an easy way to get a bit of exercise.

This is Rubio, over and out.

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