My daughter runs into the "bus can't do it" problem.

My daughter is having her first exciting month living off campus at a northern California college town.

Her initial scheme for saving money on groceries is to shop at a discount grocery store about a mile away, and perhaps 400 feet lower elevation.

In round numbers, she hopes to buy 4 bags of groceries at $15 each instead of 4 bags at $20 each in the gourmet ghetto.

So the scheme is to save about $20 by going to the discount store once a week. The bus fare is $1.75 each way.

The choices for her are:
  • Travel by bicycle: The trip is a 2 mile (round trip) bicycle ride on heavily traveled side streets.
  • Travel by bus: The bus trip requires walking 2 blocks to the bus stop, waiting, then taking a 1 mile bus ride, then walking 1 block to the store.

I'd say her travel problem puts her on the boundary line of the utility of the public bus system.

Doing this trip by bicycle is a strenuous ride with lots of automobile traffic hazard. Doing this trip by bus will raise problems with arm and hand fatigue. If she doesn't carry the 4 bags of groceries, then she needs a large knapsack and a shoulder bag.

So the point I see as a public bus critic is: the bus does not accommodate the day-to-day need of people to carry 30 to 120 pounds on the bus.

1 comment:

georoad said...

Actually, I have to disagree with the risk of automobile traffic. O agree there is a perception of risk from rear end collision. But actual collisions are quite rare, especially in non-rural, daytime riding that I would suggest your daughter probably do.