Those of you who have lived overseas or in major cities with good mass transit can laugh or cry when reading this. For the last 18 days I have made due with out a car in Austin, Texas. I have enjoyed riding my bike, walking my boys to school and taking the bus.
Years ago I worked downtown and took the bus because of horrible parking. The bus schedule was hap hazard at best. I am impressed, today, with the buses on time record and cleanliness. Further, the Drivers offer advice on reaching destinations and are very friendly. That being said we do have major issue to address before more Austinites ride the bus.
The largest problem is the infrastructure. If we are not comfortable walking to or standing at the stop we won't ride. Sidewalks need to be clear; some places need sidewalks period. We can improve our city's quality of life by improving the transportation options.
Every city employee, City Council and the Mayor should ride the bus for at least one week and give feed back. The bus stop as well as the bus should be clean and well lit. The path to the bus stop needs to be clear. Brodie lane has weeds as high as an elephants eye. It is dangerous the stop at Eskew and Brodie is filthy. By requiring City employees, transit workers to get out of their comfort zone and take mass transit we would affect real change. Citizens all over the city would give input for real change for the better.
Those of you who think it is a waste of time and money, think of this, for every person who takes the bus that's one less person on I-35, Mopac etc and one more parking space Downtown. If you whine about waiting while a train passes imagine that being 10 to 40 more cars passing. Business owners out side the Automobile related industry will see more spending for homes, dining, cloths and more.
Not to mention our reliance on the car has surely lead to Americans obesity, declining health and stress.