Last updated: Sep 4th, 2013

Public Transportation:

A SEPTA bus in a neighborhood with huge trees and ornate, old houses, approaching a sign that shows both a bus stop and a do-not-enter sign
SEPTA Bus, Philadelphia

Public transportation is any form of transportation that has fixed routes and is available to the public. The term usually includes government-run bus systems, as well as city-wide and regional train systems. It is debatable whether the term applies to private bus systems such as Greyhound, airlines, or national rail systems like Amtrak, but I usually would use the term to also apply to these systems.

I am a huge advocate of public transportation. Public transportation has many benefits:

How you can help

There are a number of ways you can become involved in public transportation:

When transit is slower and/or more expensive than cars

The most common complaint that I hear about public transportation is that it is slower and less flexible than car travel. Door-to-door trips often take longer, and sometimes require extensive walking on top of the time travelling. Occasionally, transit can even be more costly, especially when multiple people are travelling and the cost of multiple trips is weighed against carpooling.

The main benefit though, to the individual, of public transit is one that is often overlooked: reduced stress. This benefit can be huge, in many cases offsetting the cost of time and money. Stress is one of the major factors that negatively impacts quality of life, and it impacts virtually every aspect of life. Stress causes decline in both physical and psychological health, and can place strain on relationships as well.

Time spent in a car as a driver is not only dead time, in that it cannot be used to do things like reading, writing in a journal, or using a laptop, but it also is time which takes its toll on the driver in terms of stress. Because transit alleviates this stress, it is often worth taking public transit even when it adds significant travel time and even when it is more expensive in terms of dollar costs.

Further Resources

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