Thursday, June 19, 2008

Done With the Train

Despite the fact that gas is soon going to be $5 a gallon, I've decided that I'm done with the train.  I've been trying to take the train
on and off for the past few month but decided today that I have had it.   Like a typical Californian, I'm addicted to my car.

A couple of things killed the train experience for me.  While it is generally more convenient for a majority of people who can get on it easily, it really isn't for me.  My commute isn't that bad.  I do hit some traffic, but I know enough of the side streets to be able to get around any traffic jams.  The money hurts a little bit, it is taking me about $60 a week to fill up my tank, but it isn't horrible.  Two things did it for me.

  1. The train takes longer.  Door to door, it takes me 30-40 minutes in my car.  The train takes me about an hour.   Round trip, I can save 40-60 minutes a day.  That really starts to add up.

  2. I get a headache when I ride the train.  Don't know why, it isn't bumpy or anything like that.  It just gives me one.  it usually takes me about an hour to recover from it when I get home, sucking up even more time.

So that's it for me.  I was trying to do my part to help the environment and the horrible traffic congestion in Los Angeles, but in the end, my own convenience and comfort wins out.  I know, I'm a horrible human being.  Was it the right thing to do, or did I give up too easily?


  1. I enjoy taking the train, but I suppose my trip is easier than yours, since the line that I take is only 4 blocks from our building instead of having to take the shuttle from Union Station like you do. I have to travel a bit further to my local station and have to find parking, but at the time I go at in the morning, it's relatively easy. I have been wondering if I would really save any time if I took my car instead. I think if I did, it'd be negligible...perhaps 10 minutes.

  2. T, I'm with you. I don't use public transportation because it wastes my time and is uncomfortable - try waiting at the bus stop in 110 weather. And I don't have to take the bus because I can afford the gas. Unfair to those who can't and, I suppose, to the environment. I'm a bad, bad person. On the other hand, I have a car that gets good mileage and it is maintained so it isn't a horrible polluting machine. Maybe I am just a bad person, not bad squared.

  3. I don't take public transportation either. I get really bad motion sickness. The last time I tried the bus, other passengers were praying, not shy moving away from me and giving me that "oh, please don't puke all over the bus" look. That was enough for me. Am I really helping more than harming? I'm not comfortable on the bus and other passengers are tense throughout the ride even before they get to work. I don't feel like a bad person for not taking public transportation.

  4. I couldn't imagine taking public transportation in the Nevada summer. It was bad enough to do it a few weeks ago when it was hot. The train, although air conditioned, was still pretty uncomfortable. Nothing like cramming a bunch of hot sweaty people into a metal container.

  5. Public transportation is great for those of us who don't get motion sickness. I clean up my inbox on the train. Let's face it, during work hours, you only have so much time to respond to emails. There are tasks to be done and meetings to attend. I used to let my emails pile up but then I realized how easy email is to get through on the train. There are no interruptions from fellow coworkers or fires to put out. Then when I get in the next day, my inbox is tamed. Take the train if you can. It can pay off for you and the environment.

  6. Kyle makes an excellent point about the ability to get work done on the train. And on the subject of multitasking, why not consider biking to work? You can avoid traffic and get a great workout at the same time!