Monday, May 02, 2016

The American public transportation system. It makes you want to drive.

Yodelers. There is something wrong with the American public transportation system. It's so good (insert sarcasm) it makes you want to drive.

But then, you don’t want to drive, because then you sit in endless traffic (because everyone else has come to the same conclusion that their public transport system won't work for them) and then you have to pay $30 to park, and then you can't even find a place to park.

Ok, ok. Maybe The Frau got spoiled by Switzerland. But based on all the Americans complaining about traffic, commutes, and lack of public transport options, maybe, just maybe, The Frau has every right to complain.

New York's La Guardia Airport, for example, DOES NOT CONNECT to New York's metro system. Imagine a European city not connecting its major airport to its train or subway system. It's just unthinkable. 

Well, the La Guardia example meant that it cost The Frau over $100 to get to a friend's house in a taxi. Americans pay the price for their lack of public transport every time they have to drive and park or take a taxi. It's insane.

The Frau’s sister recently had to change apartments in Boston. She now lives 6 miles from work. Sounds good, right? But to get to her office via American public transport, it takes her…drum roll…90 minutes.
There are no extra rides when you need them in the U.S.

This is not a joke. This is how broken the American transportation system is.

So The Frau’s sister tried driving. Took 45 minutes and cost $27 a day to park. But on days there is a baseball game, the parking garage kicks you out at 4:30 p.m. Even though you are required to pay $27 for the DAY. 

Desperate, The Frau’s sister tried biking to work. Took 45 minutes (wow, faster than public transport!) but the route is along busy roads and doesn’t feel very safe nor will it work during half the year in the snow.

Now let's go to another American city: Chicago. Compared to Boston, Chicago’s transport system is amazing. As amazing as a transport system is that doesn’t connect major train stations with other forms of transport can be, that is. As amazing as a transport system can be that can take you 15 miles in 20 minutes, but then take 45 minutes to go the last 1.5 miles of your journey. Will Chicago ever consider bus-only lanes? That is the question.

Needless to say, The Frau misses Swiss public transport. Seeing the Gotthard Tunnel getting ready to open on June 1 does not make this any easier.

See, it took the Swiss 17 years to build a 35-mile long tunnel through a mountain. In comparison, it took 70 years for one Chicago suburb just to repave 10 miles of their roads. Yes. Supposedly this summer, after 70 years, the suburb next to the one The Frau is living in will fix the pothole-ridden roads and The Frau might be able to bike down the street again.

Oh, America, there’s a reason The Frau works from home.


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