pros and cons of public transportation

Pros:

  • Public transportation does not require much of your attention. When you don’t have to focus on driving to wherever you’re going, you can spend mental energy on other stuff like napping or learning to crochet or taking silly snapchats or writing blog posts.
  • Public transportation is good for the environment! Or, rather, public transportation is less bad for the environment than driving. There are still probably better options, such as walking or biking or staying in your house with the lights off and only gardening on your rooftop for exactly the amount of food you need. Nonetheless, if you insist on going places that are more than a reasonable walking distance away, public transport is a fairly ecofriendly way to get there.
  • Taking public transportation puts you in contact with what some like to call “the real world.” Being exposed to this in small doses before graduation can, I hear, help one cope with it later in life, much like having a pet when you are young will often prevent allergies.
  • You can meet some really cool interesting people on trains and busses. Most of the time, everyone around you is just sitting there in silence, so it’s not too hard to get a conversation going if you so choose.
  • Depending on the circumstances, it can be very regular! If you take the Metro to work every day, a traffic jam on the beltway isn’t going to mean much for you. It’s also kind of nice that any delays are out of your hands. When you’re sitting in traffic, you might try to strategize a way to escape the jam. When you’re sitting on a train, you’ll arrive at your destination when you arrive and there is nothing you can do about it.

Cons:

  • Depending on the circumstances, it can also be very irregular. The first time I tried to take the MBTA from Providence to Boston, the train was very late. I was going to Boston to see a concert, and this situation caused me a great deal of anxiety (although it turns out we only missed the first opener). I spent the whole delay grumbling about how such inefficiency would never be tolerated in Switzerland. In fact, most things are not tolerated in Switzerland.
  • Public transportation can be crowded. I’m all for becoming acquainted with the real world, but I don’t need to have the real world’s butt inches from my face, thank you.
  • Public transportation costs money. It’s much cheaper than driving when you do the math, but I don’t do math. I just know that every time I take the Metro, I have to take some money out of my wallet and give it to someone else. That doesn’t happen every time I drive, which sort of makes it feel like driving is free! Except when I have to buy gas. And like, pay for the car, theoretically. So public transportation is cheaper than driving by a longshot, but it requires the actual transfer of money, which is a bummer.
  • Once you’re having a conversation with a person on a train or something, there’s no good way to end it until your train ride is over. At best, you can try to trail off (ineffective), conspicuously put in headphones (awkward), or maybe say something like “well I’m going to do things other than talk to you now” (rude and weird). Pick your poison!
  • Public transportation is not likely to pick you up at your house and drop you off exactly at your destination the way a car would (and if it does, I hate to break it to you, but you might be living in a train station).
  • Even if it’s raining, you still probably have to walk home.
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