A green, or sustainable, commute doesn’t have to be difficult, boring or uncomfortable. A bus ride with a good book and some nice music in the morning sure beats getting stuck in the stress of rush hour traffic right in the morning. But a green commute demand some kind of planning. Driving in general doesn’t. At least not as much.
One tip for the budding bus commuter is to read up on the ticket system. Not knowing costs, how it works, travel times, and so on can actually be a game breaker for many people who aren’t used to riding the bus. Let’s take an example, the ticket system here in Volvo’s home town of Gothenburg;
The system uses cards with magnetic strips loaded with money or an area charge, and you check in when you board the vehicle. If you travel over public transportation zones you have to press a button when boarding and remember to check out by holding up the card to the check in machine. If you are just traveling within one zone (usually a city/town) you don’t even have to check out. Sounds difficult, right?
There are a few more quirks to the system, but let’s leave it at this. The point is that this system have become heavily criticized at every turn. The checking out procedure seems to be what irritates most people, as they forget and have to pay more then they should if that happen on a bus/train line that goes over several zones (ie. through several cities/towns).
Granted that is NOT good design. Stuff like that shouldn’t be possible, but how difficult is it to remember to check out when getting off the vehicle? Very difficult apparently. But if you just read up on how it works and make an effort to understand the system, where information is available on several buses/trains, at the stations and in info huts as well as on the local public transportation offices homepage you can actually avoid problems. I personally have never had the problem lots of people describe with this system.
The ticket systems differ in between countries and between cities, but the same rule apply. Preparations and knowledge makes the commute smoother and easier. It isn’t that difficult, just be sure to know how you pay, what it will cost, when the bus comes and when and where you will arrive. Easy, right?
Public transportation is surrounded by lots and lots of superstitions. It is dirty, noisy, uncomfortable, filled with thugs that will rob you blind and it costs way more then simply driving to work. My experiences tell me that this is wrong on so many levels. But you have to plan a bit more as you have times to follow, and has to have to be able to pay for the trip. It also helps to know alternative routes, but that is a bit overkill if you just want to green up your habits. And opting to take the bus saves a lot of CO2, as well as space on the roads. A buss will swallow some 50 passengers, which may mean 50 cars less on the roads. That means large amounts of CO2, particles, NOx, SO2 and noise are saved.
Climate change as well as local environmental problems are running rampart. You can help do something about this by simply taking the bus. That may seem like a daunting task for those who have never tried, but gather some friends/coworkers and do it together. Make sure you know the basics and enjoy the joyful ride to work with a good book and some nice music. Or the newspaper. Or some facebook time. And while you do that you are helping making the planet better. Sounds good?
By the way, go ahead and try Commute Greener! and see that you really can change our habits and save a lot of CO2 in the process.