This month I've been conducting an experiment. Translink raised the cost of a monthly pass from $73 to $81. A shift of only $8, but for someone living of a part-time theatre worker's salary, this makes a significant budget-al impact. Sad, I know. As I am lucky to have free-ish part-time access to a vehicle, I decided to find out once and for all if driving could be cheaper than bussing.
The experiment failed miserably because instead of staying away all month like I had somehow imagined she would, my sister (who I share the car with) came home from a tour mid-month and suddenly needed to use the car as if she had a fair share in it. So it was mid-month and I was carless and there was clearly zero point in actually buying a bus pass anymore. Experiment fail.
Based on my expenditures to that point, however, I did figure out that it is cheaper to drive a car, but only if a) you don't have to pay insurance and b) you don't give too many people rides around town and never pay for parking. If you're a home/work type of person and don't go out much, then I betcha you'll save a buck driving. If you go out a lot, then you'll probably save money taking the bus.
Lucky for me, money is not the only factor in the decision making process! There are many other pros and cons to weigh in on when it comes to choosing a method of transportation. And so begins... the TRANSPORTATION WARS! (Insert big echoey important-sounding voice here!)
Traditionally one might say that buses, cars, and bikes are the primary methods of getting around town. I keep intending to bike and never do, but will often choose walking everywhere/taking transit I can get onto for free when particularly pressed for cash.(Disclaimer: Yes, I do realize that getting on the back doors of a B-Line is unethical and probably just plain wrong. I do not do it lightly. I do not take pride in effing over Translink or in playing the system. I feel pretty bad about it. I only do it when totally necessary.) So I will compare bussing, driving, and walk/free-bussing in relevant, non-financial categories.
Bussing: So long as everything's running on time it takes about 30-45 minutes to get pretty much anywhere in Vancouver from my corner of town. If it's running late then I am completely effed.
Driving: Always the fastest, unless I have to drive around forever trying to find parking. Especially since I refuse to pay for parking unless I'm downtown where it's unavoidable.
Walk/Free-bussing: Takes the longest, but surprisingly not too much longer. It takes about 45 minutes to get to work instead of 30.
Bussing: I actually enjoy taking the bus quite a bit most of the time. I get on, I get a seat, and I read my book until it's time to get off. This is great. I have a really busy schedule, so this is generally the only time I have to read
Driving: I don't really like driving that much in and of itself. Where driving wins is that I get to listen to music and sing as much and as loud as I want. Also, spazztic car-dancing is an awesome occurrence that always brightens my mood.
Walk/Free-bussing: I love walking. I get to look at windows, look at people, and get a little exercise. In terms of the bonus activities of reading or singing, it comes in shoddy second on both accounts. If/when I hop a bus, I get to read, but it's a much shorter trip and I spend a lot of time looking up to check and see if Transit Cops are going to get on and beat me down. When I'm walking I only get to sing to myself quietly and only if I feel like other pedestrians are far enough away not to notice. Spazztic dancing only occurs in the middle of the night on completely empty streets.
Bussing: Only stressful when the bus is running late. Then stress levels are through the roof and entering crazy town as I anxiously check the time over and over, curse stop lights under my breath, and try to stop myself from sniping fellow passengers who insist on getting off at EVERY SINGLE STOP as if it's their right to get off wherever they want (I mean, how selfish can you get?!??!!) and then have to power walk like a maniac to get wherever I'm going once I get off the bus on time. If the bus is on time, stress levels are zero as I calmly read my book.
Driving: Mid-moderate stress levels always. I am becoming a more and more nervous driver every day.
Walk/Free-bussing: Always moderate-high when free-bussing as I am sure that I will get caught any day now. I really don't do well with the "dangerous excitement" of flouting the law. Hence why when my friends wanted to sneak into a movie, I managed instead to talk us into getting free passes.
Potential for awkward social situations (includes but is not limited to: being asked for money, crazy people talking to you, and running into random acquaintances you don't know well enough to sustain 15-minutes of we're-on-the-same-bus conversation.)
Bussing: Always possible.
Driving: Never possible.
Walk/Free-bussing: Always possible.
Potential for running into people I know and like, thus feeling like I am a well-connected person with lots of friends
Driving: Very low.
WINNERS: BUSSING AND WALK/FREE-BUSSING!
Potential for admiring attractive people
Walk/Free-bussing: High. (I don't know why but I feel like I notice more attractive people walking than on the bus.)
Bussing: Low. The only guilt really comes from wishing I would walk places more often for the exercise. Environmental guilt is virtually non-existent.
Driving: High environmental and laziness guilt.
Walk/Free-bussing: Environmental guilt virtually non-existent. Laziness guilt virtually non-existent (hard to feel lazy when you're walking at least 40 minutes a day!) Fare jumping guilt is high. Two virtually non-existent guilt factors and one high guilt factor balance to moderate-low guilt.
Results indecisive. War was pointless.