Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Public Transportation Day a Success

I took off yesterday and pulled the two younger boys out of school for a public transportation day. See, Lincoln is not only bike friendly by and large, but also has a fairly decent bus system for a city of its size, not that I've really researched other cities, but I have made a point to always live on a route. Not only does it ensure prompt snow removal in the winter, but should I ever opt not to ride my bike, I could easily grab the bus. Up until recently, I couldn't understand why the boys didn't take the bus to go see movies and whatnot. They'd complain of 'nothing to do' but make no effort to go do anything. Weird. Finally, it occurred to me that the process might seem a little intimidating and that perhaps I needed to ride with them once to get 'em going, so "Public Transit Day" was planned and executed. We started with a taxi ride, the cost of which quickly made it obvious why people opt for their own cars, and why one would want to be especially careful NOT to miss one's bus. So, good initial lesson.

We made it to Kyle's eye appointment on time and after verifying the last two downtown departures of our bus, we walked across campus to make use of the basketball courts and climbing wall. A couple hours later, we headed for the main bus stop. Finding ourselves early, we dropped into a nearby coffee shop for mochas and pastries, then grabbed the bus on home. I think the boys enjoyed it and one of them is going to try it by himself today.

See, I don't really care if the boys ever race bikes, but I do want them to understand first and foremost I AM NOT A CHAUFFEUR and that a car is rarely something you absolutely NEED -- that it's more of a want or a convenience. Even for me. I've often wondered if it might be less expensive to simply rent a car to go to bike races, but I don't make that change, b/c I also like my car for zipping out to my folks with the boys. Is it worth the payment and the insurance??? I guess so. Also, if I rented a car... probably get bike grease all over it and that would be a problem, I'm sure.


oldmanandhisbike said...

I fully support your opinion on cars, public transportation and bikes. And it is essential that we try to ween our children off the car culture mentality.
So, kudos for your effort and glad to see it was a success.
We live beyond the range of public transportation and it is very frustrating as a result. I commute when I can but it is difficult with my job and the need to be on construction sites throughout the week. My wife and I carpool almost every day (when I don't ride) and that helps eleviate some of the guilt.
We are actually considering moving (in the near future) to a more urban/pedestrian area of the city and selling our house. Or even leaving this area all together; more for economic and personal issues than just for access to public transportation!
Keep up the good fight! Winning Hearts and Minds, right? :^)

sda said...

Nice Syd. I'm trying to launch a program with public transit providers here in the North Front Range aimed at "travel training" for kids, seniors and adults who haven't ever used transit. Your observation that it can be intimidating is spot on.

When I was a kid in Lincoln we used to take the bus downtown to skate in the parking garages, play video games at the loft, wreak havoc in the centrum mall and whatnot. Sometimes we would skate home, but damn it was some work pushing that plank all the way back out to East O and 84th street. I know my mom appreciated the fact that she didn't have to shuttle me all over the place. Good on you.

VeloCC said...

I grew up with public transportation.
I had to take a bus to go to school from day one of my school "career". That is an exception in Germany!. There, you normally WALK to school, but my little town didn't have a school, so we had to go the next town. In High School I had to take a bus (public) bus to get to school and I often took it after school to go to the mall and hang out with my friends.
I actually didn't have a car until I was 25 or so....

oldmanandhisbike said...

That is why the European countries are kicking our asses (Velocc's comment). The US is so immature and resistant to change while the rest of the world progresses and grows. It is like watching a stubborn little kid who stomps home with his ball and won't play unless everyone does it his way.
And can we please get on board with the metric system too while we're at it?

sydney_b said...

Move to the metric system?!? Are you crazy? I ride my pressure at a little over 2 bar, weigh in round 10 stone or roughly two and a third or so bushels of soybeans and LIKE to look up how many feet are in a mile. So there. You and your neat and tidy metric system. BAH! trying to take the thinkin' out of daily living. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Metric System!


Good job Sydney. Public transit is a great lesson to teach. Cheers