A Love Letter to Mass Transit
Dearest Mass Transit,
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
- You are efficient. You can carry more people than buses could ever dream of. And during rush hour, nothing slows down. The metro always takes the same amount of time to get from Point A to Point B, so there are never any surprises or slowdowns or stupid drivers causing accidents.
- I can get almost anywhere via mass transit. I can travel anywhere in Madrid to my heart’s content, and there is always a subway stop nearby if it suddenly starts raining or I need to rush home for some reason. Not to mention Europe in general – I can go almost anywhere in Europe via train. In the US, there is little to no mass transit outside of New England. But here, I can see a picture of some random beautiful city, and within 3 minutes the DeutscheBahn website has informed me how to get there.
- You are fast. Some trains go as fast as 320 km/hr (199 mph!). I can travel from Madrid to Barcelona (313 miles, comparable to LA to SF) in 2.5 hours. Two and a half hours! Someone living in LA would need that long just to get through airport security and board a plane in order to fly to San Fran. Not to mention, train stations tend to be in city centers, so there’s no 30-minute bus/cab ride needed to get you downtown. So much time saved. I could go on and on about this topic.
- You are cheap. My monthly pass gives me unlimited rides in a 12km radius from the center of the city. That’s like commuting from Northgate Mall to Beacon Hill. And that monthly pass costs me $80 per month. Not bad. If you want a pass just for the city limits, and you’re under the age of 24, that pass would cost $46. That might sound expensive compared to the $25 monthly Bellingham pass, but consider how much more valuable the Madrid metro pass is. When catching a bus in Bellingham, I have to allow 10 minutes to walk to the stop because they’re so spread out and I have to make sure I’m not late. Then I have to allow 30 minutes for the actual ride across town. Then I have to allow another 5 minutes to walk to where I’m actually going, because the stops are so spread out. Now I’ve wasted 45 minutes just for a trip across town. In Madrid you can leave your house based on your personal schedule, not a bus schedule, because the metro runs every 3-5 minutes. It’s fast, so going from one end of the city to the opposite end isn’t a problem. And once you come up to street level, you’re never more than a 4 minute walk from where you’re going. So the passes may be more expensive, but is a $5 McDonald’s burger better than an $8 filet mignon?
If I continued this love letter, it would be as long as a novel. It would have more words than there are stars in the sky. Speaking of stars, mass transit can take me to Northern Scandinavia to see the Aurora Borealis. Your move, Alaska.
In conclusion, I love you.
My sincerest wishes,