Driving To Work Sucks Or My Top 11 Reasons To Take Public Transportation

Posted by Artem Russakovskii on January 15th, 2009 in Stuff

Updated: January 18th, 2010

image After I graduated and got a job in downtown San Francisco, I spent the first 2 weeks trying to figure out where I could park cheaper. At $300-400 for a monthly spot or $15-30 daily, the fees started adding up really quickly. In fact, I am fully convinced that 80% of the people who can afford to park in downtown expense it in full.

I do not know why I haven’t thought of public transportation sooner. Maybe because I used to [so wrongly] associate it only with people who cannot afford a car and considered myself superior to the group, or because I thought it was too ghetto (though, very true in some cases). However, as soon as I started taking a train to work, my DFR (daily frustration rating) went down significantly. If you have not tried it, trust me – it’s not that bad.

Here is my ultimate point: if life allows, take public transportation – the positives outweigh the negatives.

In fact, I came up with a few reasons why taking a train/bus rocks driving, some obvious, others perhaps not as much. Here they are, in order of increasing significance:

11. I could give up my car. Sell it, never buy it in the first place, return the lease – money saved either way. Newsflash: no car – no need to fix it.

10. No more insurance to pay for. Oh, Geico, how much I love you[r commercials].

9. Taking a train is faster than driving, for most metropolitan people. BART gets me to downtown SF in 15 minutes. A car takes anywhere between 25 and an hour.

8. No need to look for or pay for parking.

7. Taking public transportation is a lot more “green” than driving, even if you drive a hybrid.

6. I don’t have to pay for gas. Yeah, I have to pay for the ticket but a $45/month pass is all I need to buy. People who live further away may have higher expenses, but not nearly as high as all the fees associated with driving a car.

5. I can work on my projects using my laptop (iPod touch, PDA, Phone, whiteboard, Etch a Sketch) during the commute. In fact, I’m writing this post from a MUNI train. I can think and reflect. I can read a book. Anything is more productive than driving.

4. I can SLEEP. It is really a subset of #5 but this activity is so important, it deserved its own spot. Disclaimer: sleeping on a late night train can be dangerous and may result in murder and robbery, not that it stops me.

3. No chance of a car accident. OK, very little chance, but if a bus I’m in hits a car, I have a feeling the odds are on my side.

2. Drinking? No problem – you are not the one driving. Just don’t combine a 2 day binge session with activity #4, because that’s just creepy and people might want to poke you.

And the winner is:

1. No traffic to be stuck in. Hell, in case of ground transportation, even if you are stuck, you are not driving, so relax and do #4.

What about you? Here's a quick poll.

How Do You Get To Work?

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Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer and blogger. Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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  • петр

    Easy for you to say, San Francisco has one of the best public transportations in US. Some of your arguments simply wouldn't apply in other cities.

  • @петр
    Yeah, I understand that unfortunately a lot of places have subpar public transportation, which is why I said "if life allows".
    Originally, the main goal was to provide some food for thought for people who refuse to use it altogether and discuss some not so obvious benefits, which reminds me of another reason I forgot: taking a bus is "greener".

  • mecozz

    i don't need transportion go to work because i work freelance at home and it's free cost

  • geek05

    its a lot safer i think hitting a train and imagine the traffic and the depression it causes when using your wheels.. its so nice you have tried it…

  • You're lucky where you live to have a good transport system. In London (England), public transport is slow, unreliable, and expensive, so people often prefer to commute on their own transport (such as bicycles, motorbikes, scooters, cars etc). But, as you say, parking may be difficult, stressful and expensive. Even if you're on a bike, one London council has recently introduced parking charges for bikers, which of course is being the subject of a massive opposition campaign. In London, whatever mode of transport you use, it's expensive.

  • lease buy car

    I never use to mind taking public transportation in big cities because, like you point out in your 11 points, it makes sense but i find in smaller cities, it's a huge inconvenience. I never like relying on other people so it's nice having your own set of wheels. One example I remember, in a small town I lived in, it would take me an hour to get to work by bus, but 7 minutes if I drive so definitely ideal in big cities, not so much in smaller ones.


  • Rob – Chelmsford

    Public transport is very underrated in the UK. It works pretty well, but can be expensive. That's the main reason why more people tend to drive.

  • Justin

    Public transportation up here in the Silicon Sound (Seattle) area is fantastic, when there's no road construction or brain-dead drivers; unfortunately we have quite a bit of both of up here.

    God help you if you live outside of King County. First of all, it's at least a dollar more expensive
    per trip to ride the metro transit system into Seattle proper, and because there are very few buses that go to downtown Seattle from the Snohomish county suburbs, they are almost always packed full, as in sharing the same "grab rod" as another passenger (if you can find an empty space).

    It's much more expensive to live in the Seattle city limits, but your public transportation costs less, so it evens out. Maybe I should have moved there… hmmm.

    And don't get me started on Portland's transit system… yeesh! There's a very good chance you'll get robbed or murdered on their lines, too! I'm so glad I don't live there anymore.

    – JWH : Software Solutions Developer / Engineer based in the greater Seattle metro area –