Inspired by this Frugal Traveler article that asks “Is Megabus the cheapest way to see America?” here is my own personal list of ways to get around, in order of Most Pleasant to Least.
My main issue with Uber can be summed up as: I can’t support a company whose business model depends on the labor of contract workers who have very little leverage in ensuring that they are being treated fairly.
This summer I rebuilt a bike whose frame had been gifted to me by my friend Hope’s little sister. She had found it in an alleyway and, thoughtfully, had asked me if I’d like to have it. I was thrilled because I had been wanting a bike and figured this would be cheaper than buying one from Craigslist.
I received an offer my meager budget and wandering nature would not allow me to refuse: A 664-mile round-trip on the Greyhound bus from San Diego to Las Vegas for $62.50. Even if I had to pay for a post-bus ride tetanus shot and sputum culture on account of Greyhound’s supposed dreadful conditions, the ticket was still just half the cost of driving. Plus I’d have eight hours of nothingness each way, which was almost unheard of in the two years since I went on an unexpected reproductive binge that resulted in two off-the-chain baby boys in just over 18 months. To the Hound I went.
The common denominator in this WSJ story about what makes commuting to and from work enjoyable (despite the time it takes) for people is having things to do to make the trip feel more efficient. A six-year study of nearly 30,000 British rail passengers found that 37 percent fewer passenger felt like their time was being wasted during their commute in 2010, compared with 2004, and researchers hypothesize that mobile devices that have allowed me to do things like check email, or listen to podcasts or music have helped commuters feel like they’re being more productive.
Stacy-Marie Ishmael talks to WNYC New Tech City host Manoush Zomorodi about apps that hail cabs for you in NYC and why, despite slow growth and popularity, they are very promising for minority communities, specifically, as Ms Ismael says, “brown people”: “It takes away the possibility that you’re not going to want to take me somewhere because you think I live in the outer boroughs or you’re discriminating on the basis that you think I’m going to rob you, or you think I’m going to be committing some random act of vandalism based on your profile of me.”
I’m always interested in hearing about how people get around in various cities. When I was in S.F., I came across a lot of people who didn’t own cars, and if they did, they said they carpooled to save money on gas and tolls, and, sometimes, to get to a more desirable BART stop. This piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about carpooling is a nice snapshot of this.
Filmmaker Casey Neistat decided to conduct an experiment where he’d commute to his office via taxi, via personal bike, and via Citibike, and then compared the three commutes based on criteria like cost and time.