When I think of cities with good public transportation, I think of New York City or Washington D.C. or London or Paris. (I bet when you think of public transportation, you think “this is going to be a snooze of a blog entry”).
It turns out that Austin has a pretty sweet public transit system itself, with over 3000 bus stops in Austin and the outlying areas.
Better yet, it’s free for UT students (just a quick swipe of your ID card and you’re allowed to ride any bus anywhere you want). I’ve started taking the bus to school almost every day and it’s just fantastic. It takes me a bit longer to get to school, true, but it’s free and I can study or read for fun during the trip.
The only downside is that the website isn’t so good at helping you plan a trip. It needs specific intersections and it often fails to find the best route.
But, fortunately, as often happens in my life, there is Google to the rescue! Google Maps has this excellent system where you can put in your beginning point and end destination and then you can choose to see your options for taking public transit to make the journey instead. You can put in the time you want to depart or arrive and it will show you several options, listing the time each will take and also the distances you might need to walk.
My favorite feature, however, is the part where it tells you the cost of taking transportation versus the cost of driving it by car. The trip from the closest bus stop to UT is estimated at around six dollars each way. The cost of taking the bus? Fifty cents. Wait, for me? A student? Free. Have I mentioned a time or a bazillion how much I love free?
Makes me feel good to be saving money, reducing congestion, saving our car from the wear and tear of driving to and from school twice or three times a week, and saving the environment.
Wow, between this and switching to 100% renewable/pollution-free energy, I’m becoming a regular tree-hugging hippie.
And I like it.