I may have mentioned from time to time that I am a big fan of public transit. It provides economical transportation, is relatively reliable and is environmentally friendly.
Because I am a fan, and also because we have no vehicle, I have been learning the intricacies of the local transit system. Well, maybe intricacies is an overstatement for someone who has taken the bus twice and the train once. But I have looked at the system map…
In Ottawa I had my choice of four buses or a train for my morning commute. In rush hour the wait would be no more than four minutes, in theory anyway
Sulzburg offers me a choice also. There are two buses, one going to town five kilometres away, the other side to one ten kilometres in the other direction. They run once an hour, more or less; considerably less frequently on the weekend. On Sunday for example there are two buses out of town in the morning, and if you want to return the first one back into town is about 5 p.m.
To compare the two systems seems like comparing apples and oranges, but they are probably more alike than not. What has changed is my perspective.
In Ottawa I lived across the street from what is referred to as the Transitway, a series of roads dedicated to public transit. I was probably a bit spoiled by the level of service I received, though at times I still found it to be still sub-standard. I had no idea what the bus service was like for someone living in the remote suburbs. I have come to the conclusion for those people it was probably like what I have now in Sulzburg.
The system here is, I think, more complex than the one in Ottawa. It is a regional system. A ticket to the next town allows me to transfer to the train to Freiburg, which I think it 40 minutes away and has about a quarter of a million residents. A monthly transit pass is valid for unlimited use on my local bus, area trains and public transit in Freiburg also. At about $85 Canadian, that is about a third less than I paid for my monthly pass in Ottawa. It seems transit is a much better deal here. Possibly more reliable, though I won’t be able to say that with any certainty until I have taken a few more trips.
I’ll get used to making sure I am at the bus stop on time for my bus, something I never worried about in Ottawa where even in off-peak hours there would be a bus along every ten minutes or so. That’s a big difference from having to wait an hour until the next one.
The big difference for me is that I no longer have a daily commute. Most of my work I can do at home, the bus will be an occasional thing in my life. That might seem like a plus for most people, but it leaves me with a dilemma.
For three years I have written this blog on my BlackBerry while traveling to and from work. Now when am I going to find the time to write it?
(Written on my Blackberry on Tuesday afternoon while taking the bus between Sulzburg and Mullheim.)