Saturday, October 15, 2011

#8 Ride the Bus(Part 1)

Ok so far I have pretty much bashed American beliefs and culture. Well I am only really picking on some things I see as problems, but overall it is a great country to live in. So I am going to the United States a little credit before I lay into a problem we have. Cyride buses work much better than those here in Montevideo.

Instead of pulling a wire to get off there is a tiny button above the back door you have to push to get off, not fun trying to do that in a crowded bus. Also they don't stop at every stop you have to do the taxi wave to have a bus stop otherwise it will blow right by you. As a result there really is no reliable schedule.

There is another oddity that has some good and bad parts to it. There is a driver and cashier on each bus. It seems unnecessary to have two people when most people just slide their cards across a yellow box to pay for the bus. Then again it probably keeps people off the streets here so that is useful and the driver can get to the whole driving part much quicker.

Ok, so now to destroy the United States transportation system(evil laugh). Cyride is the exception not the rule. If we put it in every city then I would give the U.S. an edge, but we don't. I realize the East Coast probably has better public transport than the Midwest(minus Chicago), but it is very ummm sketch. The Chicago EL train and the New York subway system are A. Disgusting B. Sometimes Dangerous C. Overcrowded.

Their buses also don't have a great reputation, but they might be better I don't know. The buses here are safe clean and very much like Cyride. Oh and long distance public transport in the U.S., no thanks. Greyhound is so so sketchy and poorly run with few stops near a city center. I rode it once from Ames to KC and back, never again. What about Amtrak? Nice, clean, and safe. However, what normally is a 4 hour car ride from KC to St. Louis was 7 hours because we got stuck behind freight.NEVER AGAIN.

That being said if the U.S. had an efficient, clean, and relatively safe public transportation in the large cities I believe we would be better off. Now I understand because the country is so huge it would be very expensive to build the infrastructure, but taxes aren't all for useless crap despite the belief of some. Also in Montevideo the bus companies are private(not communists who want to kill you ;) ) yet they still provide a public service for a very low price.

However, Americans are attached to their cars and I believe because we like staying away from others in general. Yes people here have cars and those that can afford them use them. However, the U.S. is by far the cheapest place to own a car in the world. If we stopped bailing out GM and Chrysler(Go Ford!) and put the money into infrastructure for public transport I think we would be better off, but it is expensive and people hate the government taking money for any reason so oh well.

Here is a Cutsca(most common) city bus:

What do you think about public transportation in the United States? What is it like in you city? Please Comment Below.

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