Public Transportation in the Bay Area – Who Can Afford It?

The devil on my right shoulder always manages to sneak in the temptation to drive to San Francisco from Oakland.  (On which shoulder do devils usually sit?) “It would be so easy.  And take less than half the time” says the devil.  And for a second, I think about the two cars at my disposal, parked just outside the front door.  (I don’t even have to open the garage door to get to one of them.)

But at the last minute, I type transit.511.org in a browser tab, enter my starting address and ending address and <click>.

Last November, Kaki and Tib gave me an incredibly generous gift certificate at Kabuki Springs & Spa so I booked a deluxe (80 minutes) massage for today, at 11am.  Mark is in Salt Lake City, testing his snow-boarding legs, and Betsy and Zing are painting New York City some outrageous color.  So, I’m on my own – no possibilities of a ride share, which might justify (a little) driving.

I leave the house at 9:20am, a little earlier than necessary (definitely don’t want to be late for a massage!) and walk to the Rockridge BART station.  It costs $3.45 one way to 16th and Mission, where I am to catch the #22 Union Street Muni bus.  The train comes within 2 minutes of my reaching the platform – around 9:35am.  I get out of the 16th and Mission BART station at 10:04am.  I just miss a #22 bus, so I stand at the stop until I see a bus on the other side of the street going in the direction I want.  I realize I’ve been standing on the wrong side of the street in a flashback to India.  I cross the street and wait for the next bus, which, according to the flashing LED screen at the stop, is 2 minutes away.  I pay $1.25 (a $0.25 discount with my “BART to Bus” transfer that I picked up on leaving the BART station).  I get a transfer, which I won’t be able to use, since I will not be getting on the bus within an hour and a half.  I reach my destination – Fillmore and Geary – around 10:40am – an hour and a half after I left home.  OK – if I hadn’t spaced, it would have taken me about an hour and 15 minutes.

My return bus fare costs me $1.50; return BART $3.45.  A total of $9.65.  Almost $10 for a round trip on public transportation from Oakland to San Francisco!

If I had driven, it would have taken me less than half an hour, one way.  Toll on the Bay Bridge:  $4.  Gas?  Let’s say $5, given the distance of about 29 miles (assuming 20 miles/gallon and gas at $3.50/gallon).  A total round trip cost of $9 (assuming no cost for parking and no parking ticket!).

Yes, there is the tailpipe emissions from driving, but I’m told that it is way less than the gases released from a single burp of a grain-fed cow.

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2 Responses to “Public Transportation in the Bay Area – Who Can Afford It?”


  1. 1 Yaniv April 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Devil whispers in your left ear ..

  2. 2 viral April 4, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    ridiculous indeed!

    another thing to tip the scale against driving is the cost of depreciation.

    good to have you on this side of the world!

    peace


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