By Maggie Reimherr
When I moved to Boston, one of the things that most excited me was commuting to work on the train. I hate driving for no real reason that I can figure out except that I’m not great at it. I take it as a personal affront every time Derek asks me to drive instead of him. Plus, commuting on the train would give me a “true city experience.”
Here are my top 5 reasons why public transportation is the best:
You can read books on the train. I live for worthless achievements. So being able to hit my GoodReads goals and up my number of books each year to 30 gives me a silly amount of pleasure. What else am I going to do for an hour and a half each day?
You feel good about being eco-friendly by not driving a personal carbon dioxide machine. You may or may not actually be reducing your carbon footprint, but hey, it feels good to try.
No road rage = a greater sense of calm. TBH, I’m one of those drivers that causes road rage by doing awful things like driving too slowly, forgetting to check my blind spot, etc. But for those of you who actually know how to operate a vehicle well and really, really hate driving around people like me, taking the train will really help you freakin’ relax (looking directly at my husband on this one).
People watching. The other day, I saw a dude strike up a conversation with a cute woman. She was nice to him because he wasn’t totally creepy, but she was just trying to get to work on time. She was also wearing a wedding ring. No bueno. When she exited the train at her stop, he walked with her and asked her for her number. All the ladies around me and I had a nice laugh. (Unrelated pro tip to people everywhere: Always check the ring finger.)
You might save money. Now that Derek and I both take the train, we’ve reduced our gas budget to $30 a month. 30 FREAKING DOLLARS A MONTH. I used to pay 4 times that for just my little Corolla driving to work every day.
And on the flipside, of course there are a few issues with public transportation, those being...
People are dumb. This thought runs through my mind most days on the train. Like, yes, please just continue to wrap your entire body around that pole that other people clearly need to use to steady themselves on a crowded train. Please block the space right in front of the door. Please don’t move to the center of the car when the train gets crowded. Um, no. Please don’t. (For my UGA people, it’s so much worse than the Orbit bus.)
The train is not an office. When I first moved, I thought that I would be able to get loads of things accomplished on the train, like journaling, reading my Bible, and answering emails. As it turns out, it’s really hard to write when you’re standing up, holding on for dear life or when you’re squished next to someone in your seat, trying with all your might not to graze them inappropriately. It’s also really hard to connect to the interwebs when you’re underground.
You have to make physical contact with strangers. On particularly crowded mornings, you're going to be crammed into the train car like sardines. You're going to touch, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's uncomfortable.
It's not uncommon for delays to make you 30 minutes to an hour late for work. On multiple occasions, I've heard this sentence: "We're stopped due to a disabled train at South Station. Passengers stand by." Thanks for being reliably unreliable, MBTA.
So while riding the train has definite advantages and disadvantages, the pros outweigh the cons, placing me on #TeamPublicTransit. Now if only the South would get it together and build up more robust public transportation options...
Commuters, we want to hear your funniest, weirdest public transportation stories. Leave us a comment!
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