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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Beginning this Car-Less Adventure

I began this Car-Less Adventure at the beginning of June 2013, about 17 weeks ago, and as a fairly new resident of Louisville, Kentucky.

Initially, I planned to begin writing about my adventure (experiences) immediately. However, I'm glad I waited to share this as my perspective has changed somewhat as I've learned to navigate the local bus system and cope with the complexities and disappointments of a less than ideal, and fairly antiquated, public transportation system.

I must confess...my view may be somewhat "tainted" by the fact that I moved to Louisville, Kentucky from the Boston, Massachusetts area -- where 1.3 million trips are made daily by people using some form of public transportation. In Louisville, it seems to be geared primarily to the disabled and low-income resident and not as a workable replacement of car usage for the average worker-resident.

While living in Massachusetts I commuted about 40 miles by train, from my home near the New Hampshire state border into work at Cambridge, MA...taking the train into North Station (at the TD Garden), walked outside and down the stairs to board the Green Line, got off at Park Street to board the Red Line across the Charles River, right into Harvard Square and then walked about 10 minutes to my work location. All of this took a total of 1-1/2 hours each morning.

Today, in Louisville, I walk 35 minutes to the closest bus stop, board the TARC (Transit Authority of River City) bus and ride for 20 minutes to my second stop, wait 10 - 15 minutes for the next bus, ride that bus for 30 minutes, get off at my third stop and walk about 15 minutes to my work location...traveling a total of 12 miles from my home to work. All of this takes a total of 2 hours each morning.

Now I realize it's an inequality to compare trains and subways to buses. However, my current commute is less than 1/3 the distance (12 miles:40 miles) but takes half an hour longer to complete and more than half the total commute time is spent either walking to, or waiting for, a bus. It feels absurd! 

But, that's not all...in Louisville, my round-trip daily commute takes 5 hours due to the misaligned bus schedules in the afternoon/early evening. Additionally, since the bus near my home does not run late enough I am limited to working only three days at this job. I will need to find another part-time job (within walking distance) to make up the income loss.

Fortunately, this week I acquired a bicycle and plan to combine it's use with the bus to, hopefully, shorten the commute time to my first job! I will let you know how this works out!