Fair warning, I am about to get up on a soap box and rant for a few paragraphs, so if you don’t want to be lectured, click the back button now.
The last few days, I have had several conversations about how mass transit in Denver sucks and people tell me that if it were better, they would totally take the bus or train. I will allow this statement to apply to people who live in the suburbs or who do a lot of travelling around the metro area for their jobs.
If you live in Denver proper, I call mother fucking bullshit. I am coming up on a year without a car and while I will occasionally borrow a friend’s car to run errands that will require me to carry something heavy or to get up to Boulder more quickly, I have not found being carless to be that big of a burden.
I have started getting somewhat annoyed by people making excuses for not taking the bus, saying that they don’t run frequently enough or there aren’t any buses close to them.
I’m lucky in the fact that I live right on three different bus routes, bus really, there are very few places in Denver (again, Denver proper, not the suburbs) where you are more than five blocks from a bus stop. But instead of walking 20 feet to your car, you will have to take 10 minutes and walk to the stop.
And as far as the buses not coming frequently enough, that’s your own damned fault! The Colfax runs every 10 minutes during the week because so many people take it. The Colorado Blvd bus also runs every 10 minutes during peak rush hour times because there are enough people waiting to take the bus. The bus schedules are determined by the basic laws of supply and demand. If no one is taking the bus on a certain route (say, your route), then they aren’t going to waste taxpayers money by adding extra buses to the route.
So, if you want buses to come more frequently, you have to take the bus now with its current schedule. They will adapt the route schedule if they see an increase in traffic. But, really, if you take time to plan your day and get to learn a few of the bus schedules, it is not that hard to get around Denver in a timely manner with very little inconvenience.
It’s sort of a chicken and the egg conundrum because a lot of large metropolitan cities do have good public transportation that the cities inhabitants rely on more than a car. New York City and Chicago come to mind first. But there was a point where there was not a good public transit system. So what came first? The transit system and then the public using it or the public making a conscious decision to use a mass transit system and the government responding?
What do you think it would take for Denverites to adapt to a bus/train system as a large part of its method of transportation?