A constant complaint in Southern California is that there isn’t a good public transportation system. It’s not that we don’t have public transportation. There are buses, trains and trolleys. It’s clean, timely and affordable, but there just isn’t enough.
Not enough routes and not frequent enough.
Density. There’s a good reason for the lack of coverage in Southern California. According to Wikipedia, Los Angeles has a population density of 8,092 people per square mile as compared to New York City’s 26,402 people in the same area. The city of San Diego is less than half the density of Los Angeles with 3,515 people per square mile.
Those are just the facts the transportation companies have to deal with. It’s hard to pay for an expensive public transportation system when the number of people that would benefit and use it is so low.
Access. I live in a part of the county that does not have a train or trolley serving the area. To take a bus downtown, only 25 miles away, would take 90 minutes. Of course to get to the bus I would need to drive or walk two miles to the transit center. I can drive there and back in the same time! Depending on where I was going, I would need to transfer to another train or trolley.
When we lived on the coast we would take the train downtown and enjoyed the scenic ride very much. It was there in about the same time or better than driving. We did have to drive 5 miles to get to the station.
Behavior. I don’t know if people can be convinced to give up their cars and take public transportation. Even when gas was over $4 a gallon last year I didn’t see many carpools. It would take a significant amount of pain for people to made the switch to buses and trains.
Most Southern Californians would be sacrificing too much time to use public transportation regularly. We envy our fellow Californians in San Francisco who have BART and dream of the day we too can catch a convenient train to work. Until then, see you on the freeway!
Do you have access to good public transportation?
photo by: prayitno