Even the most entrenched car lovers hate the soul-crushing reality of commuting. We asked Jalopnik readers what it would take to get them on public transit, and these are their ten answers.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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Photo Credit: Difei Li
10.) Provide 24/7 service
Suggested By: Gamecat235
Why it's needed: People talk a lot about freedom when it comes to cars. No one likes being restricted when it comes to trains or buses. You want to know that if you stay late one day, or if you want to go out at night, you won't be stuck because public transit isn't running.
Photo Credit: Christian Payne
9.) Make the trip to the station less miserable
Suggested By: JSWilson64_g
Why it's needed: Improving the routes, buses and trains in public transit is one thing. For most Americans, it's pretty awful most of the year to even get to the closest station or stop. In the southern half of the country, it's so hot in the summer that if you walk to the bus, you'd have to shower when you get to work. In the northern half, it's so miserably in the winter that you just don't want to sit out in the freezing rain and snow you'd rather just shovel the car out.
If it's not it comfortable to walk to the bus or train, people are going to choose the mode of transport where all they have to do is walk to the driveway.
Photo Credit: NapaneeGal
8.) Cover and maintain park-n-ride lots
Suggested By: JSWilson64_g
Why it's needed: Office buildings and downtown areas offer well-kept covered garages, whereas park-n-ride stations offer only open lots. If the people knew their car wouldn't be sitting out in the open and in the sun if they drove to the train, they would use transit more often.
Photo Credit: Brave Heart
7.) Get better buses and trains
Why it's needed: In most cities, buses and trains are gnarly. They are dirty and they smell like toilets. That genuinely keeps a lot of potential riders out of the system. If buses are going to start looking like a desirable transportation option and not a penalty box, they are going to have to be clean, and they should have comfortable seats, outlets, and WiFi.
We'll add that Mercedes-Benz builds buses. If people can say they ride a Mercedes to work, that would help get them out of their Toyotas, Hondas, and Chevys.
Photo Credit: sludgegulper
6.) Allow open containers on the way home
Suggested By: Is that a rain coat?
Why it's needed: For the same reason that buses should have WiFi and outlets, buses should let you drink on the way back from work. If commuters stuck in a traffic jam saw people on the bus next to them drinking beer and surfing the ‘net, they'd leave the car at home the next day.
Photo Credit: williamcho
5.) Provide more vehicles
Why it's needed: Two common complaints about the bus are: it comes infrequently and it's late all the time. If there were simply more buses, commuters would spend much less time waiting, and they could be more flexible with their own schedules.
Photo Credit: Julian Walker
4.) Make transit faster than a car
Why it's needed: Two things could happen: car traffic could get seriously worse, or public transit could get seriously faster. Either way, if people knew they could save a significant amount of time by taking the bus or the train (or better yet, a bus that would lead to a high-speed train), that's what they would use.
Photo Credit: Vaidotas Mišeikis
3.) Simplify the system
Suggested By: R3d Baron
Why it's needed: Cities like London and Berlin have clear, efficient metro systems with easy links between trains and buses. Cities like Houston and LA do not have this. Instead they have convoluted bus lines that are hard to figure out and unreliable.
If cities like Houston had public transit systems as easy to use as cities like London, many more Americans would choose not to use their car.
2.) Give transit a price advantage
Why it's needed: Taking transit is often a more cost-effective commuting option. Especially in cities. If taking the bus or train showed people they were saving a significant amount of money, they'd ride instead of drive. Transit agencies need to make this message clearer. They need to tell us we can take the bus during the week and use the money we saved for an old Porsche for the weekend.
Photo Credit: epSos.de
1.) Make public transit accessible
Suggested By: zerobandwidth
Why it's needed: Simply put, there are many people who are dying to take the bus or the train to work, but neither stops anywhere near where they live.
Low population density in the suburbs and in outer-lying areas of cities is often to blame for lack of access. People need access to public transit to free them from having to sit in traffic for hours each day.
Photo Credit: Arthur John Picton