I decided several months ago that I was tired of making a 62 mile round trip to work and back each day. The rising cost of gas had a lot to do with my decision but there were other factors. We are too dependent on other countries for oil. We've been talking about increasing our use of alternative energy sources but there seems to be more talk than action.
I've been carpooling for several months now. It's worked out pretty well for me but I haven't been able to do it as consistently as I would like to. Earlier this year, I looked into the possibility of taking the bus to work. I found out that it was possible but would require me to be at the bus stop by 5:55 am if I wanted to make it tow work before 8am. My first reaction was that it would be too much of an inconvenience for me. Two weeks ago I decided it was time to give it a try any way. It didn't tun out to be as bad as I anticipated. Yes, it does take me longer to commute but in many ways taking the bus to work has been a positive experience.
Here are a few ways that I've found the experience to be beneficial to me:
- I'm saving close to $200 a month in gas by taking the bus. This does not include money I'm saving on vehicle maintanence.
- Part of my commute now requires walking 1-2 miles each day. I enjoy the excercise and also see a few birds along the way.
- It is much less tiring to be a passenger than it is to be a driver.
- I bought an mp3 player and listening to music during the bus ride is a great way to pass the time.
- I get to work early and have found that I am more relaxed by the time my workday starts.
I also enjoy the human element of riding the bus. When you are driving to work, you have to maneuver you way through a sea of automobiles driven by nameless, faceless people. After riding the bus for two weeks I am starting to recognize many of the passengers. You get to know peoples names, where they work and where they live. It's kind of comforting to know that we're all heading off to work together to face the daily grind.
I've also seen a few birds during my morning travels. Here are a few of the highlights:
- While walking across the Arrigoni bridge last week I was able to watch two Peregrine Falcons in action. One of them screamed across the sky to chase a smaller bird. It seemed to change it's mind and turn away at the last second. Another Falcon landed on the bridge about twenty feet above my head.
- On the same bridge, two Turkey Vultures flew over my head. They came so close that I could feel the rush of air as they passed over. I also saw a Great Egret below -along the shore of the Connecticut River.
- I pass through a tobacco field as I walk the last mile to work from where the bus drops me off. Prairie Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Blue-winged Warblers, Eastern Towhees, and American Kestrels are just a few of the species I've seen along the way.
I can't tell you that riding the bus has been a perfect experience for me. It has required that I change some of the habits of my daily routine. It's also taken me some time to become familiar with the bus schedules. I haven't been later to work but I have missed my preferred bus a couple of times. If I don't catch the first bus getting out of work, I have to wait an additional 45 minutes to catch the next one. I would say that using the bus to get to work has been a good decision for me despite some of the challenges. To learn more about riding the bus as a means of transportation in Connecticut click on: Connecticut Transit.