More mass transit musings.

I realize we’ve been around the block here before, but what the hell…

Truck’s broken down, has been for a couple of weeks. We live on the northwest side off NW Military & 410 and I work for one of the companies at Brooks City-Base on the southeast side, which sort of precludes me taking a taxi, walking, or riding a bike. (The weather knocks out those last two, anyway.)

So what’s left, you ask? The old city standby, one of conservatives’ biggest bugbears: Mass transit. And I know it might sound like I am selling out here, but at this point I really can’t care too much about that. Why? Because that damn bus, inconvenient as it may be, as much of a money pit as it may be to the taxpayers, is pretty much the only thing standing between me and my family and all sorts of calamity. If it weren’t for the bus system I would pretty much be out of a job and unable to pay the rent — or, for that matter, pay for getting the truck running again. So draw your own conclusions on that.

But let’s take a look at it on the larger scale, though. I am sure I am not the only one to whom the bus is a lifesaver in times like this. And beyond that, I know a lot of us talk about people sitting at home drawing a check or whatever, but if they can’t afford a car to drive to work, what else are they going to do? Even a cab ride a few days a week adds up if you’re going more than a few miles. Better to spend that money on some sort of mass transit system that can benefit everyone than to dole it out to fewer people via welfare. At least that way taxpayers have the potential to at least get something they can use for their money.

And personally, as a San Antonio taxpayer I don’t mind that tax money going to buses for that very reason. (Better that than streetcars, light rail, or politically-motivated street name changes. Fuck you very much, Phil Cortez and Nelson Wolff.) I don’t use them all the time, but it’s good to know that I can get a ride to work even when the truck isn’t running. And there are situations under normal circumstances in which riding the bus would be a good idea. If I worked downtown, for example, you can be sure that’s exactly what I’d be doing. Why? Depending on where you park, it can save you a good bit of money and/or time. It would run about $5 a day to park at one of the outlying parking lots — more if you wanted to get closer in. But if you catch one of the express buses going into downtown along IH-10, IH-35, or Highway 281, it will cost you maybe $7 at the most — and you don’t have to worry about finding a place to park.

It’s far from perfect, I know, but even for all its flaws, mass transit is a really good deal when you need it.



6 Responses to “More mass transit musings.”

  1. Borepatch Says:

    There’s a good case to be made for bus transit – you can add or change lines at will, you can add or reduce capacity to match demand, maintenance is a lot less than with rail. You serve many, many more passenger miles for the same cost.

    Of course, it’s not SWPL, and so Progressives hate it. That’s why most places where they put in fancy new Light Rail you see cutbacks in bus service. It’s precisely the opposite of what you’d want, if you were a true liberal.

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      Yep, Sabra and I always bring up those exact points when the subjects of streetcars & light rail come up. The great irony of all this, if you ask me, is that your SWPLs the elected officials are trying to attract are all from out of state and by and large hate San Antonio and Texas and are just here for the money. Which wouldn\’t be so bad if they didn\’t try to make it into whatever shithole they came from.

      As for the true liberals, sometimes I wonder if there are any of those left anymore.

  2. Les Says:

    The thing about a bus is, you can get on, and off virtually anywhere on it’s route. It is a part of traffic, not something for traffic to dodge, as with Houston’s light rail. Hard to do pat downs and check papers on multi-stop buses so, no, they aren’t popular with the police state crowd. And yes, in the air-conditioned era, walking in South Texas in the summer across town wouldn’t work, even if you had the hours and stamina to do it (and a safe route), unless work had a shower available. In California, LA for example, the climate makes it feasible, if the commute time is reasonable and area safe, but not here. In 1970, once I had to walk from my $1.30 an hour job from downtown Houston near the Rice Hotel to Telephone road (couldn’t afford bus fare). I saw neighborhoods I didn’t remember driving through. The bus could be a job and life saving thing.

  3. southtexaspistolero Says:

    The bus could be a job and life saving thing.

    Yep, and it my case it is, no doubt about it.

  4. GomeznSA Says:

    Since I am retired I don’t have the bus/bicycle/walk dilemma (fortunately!), can come and go as I please. I have yet to try to use the SA bus system – even when they gave me a voucher to ride downtown for jury duty. FWIW – I used the DC Metro system for almost 7 years – mainly because it was simply more convenient (and cheaper overall) than driving downtown and especially thru less than stellar neighborhoods. Plus I can’t figure out the VIA system!

    As to the light rail and/or trolley system favored by the mayor and his pals, that’s a whole ‘nother argument – I mean discussion.

    Good luck on getting the truck fixed sooner rather than later – SA is so spread out that a personally owned conveyance is pretty much mandatory………………..

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      Yep, and a fat lot more convenient, too. I figured the system out pretty easily with the help of my wife and the Via web site, but it still really sucks to have to leave for work an hour earlier and get home an hour later than I usually would.

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