Riding public transportation for fun — it sounds crazy, right? Public transit, whether buses, trains, or other modes of transit, are hardly what most people think of when they think of entertainment. Yet public transit, even in areas with relatively poor or sparse transit service, offers an outstanding and inexpensive way to have fun while exploring your city, region, or neighborhood.
Transit is inexpensive:
Rates and fares for public transit vary regionally and from city to city, and also vary based on distance travelled and mode of transportation, but the rates tend to be pretty close to rock bottom, especially when compared to other forms of entertainment. Want to see a movie in the theater? Expect to drop $10 per person, even if you don’t buy any food. Want to go out to eat? Unless you are getting fast food, $5-7 is on the cheap end of things. And if you want something major like a theme park, a fancy restaurants, or tickets to an opera, symphony, or theater performance, expect to pay through the nose.
Public transport is dirt cheap. It ranges from free in some areas to at most $20 for long-distance train travel. If you’re talking a bus or subway ride, you’re not going to pay more than $2 each way.
Meet interesting people, get interesting stories:
People often marvel at some of the bizarre and amusing stories that I tell about my experiences riding buses and trains. One simple fact is true: if I never rode public transit, I’d never have any of these stories. When you ride a bus, you never know who is going to be on it. If you ride often enough, you’re sure to hear some really funny things…and if you’re a good storyteller, you’ll be able to make people laugh time and time again with some of the things that you see or some of the conversations you overhear.
Explore your community while protecting the environment:
Public transit allows you to explore your community in ways that cars cannot. When you are riding in a bus or an elevated rail line, you have a different view of the street and the road, and the community as a whole. You will often notice stores or shops or other features of the community that you may have overlooked while driving, or even while riding as a passenger in a car.
But perhaps more importantly, public transit allows you to experience all the things mentioned above in a way that protects the environment and helps keep cars off the road. When you ride transit, you provide financial support to the transit agency by paying your fare, and you also make it more likely that you and others will ride in the future, as you learn the routes in your area.
It may seem completely ridiculous, but I think that public transit is an awesome way to have fun. And at a very minimum, even if you don’t agree with me about my other points, you can’t argue with the fact that it is really cheap. Try it!