1) The cost-benefit, on all fronts, comes down on the side of driving. (See table below.)
2) The last train south from Carlsbad is at ***6:40pm***. Great! Let's have dinner at 3pm so we can plan our day around Coaster! Said nobody ever, much to the chagrin of Carlsbad merchants (and people who want to enjoy Carlsbad without risking a DUI.)
Here's that cost-benefit. All numbers are round-trip for two adults:
|Cost||$25.20=$22.00 train+$3.20 gas*||$7.50=$0.00 train+$7.50 gas||DRIVE|
|Time||2h09m=1h39m train+30m drive*||56m=0m train+56m drive||DRIVE|
|Must go home super-early?||Yes||No||DRIVE|
|Must plan ahead/constantly watch time?||Yes||No||DRIVE|
So, Coaster is asking me to spend $17.70 more money, an hour and thirteen minutes more time, all so I have to leave by 6:40pm after nervously glancing at my watch all day.
I really want San Diego to have better public transportation. But the Coaster is not it. Realistically, it's very hard to expand (let alone begin) a train system in an expensive developed area. On the other hand, a real bus system is not that expensive or difficult to put in place, which is why it's so mystifying that to get to my house (in non-isolated UTC) from the airport, it involves two bus rides and a 1.5 mile walk between two stops. So San Diego: if you want people to take public transportation seriously as an option, and I do, you have to stop making it difficult to use, and at the very least make it go where and when people need it.