Saturday, September 1, 2012

San Diego Needs Public Transportion, But Coaster Sucks

I thought it would be fun to head up to Carlsbad for some wine-tasting today and since I've lived here 3 years and never used the Coaster, I thought today would be the day. Like many urban "transportation" systems, the Coaster likes to put obstacles in the way of people who want to use it.

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:

Train Drive Winner
Cost $25.20=$22.00 train+$3.20 gas* $7.50=$0.00 train+$7.50 gas DRIVE
Time2h09m=1h39m train+30m drive*56m=0m train+56m driveDRIVE
Must go home super-early?YesNoDRIVE
Must plan ahead/constantly watch time?YesNoDRIVE
*It's ridiculous that both of the asterisked numbers are not zero or very close to zero.  30 minutes driving and $3.20 in gas to use the train?  How am I supposed to take this system seriously?

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.


Anonymous said...

fuckin A man. I have no idea why everyone is so goddamn obsessed with rail. It's overpriced, ridiculous, and probably wind up eating more fuel than any alternative transportation (bus) especially when you factor in the energy required to lay and maintain track.

Michael Caton said...

We do need SOMETHING in this town, but I've never heard why buses aren't a good solution. They're a heck of a lot more plug and play, and you aren't guessing what transportation needs will be 5+ years from now after you set aside funds for the project.