If we’re ever going to break our addiction to the car, public transport certainly needs a shakeup in many areas – in fact we really need to rethink the whole concept of the daily commute.
The San Francisco Bay Area is known as a particularly environmentally conscious slice of the world, with many green initiatives.
But when it comes to transport, something has gone very wrong. Many people are now reportedly abandoning mass transit in the Bay Area and going back to using their cars. That mightn’t be so bad if we were using electric cars, recharged by renewable energy; but that’s still some way off.
It seems that in some cases, it’s now cheaper for people to take their car than public transport in the Bay area – a result of a decrease in the cost of gas coupled with a substantial hike in public transport fares.
In other situations, the time saving commuting by car is substantial. It’s hard to blame people for not wanting to drag out an 8 or 9 hour day into 12 by the time you take into account travel – particularly if your job sucks at the best of times.
Back in the days when I donned a suit and tie, I figured out I was losing over 10 full days of my life each year to commuting to and from work, which wasn’t much compared to the commute of some, but I still resented allowing that much of my life to be stolen and unpaid.
Nowadays I telecommute and have been doing so for over 8 years.
I roll out of bed and I’m at work. While it’s not quite as leisurely as it sounds, telecommuting sure beats battling other vehicles or being crammed into buses along with dozens of other people. I often felt like I was on a cattle truck back in those days.
So that’s the other issue that needs to be addressed. More Bay area companies need to allow their staff to work from home wherever possible.
Many jobs these days don’t require people to be at a particular geographic location. Working from home not only saves on transport related emissions, but it can make family life for some so much better and can actually boost employee productivity if a telecommuting program is implemented correctly. Allowing staff to telecommute can be as good as a pay rise and these programs can be added to a company’s list of green initiatives!
An increase in telecommuting means less people on the roads and more space and comfort (and perhaps quicker trips) for those who choose to take mass transit.