Bus Rider

Living in a metropolitan area, I see daily the love affair that western societies have with personal automobiles. In every city, in every industrialized country, all over the world (as far as I know), people drive cars. And the trend shows that this will only increase, as new countries jump on the Own-A-Car bandwagon (like India and China).

Public transportation (PT) is an effective way to move a large number of people around. Cheap and efficient, PT is a viable alternative to having everyone commute in their own vehicles. PT does have its perceived downsides, as well. It often takes longer and requires us to follow their schedule, so it is less convenient than driving. Also, it requires us to share space with other people… strangers… sometimes even disheveled peoples *gasp*.

It is socially acceptable for us to drive ourselves around… rarely are we encouraged to consider the consequences of our selfish habits. But some of the costs of us choosing convenience and comfort are increased traffic congestion, consumption of nonrenewable resources, and pollution of the environment (which leads to smog locally, as well as to global climate change).

And I feel like the effects go beyond the immediate impacts to our wallets and the earth. The mainstream use of personal vehicles has deeper societal impacts.

Personal vehicles provide another shelter from the world… and another way to become further detached from society. We travel from the bubble of our homes, to the bubble of our cars, to the bubble of our work (or mall, or wherever), but never really expose ourselves to the world. Instead, we all live inside our own Tupperware containers, never mixing with anyone outside of our own social circles. Like a skittish mouse trapped in a room, we scurry along the wall, rushing to our next hiding spot, never looking at the world except through a lens or a window.

By avoiding public transport, we avoid contact with strangers, and avoid the opportunity to meet new people. Perhaps, as the cost of gas continues to rise, and the repercussions of our consumption becomes part of our societal consciousness, we will have to rely on PT more and more. And we may find that we are a little less detached from the world because of it.

Like it!
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • LinkedIn
  • Mixx
  • Yahoo! Buzz

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

Leave a Reply