Taking public transit is analogous to riding an elevator except that it lasts longer, and people are more apt to speak, touch, and smell in undesirable ways. So grab your bus fare and donor card, cuz here's a Cracked primer on Public Transportation.
Public transportation dates back to the early Greeks. Dante wrote of the first pay-to-ride ferry service to Hades - run by a pissy-tempered ferryman named Charon, who would bring the dead across the river Acheron to meet their agonizing fate. The fares were steep, but he was the only ride in town, and thus also constituted the first transit monopoly. Audio: John Cleese reads Dante's Inferno.
Stage coaches carried on the tradition of monopolizing public transit during the American expansion west to California. The rides were comparable to modern bus transit routes - bumpy, gun-laden, death traps with ill-tempered, booze-ridden drivers who seemed to have a pathologic aversion to baths. The only other options were to "get your own damn horse!" or join the Donner Party, who in 1846 offered the first "Drive-N-Dine" package deal through the Sierra-Nevada mountains. It was an amateur undertaking for the times - but they did set a standard for hospitality unmatched until 1972, when the Uruguayan Air Force crashed Flight 571 into the Andes Mountains. A feat made famous (or infamous) in 1993 by the motion picture "Alive".
The first roadside diners ... er ... Donners.
The building of the railroad added some much-needed competition to the mix, and brought the element of "death by derailment" to the transportation industry. Previously, the only ways to expire in-transit were through drowning, trampling, or at the hands of fellow travellers. The present-day wisdom for long distance travel seems to be to use a public transportation service such as those offered by municipal, national, or international carriers. Commonly-spouted statistics confirm that you are more likely to die in your own vehicle on the way to a public transportation terminal, rather than in a seat you have paid for once you have arrived. A lesser-known statistic points out that most of the poorly-designed roadways in the country are those which lead to public transportation stations.
Modern public transportation rarely costs an arm and a leg anymore (see Donner Party) unless you want to travel first class on British Airways or KLM. However, you should be prepared to pay some type of token fee if you aren't exactly the athletic type. Transit Unions don't come cheap you know! Somebody has to pay for all those fat bastards on vacation - and unless you're thinking about buying a car ... it's gonna be you.
The fairest fare is no fare at all.
If you're completely dependant on public transportation as a means of getting from point A to point B, then the monthly pass is definitely the way to go. Passes used to be aimed mostly at tourists, students, or the mentally retarded - but in these tough economic times when more and more people are taking public transportation as their primary means - a travel pass is cheaper than paying for each ride - and it doubles as your toe-tag in case of a serious accident or terrorist attack.
Everybody and their brother has a bus pass these days.
A Typical Situation
So you've got a date. Good for you. But how are you going to get there when your vodka-soaked driver's license is suspended, and your Mom's car is loaded down with her blue-haired bingo pals for the evening? You could go all 'Grand Theft Auto' through the neighborhood and hope that nobody sees you pulling away in their fine set of wheels. But you're too honest for that - besides, how would you explain the smashed steering column to your date? It's time to show her your enlightened, conservation-minded side and use the timely, friendly services of public transportation. You can enjoy a stress-free evening and not have to worry about gas prices, traffic, road rage, or hiding that fact that you can't drive worth a damn. She'll appreciate your practical nature, and you'll have an excellent excuse for showing up late and smelling like ass.
To gain a little perspective on how to deal with riding public transportation, it usually helps to see how the rest of the world handles it. Sometimes, seeing the way other cultures fuck shit up is all it takes to make a happy transit rider for life. Then you can go forward with the confidence in knowing that we're all in this shit together. Watch and learn ...
Japan: Don't those people make most of the cars on this planet?
Iran: They've got lots of gas - but the roads don't go anywhere.
Germany: All of the logistics - but none of the ballistics.
I'm gonna 'Leggo my Eggo'
The Green Initiative is a concept dreamed up by a group of communist-minded wankers who delude themselves (and others) into believing that ordinary people can change the world by giving-up the modern conveniences that make them most productive (cars, air travel, and cocaine). So they travel around the planet on ozone-wrecking, carbon-emitting airliners with such frequency that they actually cause most of the shit they're supposedly wanting to prevent. Their mandate is simple enough: "Live as I say, not as I do... now gimme my Airmiles!"
Here's your carbon footprint buddy - right up the ass!
So the only REAL eco-friendly method of public transportation is to walk, or ride a bike. Even riding a horse causes methane-emitting fecal residue on the landscape. And who the hell rides a horse to work? If you are considering giving up your car and becoming a green-blooded environmental warrior, follow the example set by over 1.3 billion people in mainland China. Who hasn't seen the images of streets crowded with cyclists where cars are in the minority, and public transportation is a personal responsibility. The socio-economic necessity of sheer numbers mandates that space and clean air - not decadence are of primary importance. When will Al Gore start riding his bike to work? The world may never know.
Cycling : 1,325,639,982 people can't be wrong. "Hey babe, wanna ride?"
Waiting at the 'Chuck Stop'.
These days, it's hard enough to meet new and interesting people. Experts recommend exploring the opportunities available to you while doing those daily routines, such as shopping and commuting. Public transportation presents one with countless personality types to choose from, and an enclosed area to keep them from fleeing in horror. People from all walks of life take public transit, and you never know when your next best friend will walk through the doorway.
"Hey babe, wanna date?"
"Hey babe, wanna date?"