July 26, 2004

Boston Cab

Danny O'Mera, the cab driver who took me to the bar where the bloggers met (there was no dancing on tables or inappropriate drunkeness, so nothing fun for anyone who wasn't there), said that he liked his job because on average, he got to read about 4 hours a day. So I asked what he was reading. He said he'd just finished the Bible, and then he held up a book called "Asphalt Nation" that he's reading currently, about how car culture is damaging the country.

He said, "I believe the automobile is the most overrated necessity on Earth. Spiritually speaking, toasters have more value." After getting used to the Boston subway system today, I can see where he's coming from. I paid $16.50 for a weekly pass on a rail line that runs every 10-15 minutes and gets all over downtown. O'Mera said the subway goes every major direction into the suburbs for 50 miles, at a maximum of $5.

I'm sold. How do we get one in Seattle.

Posted by nat in boston at July 26, 2004 06:44 AM | Philosophy | TrackBack(2) | Technorati links |

It's even better. For $181, my wife uses the commuter rail (we live 30 miles out from downtown Boston). The pass we get is unrestricted ridership anywhere in the system as often as she wants. This includes rail, bus, and subway. For example, July has 22 week days. So, her commute costs $8/day. If she drove, you'd figure $4/day gas + 2/day tolls + 10/day parking, never mind wear and tear on her car. Plus, it only takes 45 minutes to get in to town.

Posted by: Barry Kingsbury at July 26, 2004 01:52 PM

The T is great and I have not had to have a car for over 7 years, but the reality of daily life on the T is differnt from a sunny afternoon in July when you really do not have to be anywhere at a particular time and they are running extra cars for the convention. If you live on a line above ground during the rest of the year you can wait from 30-45 mintues for a T. In the winter that can be brutal. Because of the infrequent running of cars people pack on to cars in sardine like closeness making it a rather harolding and athletic experience. I once stood with a blind woman and her seeing eye dog for 2 hours as I tried to get her on a train in which the throng pushed her and her dog off of every train. I will not even go into the many sexual assults, streakers, and fisticuffs. SO I would say yes the T is grand and I wish there were T's all over the country but I would also suggest not modeling it off the MBTA. There is a reason the Kingston Trio wrote the song about the MBTA.

Posted by: Tiffany at July 26, 2004 05:08 PM

Um, Mr. O'Mera makes his living driving an ... automobile?

Posted by: Ted at July 26, 2004 05:34 PM

Boston and DC have the best subways I've ever enjoyed. For Seattle, I think you have to get Boeing involved, I'm afraid. And of course, the Seattle Sub would have to serve espresso....

Posted by: Kevin Hayden at July 26, 2004 07:05 PM

Sorry...Seattle can't have one. It's working off an ancient Duwamish curse that confuses those who make the roads and makes travel around the Sound a nightmare.
The whole system was designed by rapid howler monkeys on speed.
So, Seattle's transit system will remain this way until George Jetson is President.

Currently trapped in Renton,
Oh God! Where is thy mercy?...

Posted by: David Aquarius at July 27, 2004 08:39 AM

The Democrats (draft) 2004 National Platform is careful not to use the term "global warming", opting instead for the less worrisome "climate change".

They do go out of their way to assure us: "We support the right of the American people to drive whatever cars, SUVs, minivans, and trucks they choose".

As they say, with Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

Posted by: Rysam at July 27, 2004 11:06 AM

Maybe better, maybe worse. The subway proper does go out into several suburbs (Quincy, Brookline, Cambridge, Malden, Somerville), but to get 50 miles out, you need to take buses or commuter rail, which don't run as often, nor as late. (All of these services are run by the same local transport authority, which is why Bostonians often refer to the lot of them, loosely, as your cabbie may have, as "The T"). Still good to have... particularly once you look at the market rate for renting a parking space for anyone who lives near downtown -- good apartments elsewhere in the country go for less...

Posted by: Charles Dodgson at July 27, 2004 03:26 PM

Seattle has great transportation from what I've seen. My husband (a lawyer who had never taken a bus before), my 8 month old daughter (ditto, well, not the lawyer part) and I (avid bus rider) visited Seattle and bussed it the whole time... to the Music Experience and the Zoo....

But we live in LA so any bus system that runs more often than once an hour is great!

Posted by: Marisol at July 27, 2004 10:51 PM

Be careful what you wish for. We Angelenos got ourselves a subway a few years ago that cost about $1 billion/mile and goes almost nowhere. The fact that the L.A. basin is tectonically unstable and riddled with played-out oil and gas fields didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of subway boosters a bit. Seattle is also on the 'Circle of Fire.' If you insist on spending the money, buy a monorail or something else you have some prayer of escaping if you happen to be riding when The Big One hits.

Posted by: Dick Eagleson at July 28, 2004 12:13 PM