Then it hit me: why can’t everyone ride-share? I don’t mean neighbors or coworkers; I mean picking up hitchhikers, total strangers who need to go in the same direction you are already driving. I guarantee that at least 90% of those cars could have taken me at least halfway closer to home than I was while standing at that corner in Oakland. Even a few blocks would have been helpful, because when my ride planned to turn in another direction, I could have simply gotten out of the car. Furthermore, all of those cars were going in the same direction. Imagine if all of the drivers had all been inside one vehicle?
I suppose that is the idea of buses: to allow people going in the same direction to share the same vehicle. However, as Americans, we are loath to give up our cars and the freedom they provide. Yet, if we all shared rides, imagine how many fewer cars we would need. Imagine the gas—and therefore money—we could save. Imagine the pollution that would be prevented. At the very least, imagine a world with no more rush hour!
I guess living in Europe has made me a huge advocate of mass transit. It is simply more efficient in terms of moving many people with fewer vehicles on the road. It is comparatively cheaper, and it makes people less lazy—your destination is almost never five feet away from your bus stop; it usually requires walking at least a block or so. No one riding a bus or train ever experiences “road rage,” nor are passengers generally impatient unless their bus/train is late. On a bus, you are not constantly waiting for a light to change or trying to switch lanes to pass a slower vehicle. In fact, although a bus may reach your destination in a greater amount of time than it would take to drive to the same location, you actually save time by being able to multitask on a bus. (Although, some people do try that while driving their cars. Hence, why many states have outlawed talking on cell phones while driving. Reading, however…not advisable, even if it is legal. And what about “interactive” reading? That’s called texting, probably a more dangerous activity than actually talking on a cell phone.)
Also, through the influence of many of my friends, I am becoming—if not a full-fledged activist—at least more environmentally aware. While I am not to the point at which I would completely change my lifestyle for the sake of environmental conservation (I need my air-conditioning!), I don’t mind doing what I can, especially when it causes no inconvenience to me. Case in point: ride the bus and carpool whenever possible.
Besides, like I am sure you know, I am the queen of multitasking. How would I ever get all of my reading done if I were driving a car for 50% of my day?