Drive Only Mentality

I pit the “drive only” mentality of many in the Atlanta Metro area.

We have a severe gas shortage that may continue for at least a few more weeks.

During an television “man on the scene” interview, people were saying that they didn’t know* how *they were going to to get to work this week. (During the NYC transit strikes we WALKED miles to get to work - MILES) I was screaming at the TV: “Take the bus! Take the train”.

The governor made a request of commuters to carpool or to telecommute. No mention of busses or trains in his message.

Why are so many people here unwilling to take the bus or the train here? I find that people I’ve asked feel that it’s too much trouble. They don’t want to wait for a bus.

Gwinnett county voters again rejected a plan to extend rail service to their communities a few months back despite rising gas prices and the gridlocked roads here.

One of my coworkers actually called in “out of gas” and it was an acceptable excuse. I really can’t believe it.

What’s the Atlanta transit system like?

I complain, but my complaint is relative to the NYC transit system where service is available 24 hours a day. Here’s the rail map: and here’s the bus schedule:

Rail service begins at 5am and continues to 1am on weekdays. Busses begin at 5am and continue to 1:30am on weekdays.

The cars are well air conditioned and pretty clean as are the busses.

Anybody who knows Atlanta understands why busses and trains weren’t mentioned - look at that train map. It doesn’t touch Gwinnett, Cobb, Rockdale, Henry, or Clay counties - at least 2 million people in the ATL would have to drive to get to the public transportation system. Where you going to park all those cars? :wink:

My impression was that people didn’t want the MARTA lines extended because it would make it easier for “a certain class of people” to come out their area to (I dunno) wreak havoc or something. All you have to do is look at Sandy Springs and Dunwoody to see the roving gangs they have all over the place.


I live in Jonesboro (Clayton County) - I can take CTran to the airport and then take the train to work. Here’s a link for busses

I think in this situation I’d be looking to car pool with people I don’t even like but can tolerate for a while. So you end up with a commute that is an extra 30 minutes out of your day. The search for gas has to waste that already.

We have park and ride. There are lots available at some stations and you drive there, and take public transportation in.

There are 2 reasons.

First, service is crappy. Bus and train service to the suburbs is nearly nonexistent. Within the city itself, the train coverage is so-so, although they only come every 10 minutes during peak hours, and are often delayed. The bus routes are so ineffective that I can count on doubling my commute time if a bus is involved.

Second, even if coverage were adequate, white suburbanites just don’t want to rub elbows with non-white people. White suburbanites describe the trip as if it were full of knife-wielding orangoutans throwing poo at each other. There is a bit of a vagrancy problem at times but it is nowhere near as bad as they seem to think. I have never once felt unsafe on MARTA.

And that’s because they don’t want black people moving to their neighborhoods. They don’t get it. They’ll never get it.

Frankly I’m enjoying this little gas kerfluffle we’re having… not because it’s ever going to make these 100-mile solo round-trippers in Escalades rethink about their lifestyles, because it won’t… but rather because I savor the rare moments when ignorance and prejudice is painful. I prefer physical pain, but financial pain will do.

I’ve often wondered how common this is, in the US at least. I often get pretty skeptical when I see complaints about people not taking public transportation. How many people actually have that option?

I live in northern New Jersey, and I’m 29 miles due north of my job. It takes me almost an hour to drive to work, but I still do it because:

  • To move closer would raise my house price about $100K, which I can’t afford.
  • There is literally no bus service that can take me there, despite the fact that I both live and work in highly populated areas close to public transportation hubs.
  • I could take a train, but the only route is to go into New York City and back out, an approximately 3+ hour trip one way not counting changing trains.

I’m trying to move to telecommuting, but the process is taking a long time. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it.

It’s funny that upon reading the title of this thread I immediately thought it would be about Atlanta.

I moved here from Boston two years ago and I just can’t get used to the car culture. At local shopping centers I’ve seen people circle like hawks for the perfect, near the door parking space and then repeat the process over again for another store that’s just across the parking lot. They’re so accustomed to driving everywhere that the thought of gasp walking to the other store is beyond them.

And, yes:

Anytime the news does a story on the possibility of MARTA extending its lines you get the quotes about not wanting, “those people” in certain neighborhoods. Makes me laugh every time someone tells me Atlanta doesn’t have racism.

Well, I will make one concession here. Summers in Atlanta are a boiling hell of heat and humidity, starting in May and never completely ending until November. If you walk more than a block anywhere, you’ll be drenched in sweat and hardly presentable.

But what am I saying… it seems like half this problem is because they’ve paved over so much greenspace with 12-lane interstates and 7-acre parking lots. On second thought, fuck them. I mean us. :slight_smile:

As for me, I scrimped and saved so I could have a house close to a train station intown. I still can’t really walk anywhere, but it’s rare for me to drive more than 40 miles a week.

I agree, for the most part.
The only time I’ve felt unsafe on MARTA was at about 12:30AM, on the last train going north, when the only other occupant of the rail car was a guy in a huge parka, talking to himself and playing with a knife. That scared the crap out of me. But other than that, I’ve always felt like MARTA was a great way to make a commute. And because I wasn’t driving, I had time to read or study so while the commute was longer, I wasted less time.

I live in a very driving-oriented city, but I still can take transit if I needed to - it does exist, and I do know that. I also live in a neighbourhood where I can walk to almost all of my services easily - while I’m between assignments, my car doesn’t move for days at a time.

I posted this in the other recent thread about gas shortages - it’s all about choices. You choose to live someplace with no transit, you will need to live with those consequences. If you have a priority in your life (such as always being able to get to work), you need to make the choices that make that possible.

The question is not “why does this particular person choose to drive to work?” We all know that taking public transportation is not feasible for certain people.

The question is “given the current gas shortage, why don’t people who could take public transportation use it more often?”
And while I do agree that public transportation in New Jersey is often infuriatingly NYC-oriented, I’m pretty flummoxed as to what sort of train route would require you to go into the city. Why couldn’t you change at Newark or Secaucus? And I’m not sure how it could take 3+ hours one way if you’re not counting train-changing time. (or even if you are. Never mind the wretched Raritan Valley Line.)

I understand if you don’t want to pinpoint your home and work locations, but I hope you’re willing to explain this, because there must be some variables at work that I don’t know about.

All this kissing going on in here–get a room, folks!
It’s busing, not bussing. It’s buses, not busses!

Carry on.

Are we close to reaching the end of a very tedious era in America–the one where the car is a status symbol and only people not quite like you use public transport?*

I hope so.

*not true in major, older cities.

All this sounds just like the situation here in L.A. It pisses me off when I hear people talking about “how dangerous” it can get on the metro. Geez man, stop living in your tiny bubble of a universe and join the rest of the human race.

Fair enough. I was using NYC as a broad category, because A. most people reading this won’t know the area, and B. it’s all New York to me after a certain point east. :smiley: As for the times, I haven’t checked the exact schedules in quite a few years, so…

I live in Landing (which means the Lake Hopatcong station on the Morristown line) and work in Bridgewater (Raritan Valley line). I started with the station to station tool, but apparently, there is no weekday route with two or fewer transfers (apparently the system counts walking as an extra transfer), so it couldn’t give me a result. Using the pain-in-the-ass Itinerary Planning tool to arrive by my work’s 8:30 begin time tomorrow, I get:

Arrive : NEWARK BROAD ST 6:16 A.M.



*Transfer *
Walking Directions:
Walk approx. 1 block on Raymond Blvd.
Turn right on Raymond Plz E.
Walk a short distance on Raymond Plz E.
Walk straight on E Raymond Plz.
Walk approx. 1 block on E Raymond Plz.
Walk straight on Raymond Plz E.
Walk a short distance on Raymond Plz E.
Turn right on Market St.
Walk approx. 1 block on Market St.
Total walking is 0.23 miles.

Arrive : BRIDGEWATER 7:54 A.M.

So it’s actually almost exactly 3 hours now if you include the transfer time (and assuming that my second train doesn’t arrive late so that I can’t make the 1/4 mile walking distance in the allotted 8 minutes). Actual train time is at 2 hours 14 minutes.

Good God, Risha! You’re absolutely right! When you said “Northern New Jersey,” I assumed the more eastern part. And you would indeed have to deal with the royal pain-in-the-assiness of the Raritan Valley Line. That would probably add even more time to the trip because the trains don’t run that often relative to the other lines.

Thank you for explaining. Zoinks!

In case anybody’s curious, here’s a link to a pdf of the NJ Transit rail system. You’ll find Lake Hopatcong in the northwestern part where the red and green lines are together. Bridgewater is SSE of that on the orange line.

Great, if you work downtown or anywhere close to one of the rail lines. Terrible, if you work anywhere else. It took me almost two hours to get to work this morning by Marta.