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Lyle
Participant
#

I rode the bus to work today. It was late, I was late to work, the bus was crammed with people, and we kept getting passed by cyclists on the sidewalk.

The number of people out on bikes has risen dramatically these last couple of summers. Did they come out of cars, or off the busses? It seems to me that it’s the latter, and I have mixed feelings about how good that is for the city.

Is it a good thing that there are more people on bikes? Yes. But if it’s the canary in the coal mine, just an indicator of decaying public transit options, that’s not good.

Opinions? Data?


rsprake
Participant
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I came from commuting via car, and now occasionally take the bus and never drive my car.


brian j
Participant
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My guess is that it’s a little of both. People are likely realizing that if you have a short-ish commute (say, Shadyside to Oakland, or even dahntahn), you can do it faster on a bike, and get some exercise at the same time.


dwillen
Participant
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I took the bus almost all winter (after having moved here from a warmer climate). Since about March I’ve been riding daily.

– Bus takes 33-38 minutes door to door (depending on how close I cut it getting to the bus stop). Evenings when the bus shows up 15 minutes late (or not at all!) it would have been faster to head home on foot, rather than wait.

– I can walk the entire length, door to door in ~45-50 minutes.

– Bike takes 15 mins door to door, or 25 mins if I park at my bike locker and walk the last 8 blocks to work.

– I’ve carpooled to work a few times when my other half is heading in the same direction. Without parking, just dumping me off a couple blocks from work, it usually takes ~5 minutes door to door.

Any way I cut it, bus isn’t very appealing. Nice if I have to haul some crap in for a pot luck, but otherwise I’d rather ride / walk. Things should improve with the newly proposed rerouting. I expect about a 10 minute bus ride in that case (56U + 56E turning into a new route 58), which will give me something to consider on rainy/snowy/cold days.


cbobc
Participant
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I used to ride the bus and I hated every minute of it. When I took PAT the trip would usually take an hour or more (southside to northside, transfer downtown). On a bike I can usually make it in 25 min to half hour, depending on traffic. (< 20 min on a weekend)

Not only that but riding a bus is a miserable experience.

Also, a lot of people say its crazy to ride in cold/wet days, not so. I would typically stand in this weather for at least a half an hour to get where I needed to be, might as well be moving and on my bike.

Two other positives would be:

1) They can’t cut my route as happens about twice a year.

2)No more spending cash on passes which go up about twice a year when they cut service.(more money to put into my bike :)

I think also that its much more fulfilling to get somewhere via your own power.


alankhg
Participant
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I’m a student, and have basically given up on PAT. It’s OK going downtown during rush hour (though the bike is still probably just as fast or faster), but otherwise if you don’t look up a schedule beforehand you may well wait 20 minutes to an hour. Return trips also get messy: if you’re somewhere an indefinite amount of time, there’s always quite a wait, and after 1am walking or waiting a LONG time is a given. Also, it’s tough to get to certain neighborhoods.

And this is with the price of a bus pass included in tuition, so it’s a sunk cost.


Willie
Participant
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The only PAT option I use on a regular basis anymore is the incline. The whole PAT system is a joke. They are crying they are going broke but will turn people away from the train because they have a bike. Beggers shouldn’t be so picky. For the most part the incline is a pleasure to ride on and who knows maybe a few more months of riding ten miles to work everyday I might just start riding back up mt washington


salty
Participant
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I think riding the bus is a lot less of a “miserable experience” than being stuck in traffic in a car.

But, I will agree that having to transfer screws things up. I don’t have any real suggestion to fix that, but it does suck – it takes me 1:20 to get to work by bus and if I miss the 8am I’m hosed. So, as much as I want to ride the bus to work, it’s not terribly practical. I certainly prefer riding the bike (~1:00) to that.

Unfortunately neither one is as practical as the car (20-25 min). So I guess the real moral is, don’t live one place and work somewhere else…


argylepile
Participant
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I haven’t owned a car in 8 years, so my independent modes of transportation(especially to work) are the bus, and/or the bike. Between the two, I prefer the bike. I default to the bus if the weather is crappy or if I’m running late/not feeling well. I’m glad we have busses in this city, but they’re overcrowded and pretty miserable a lot of the time. It’s standing room only and downright dangerous on my way to and from work. Plus more often than not, I can get to my job faster on two wheels than if I take the bus.


rsprake
Participant
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My bus ride is actually pretty sweet when I take it. I am a block away from the east busway and my bus ride is about 12 minutes to Herron Ave and it’s an ok walk from there.


dmtroyer
Participant
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I live in Highland Park… by bike (almost all downhill) I can do it in ~20 minutes door to desk. Ride home is closer to 50 min. Bus really isn’t bad, I grab the 93A on Highland and it takes the East Busway downtown, around 25 min door to desk. Bus ride home is more like 40 min door to desk as the outbound 93A has a 15 min range of when it leaves downtown.

Car is by far the slowest. I’ve only done it once but it took me close to an hour by the time I walked to the parking garage and fought traffic home.


sloaps
Participant
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i have no use for the bus where I’m located. commuting between the southside and the strip, biking is the fastest mode.

Just last thursday I hit a gridlocked 10th street bridge heading towards the southside. I picked up my bike, waved to the car behind me, jumped over to the sidewalk and walked my bike to muriel. good stuff.


the beast
Participant
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When I first began thinking about commuting by bus about 2 years ago, hill road/ one wild place seemed to be too much for me at the end of a 10 mile ride, so I statred looking into the bus. So now I can get the bus in the am pretty close to my work and bike the entire distance home. The biggest issue that I have is hoping that 1 of the 3 buses (1 is the 500) have a bike rack so I can get to work on time. There is another bus that comes by, but makes me about 15 mins late to work, which luckily I havent had to rely on too much yet. Living outside the city for my whole life (up near Harmar) I never really did the bus thing, but since I started commuting by bike/ bus, it has opened up some opportunities using the bus for other activities that I never really took advantage before.

but, I dont rely on it much past my morning commute and I can see how using it as your main mode of transportation would be a bit mind numbing, plus how many times can one person sing “looks like somebody forgot about us, standing on the corner waiting for the bus?”


JZ
Participant
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I gave up on PAT years ago.

For my work commute:

Drive time, non-rush hour: 25 minutes

Drive time, rush hour: 40 minutes

bike time into work, all hours: 40 minutes

bike time home, all hours: 50 minutes

bus time, all hours: 3 hours, requiring at least one transfer, followed by additional walking. The two closest stops to my building are both more than a mile away.

I live and work within city limits.


dmtroyer
Participant
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bus time, all hours: 3 hours, requiring at least one transfer, followed by additional walking. The two closest stops to my building are both more than a mile away.

fascinating…


cbobc
Participant
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Let’s not forget the most important thing: biking is fun. I have as much fun rush hour downtown as when I ride for leisure. Ahh zippin ’round whee!

better than a bus

that smells o’ pee


gimpPAC
Participant
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Bike to work: 15 – 20

By car: 15 – 20

By bus: 30 plus a 7 minute walk across the bridge

Bike back home: 30 – 40

By car: 20 – 25

By bus: 45 minutes

Of course I enjoy biking more, but the one good thing about where I get on the bus, I usually get a seat and can do some reading. It’s occasionally nice to be able to veg out during the commute to work…as long as I plan ahead and get to my stop on time.

I come from bussing all the time and agree it’s more efficient to ride a bike. I’m hoping the new routing (and eventually new ticketing?) system will make things a little less crowded and unreliable. I am set to ride into the winter, but will bus if it gets beyond my comfort level.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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If I can walk to where I’m going, I walk. If walking won’t work, I bike. If biking doesn’t make sense (I am 14 miles from Downtown), I bus. Anything but the damned car!

The bike wins out over the bus mid-day because it’s faster, and free. The bus wins over the bike at rush hour to avoid traffic. Weather is also a factor, as is needing not to arrive sweaty (bus in, bike home).

Mixing modes also works when trying to get to someplace distant, like Monroeville. I’ll let the bus cover the big distance, then grab the bike and finish the trip.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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I started commuting by bike four years ago. I’ve been commuting downtown by bus for 19 years and will still bus it during the coldest winter months or in bad weather (I’ve seen too many friends go down on the ice). But I agree there are a lot more commuters now–many more than there were even last year in truth.

We are a one car family, my wife commutes by bike more frequently too and she used to drive so there’s one less car.

I will say that I have spent/will spend a lot of time on the buses and find the system works well, but that’s probably explained by the fact that I live in the East End. Bus options are plentiful but also packed with people wearing giant backpacks.

I like the bike because

1) it’s fun

2) I get some exercise

3) it takes almost exactly the same amount of time as the bus but there is no chance of getting stuck in a traffic snarlup somewhere (except right in front of the William Penn Hotel on Cherry Way–when will I ever learn?)

4) no giant backpacks hitting you on the side of the head.

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