Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Like Getting a Raise

Taking transit that is...

Jeanne Whitworth, wearing a dark blue jacket and skirt, settles into a Sprinter car at the Oceanside Transit Center, awaiting the four-stop ride to Rancho del Oro, where she lives. Whitworth, who works in downtown San Diego, commutes weekdays on both the Sprinter and the Coaster, a conventional Amtrak-style train, which intersect at Oceanside.

The two trains take an hour and a half. Whitworth, 42, could be home 15 minutes earlier if she drove there from Oceanside. "But I don't have to fight the traffic," she says, and she's saving a tank of gas every month. "It's like getting a raise."

But the highway mentality and misunderstanding of investments for people versus cars are still out there.
Cooke, a retired Marine Corps major-general, contends that $500 million would have been better spent adding two more lanes to six-lane Highway 78. He's also critical of the train's taxpayer subsidy, saying that everyone riding the Sprinter "is getting a free ticket to some degree."

10 comments:

Chase said...

Driving on a highway, cost of ticket: $0.

Riding the Sprinter, cost of ticket: $2.

Yeah, I'm seeing a free ticket in there somewhere.

njh said...

The money we have saved by not owning a car has bought us an extra house. Put another way, $10k/pa is a loan of at least $100k over 30 years.

Houses might seem a poor investment in these times, but we bought a house in a traditional walkable neighbourhood with fantastic access to the Melbourne heavy rail network, and its value has increased when houses only 5km away have lost half their value.

@chase: if you think driving is costing you $0 you're very naïve.

njh said...

(FWIW, oceanside to SD is 37miles, at the AAA rate of 50c/mile is a daily cost of $37 for the round trip (and you have to drive rather than reading or chatting).

But probably shouldn't respond to trolls.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I think he meant the car driver is getting more of a free ride than the transit rider. But correct me if I'm wrong Chase.

Chase said...

That's exactly what I meant -- if the car driver paid his share of the infrastructure cost in the form of a ticket, it would probably be a lot more than the train rider would pay.

Chase said...

@njh: My wife and I were also able to buy a house from the money we saved by using public transit and biking. If we had to make a car payment, we would never have qualified for a loan that would buy us a house in our area.

njh said...

I'm sorry, I was cranky from having a similar discussion with someone online and misunderstood your point.

I'm glad to hear that you to are saving money the PT way :)

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that this Cooke guy was a government worker. Some one ought to ask him how much money dose the USMC make in a year.

Cavan said...

Government worker? That's quite a different mentality they have out there, I guess. I'm a federal worker... in Washington, DC. We all take the Metro here.

Anonymous said...

The thing is to keep things in perspective, which is some thing that Mr. Cooke wasn't doing.