Today (Wednesday) was one of the 1-2 days a month I take public transportation to and from work. It is certainly not to get to work in a hurry. My usual drive commute is about 35 minutes. The curb to curb time for me to commute via Metro St. Louis is about 90 minutes each way. Bus-Train-Bus. They are very close to where I have to go, but just not very direct and there is often some amount of layover in the connections.
I took the Metro because my car was in the shop for periodic maintenance. Rather than drive our 12.0 passenger van by myself, it makes more sense, fuel-wise, to buy a couple of metro passes.
My route takes me from my mechanic’s shop, through Forest Park and then to work, which is near Lambert Field. The highlight of the trip, however, is midway through Forest Park…at the top of Art Hill, near the Art Museum is this very large (and somewhat famous) manly statue of King St. Louis IX, the patron of our city and Archdiocese. I believe that it used to be the symbol for the city…which has now given way to the less than manly, and certainly less-Catholic, Gateway Arch. I wish I could just hop off of the bus and stand next to this statue and look down the hill. It’s a great view of a large section of the park. This is also the same spot I ran with friends last month (and again last week) as a good form of exercise and camaraderie…although the process of getting to the top of this hill is considerably easier whilst sitting in the bus!
Taking the Metro also gives me time to do some things I cannot do while driving. I can do my spiritual reading and gospel meditations. I can fiddle around with my iPhone, play Words w/ Friends, read blogs, iMessage my bride, Twitter, etc…stuff I cannot and should not do in my car..or I can just sit quietly, look out the big windows and be chauffeured about the city. Blog ideas for me come from this commute as well, which is a good thing because being creative for me is work!
It also gives me opportunities to see how other parts of the city operate….other neighborhoods…opportunities to pray for people I walk by or see on the bus or train, or at the station. Many of them probably have nobody else to pray for them.
I would really consider doing this kind of a commute every day. Unfortunately, I do occasionally need to drive between buildings at work and if I were to do this commute, it would interfere too much at home with eating dinner at a reasonable time and spending the time with my wife and children. I’d lose at least an hour a day with them if I went this route all the time.
Anyway – it is a nice change of pace and often a cultural experience. I’ll do it again in a week or two when the van goes in for service too.
Do you have any (clean) transit experiences to share?