Public Transit… and the Spirit of Adventure?

So in your mind public transit and adventure are not two things you would usually associate –

For some interesting reading, "Transit Maps of the World" provides details, history and commentary as "The World's First Collection of Every Urban Train Map on Earth".

or at least not in a positive way. This is where we need to open our minds and imaginations to new ideas…especially when you take a vacation. Now, the Triangle is growing, and quickly. Right now we don’t have service every 15 minutes to every location you want to be, but we are taking feedback for future expansion and ideas right now, but that’s another blog.

Granted, larger U.S. cities have more service and more options, and so do many cities internationally. But everyone had to start somewhere. To date, we’ve received high speed rail funding from the federal government, so that will bring more opportunities for car-free trips too. Again – that seems far off. But we already have bus service that can get you to many worksites and popular destinations in the Triangle’s three counties.

The point of today’s blog isn’t about getting around locally, but getting around globally. When you travel to other cities or even other countries, how do you get to and fro? Taxis and rental cars can take a BIG chunk out of your travel budget. But I can understand your hesitation to take a bus or the tubes/metro/train when you’re not comfortable with that option. So the answer? Become comfortable with that option!

On the subway in Madrid, a guitarist sings into a microphone that feeds to the small speakers on his belt, while an emergency services worker and others commute.

You think I’m a crazy lady or super committed to transit? Well sometimes I am a big altcommuter dork like my name would imply, but I have a car that I typically use on a regular basis. However, I make an effort to not make it my default for every trip (petroleum usage, personal budget, the environment all play a part). But traveling to cities I fly into or where I don’t need a car, it becomes so handy feeling comfortable navigating via trains and buses, I save some dollars, AND I get to see something besides the GPS navigation screen. But I wasn’t always comfy on public transit. In college I can’t say I ever stepped on a city bus – university buses around campus and to the parking lot, but that was all.

Now I’ve been on buses and trains in multiple major U.S. cities and in Spain and England – and it’s saved me tons! The trick to moving from uncomfortable to enjoying the view and buying more souvenirs? Familiarize yourself with public transit at home so you feel like a pro when you travel. Learn how to read the transit maps and schedules locally, and then check them out in advance of your next excursion. Most cities have their maps and needed info online, and you can see if it’s a good idea and whether it can get you where you want to go – monuments, museums, the beach or just to restaurants and clubs.

Miami's bus and trains can get you from the airport to downtown Miami, South Beach, and to other hot spots without blowing your budget.

We’ve made it easy for you to start. Check in each Thursday for the “Get There” blog that will tell of events going on around the Triangle with links to the Trip Planner. All you have to do is drop in your home/departure address. Also, 485-RIDE (7433) is the local number to the customer service center where (gasp!) real humans help answer your questions from, “How do I buy a pass?” to “When is the bus coming?” to “How do I get here?” to “Can I bring my bike on the bus?”.

So I know summer is coming to a close and the white clothes are being packed away. But hopefully many of you out there have some great vacations you snagged at a bargain because they’re after the summer. So bring along your sense of adventure, save some moola, and take a trip… on public transit.

In the meantime, if you have a favorite trip you’ve made on public transit, pray tell in the comment section below.

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