Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Average Wait Time Alarming

(x-posted from Examiner.com)

Good morning!

How was your morning commute? And how about yesterday's drive home? Still recovering? Then take a deep breath before reading Get There's report that DC drivers spend 60 hours a year in traffic.

TheWashington Post column reports that in the time spent waiting a motorist could have driven to San Francisco, dipping south first to Atlanta before heading north through Kansas City and Spokane, Washington before reaching California. The trip amounts to 60 hours and 3,929 miles. A straight shot from the Disctrict to San Fransisco would amount 42 hours and 2,816 miles, making the data significantly more alarming. Yikes.

Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago also spend an inordinate amount of time waiting to move forward. Like DC, all cities are fortunate that the headaches can be alleviated by taking transit. (Okay, Los Angeles is battling more transit problems than the rest as it attempts to make its transit system more efficient.)

There's almost nothing to hold Washingtonians back from transit, except cases where WMATA can't reach the destination. Metro is working on expanding underground cell phone service, manuvering its lines to accomodate for heavy volume (no matter how silly it may seem) and waiting for the weekend to conduct its maintenance (which is more good than I can say for Chicago's CTA service program). Of course, commuter buses and Metrobus are liable to sit in traffic too, and Metro is plagued with its own delays, but the time waiting buys you opportunities you can't get behind the wheel. Buses on the highway are given the additional perk of using the HOV lanes provided motorists let the behemoths merge. And though the prices for these transit opportunities have risen over time, you're still likely to save money on gas and possibly the cost of parking forced by your place of employment.

Of course these perks are old news to regular riders, who would probably prefer to see less people shoved inside the Metro car Monday morning. Sorry, fellow riders.

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