My city has recently added some new modes of public transportation. Supposedly they were going to help congested roads and give people an alternative to driving. That's pretty important today, as gas prices near $3.50 a gallon.
The problem is that it doesn't really save you any money.
I commute 13 miles to work each way, each day. 26 miles round trip. I live in a suburb, so the inner city public transportation system isn't within walking distance. However I could drive a few miles and park in a Bus Lot and take it from there.
Here's the problem. It takes me 30-40 minutes to get to work. At $3.50/gal using my 20mpg SUV I end up spending $4.55 on gas each day to get to work. If I took the bus however, it would take me an hour and a half to get to work - mainly because of all the stops and that the bus actually has to sit in traffic also. The problem is that it costs $2.50 a day to park in their lot. Then it costs $1.00 each way for the bus ticket. So every day by taking 'alternative' public transportation it will take me twice as long to get there and I will have saved 5 cents.
Just about everyone who does this lives in the suburbs and works downtown. What gets me is that I always see small econocars in the lot, like one particular old Geo Metro. That Metro gets around 40mpg if driven properly and is well maintained. So it would cost him $2.26 to drive into downtown and back each day. He spends more on parking than it would cost him just to drive himself.
On top of it all, the city spends millions to billions on public transportation, paid for by our taxes, just so we can have access to a system that costs more than it would for us to drive ourselves!
Does this make any sense?