Is it just me, or is something severely wrong with Fresno’s public transportation system? Maybe I’m unusual in that I don’t loathe taking the bus. I own a car. I also own a bike and enjoy using both as regular modes of transportation, depending on the weather and my mood. But I’d like to add a third alternative to getting around, especially to work every day. I think we all deserve transportation options and taking the bus should be an interesting/mostly pleasant experience.
Think about it. You leave a little earlier than normal, chat it up with some regulars at your stop, and maybe pop in some ear buds while taking in the scenery on your way to work or school. Maybe get in a chapter or two of a book, or look over some notes before getting to the office or school. Plus, the trip saves the wear and tear on your car and your wallet. On a good day, some interesting drama may go down and give you a story to talk about around the water cooler.
It sure sounds simple enough, except when I tried to travel a mere seven miles from my house to my workplace. In order for me to get from the vicinity of Shaw and Armstrong in Clovis to out near the airport, I would need to take four buses and walk half a mile! But wait, it gets better. My other option would be to take three buses and walk a full mile. I could watch a Hitchcock film in the same amount of time that this trek would take. Don’t get me wrong; I love taking in The Birds and Psycho most any evening, just not when my morning is focused on deadlines.
Fresno may not have a traffic problem yet, so maybe it’s not a pressing issue for our City Council members to address. And maybe the demands for improvements within the system are low, but is this not something we should be better at by now? I would hope Fresno’s leaders would want to participate in combatting air pollution and traffic. They seem to be on board when it comes to biking to work or school with a commitment to safer bike routes. But that’s just a start.
A more efficient bus system wouldn’t require many changes and probably not a lot of funding, just some simple math and a more thorough evaluation of our existing routes. I’m sure they’d sell more bus passes if they made routes more convenient for all of us. The incentives are already in place with the high cost of fuel, among other things.
Most people would consider this an alternative, at least some of the time, right? Perhaps when the car is in the shop, or just won’t start? And hopefully, more people are embracing the idea of reducing their carbon footprint.
What about Fresno State students who don’t have the luxury of driving themselves around? Fresno businesses could benefit from Fresno State’s I.D’s being considered their annual bus pass. With an on-campus student population estimated to be around 3,000+, portions of them must be without a car. That leaves enough reason to provide them easy access to the entire city within reasonable means. And we all deserve a simple and safe alternative to driving everywhere.