Bus? Bike? Walk? It shouldn't be this difficult
I have to make a quick trip to the other side of town in the next day or so, pick up a package and return home. Sure, sounds easy, right? Just jump in the car, drive over there, drive back. That's what everyone else would do. Nope, not this nut case. Me, I'm planning on using anything and everything but the car.
The problem is figuring out how. No, more than that, the real problem is figuring out the best way to do it, and to have a backup plan in case something doesn't work. It is this lack of ability to have options that keeps people from trying to use transit, and the most difficult piece to solve. Allow me to illustrate, as best I can.
The place in question is in the Chartiers Village neighborhood in Pittsburgh's West End ... Let's just say there's a bus stop quite near the address, and one bus route that goes from Downtown right to the place. The problem is that there are very few trips for that route. Miss the one I want, and then what? And how do I get back once I get there?
Turns out there are two other routes that get maybe a half mile away, and two routes beyond that which get maybe a mile away. Put them all together, and there actually is quite a bit of service. ...
... Now add the concept of using a bicycle to help make the trip. A half mile or so on a bike is nothing! So! Get Downtown with a bike, mount the bike on one of the buses, and I get either right to the place or with a couple-minute ride, and then bike right back.
Do you begin to see the complexity involved here? In a couple of very rare cases, I can bus practically to the door of the place. In a couple more cases, if I can time it right, I can hit the place in two quick bus rides. But starting from Downtown at any given point in time during the day, I might be better off walking a half-mile to a mile, rather than wait most of an hour for a connecting bus.
... Straight bus ride? Bus-bike? Bus-bus? Bus-hike? It's enough to make one's head spin.
What I really need is someone to pay me to figure all this out, creating a tool that we all can use. It's what I want to do, and the whole country needs this very thing, if we ever want to reduce our dependence on oil, foreign or otherwise. We have billions we can spend on tools and toys for our cars. How about throwing a tiny fraction of that my way, so that I can save us trillions?