Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How I loathe Edmonton's public transport system

Living in the most southeastern part of Edmonton sure does have its disadvantages.

It seems like everytime I get driven home by people who don't live in Millwoods, comments about feeling unsafe or "being in the 'hood'"(Millwoods...Millhoods..haha, yeah, I think that's a bad one, too) have to be made. To this, I simply chuckle as there are things faaar worst which accompany living where I live besides juvenile delinquents and numerous cul-de-sacs that will leave the Millwoods visitor (and resident) wishing they had been road designers. Namely, the God-awful public transport system in this city.

On Monday, Wednesday, Fridays...I have my first class at 9am. If I were to bus all the way from my house, it would take an hour. There's a university express bus that avoids 111th street completely and gets to the university in 40 minutes but the only time I ever use that route was if I had a class to go to at 9:30am on a Tuesday or Thursday.

Ever since I started driving, I've ditched taking the bus all the way from my house and opted to park n' ride at Southgate instead (despite the ridiculous "no park 'n ride" bylaw and having been caught twice for trying to break it). Speeding through the Whitemud (10 min.) + bussing from Southgate to the university (15-20 min. give or take) = 30 min. aka half the time that bussing all the way would take.

Yesterday was an exception, though. I drove to Southgate and arrived at 8:40 and hopped on the 44. Strangely enough, a ton of people boarded to pack the bus. I was so sure that I arrived too late to get to school on time and so felt some relief that maybe I hadn't.

The deaf school was in sight...stop for 5 minutes...inch half a meter forward...stop for another 5 minutes...inch less than a meter forward...I start to doze off (as do others)...jerk my head back up...nooo, another red light? I'm late for sure now...wow, this is taking kinda long...really, REALLY long...

At some point, I was wishing that they'd completely ban having people drive to the university altogether or at least reserve the right lane for busses and taxis during peak hours. We finally reached the University Hospital (still didn't know what time it was) but I finally found out what was dragging traffic down to turtle pace - one lane had been blocked so that there was only one lane left to use. Brilliant. I finally looked at the clock at Health Sciences to check the time...9:33am. Wait, 9:33???? I have an assignment to hand in today! CRAP!!! By the time the bus had reached the university, it was almost 9:40am. What normally is a 15 min. bus ride took an hour. The same amount of time it takes to bus all the way from my house.

I wanted to complain. But to who? ETS? I guess I can't really blame them this time since an hour vs. 15 min. is quite a huge discrepancy. Construction or whoever else was responsible for giving us southside folks only one lane to work with?? Maybe motorists for polluting air and space instead of taking public transport? After all, I could have driven all the way to the university but the amount of gas (and money) I'd waste idling makes me shudder. And one lane or two lanes, I think it's safe to say that if less people drove all the way to the university, busses would be reaching campus faster.

Or maybe I should blame city council for not coming up with a better public transport system. There's really no fairness when people in Clareview can reach the university in about 25-30 minutes (I'm sure that's about right) while those in Millwoods (an area with enough people to be Alberta's third largest city) have to spend twice as much time on the road to get to the same destination.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I think I've heard this story a few times before:P