Friday, January 8, 2010

Public Transportation?

A few months ago, a thought crossed my mind and made my heart leap. Instead of driving back and forth every week from Barnesville to Richmond to attend ESR, I could take the bus! It would lower my carbon footprint, save wear and tear on my car, and better yet, offer me that all-important *multitasking* opportunity to get my reading done for my classes whilst in transit!

Well, no.

A multitude of web searches and phone calls revealed to me that you can get to Richmond anyway you want--as long as it's by car. There is no bus to Richmond. No train. No nothing.

Dreams die hard. The closest Greyhound stop to Richmond is Dayton, about 25(?) miles from that golden city on the plains. Maybe I could bus to Dayton... rent a car ... OK, this is getting too complicated ...maybe I could take the bus there and bike ... that's it ... that region is flat. I could do it. In the middle of winter? In the dark? In the cold? Yes, I could ... well, OK, maybe not.

I kept thinking I MUST have missed the key ... that there must be a way to get to Richmond without a car.

Dream on.

I understand Greyhound not stopping in Richmond. Why waste all that gas for a couple of people?

I may be able to car pool now and again and ... you never know what will happen. My whole life I've dreamed of living in a world laden with public transportation--buses, streetcars, trains, boats...maybe it has to do with early visits to relatives in New York City. Or dim memories of the very last streetcars in Baltimore. Or stories of relatives taking trains from the New York City to weekends in the Catskills. Or reading about Nancy Drew and her chums boarding the train to Phoenix. And let's not forget Huck Finn. (Why DO they let us read? It puts too many ideas into our heads.)

We're supposedly at or near peak oil now, meaning, as I understand it, "we" are producing worldwide as many barrels as we ever will. The supply will go down. The demand is already up, with the Chinese, for instance, buying more cars than we in the U.S. did last year. And we're still buying.

When gas prices truly go sky high, maybe it will pay for Greyhound to run the bus to Richmond. Or for the railroad "heritage trails" everywhere to be converted back to rail lines. As long as we can do this gracefully, I look forward to that time.

In the meantime, to paraphrase Joan Crawford in The Women: It's back to the perfume counter ... I mean for me. Any other ideas?


Ted M. Gossard said...

Would be good if we were a public transport society, but America overwhelmingly in most places geographically is not. Deb, my wife would be glad to go back to the old days of horse and buggy, she says (she does love horses), or bicycles with no cars. Of course my eleven miles to work, now considered short, would all the sudden become a major ordeal. But here here to public transportation. Just not part of our culture, I'm afraid.

Diane said...

Hi Ted.

You're right about public transportation ... I am taking it cheerfully:) Hope you are well.

Martin Kelley said...

Is this new? A couple of years ago I stopped off in Richmond on an Greyhound trip between Philly and Wichita. I got on the same scheduled bus I had gotten off, just 24 hours later. It's sad they've dropped the route...

Bill Samuel said...

Googling, I find Greyhound stopped service to Richmond in 2006. Richmond once had train service as well. But there's nothing now. It's become a car culture, and I guess there just isn't the necessary volume of people wanting to use inter-city public transportation to make it worth it for anyone to serve Richmond. Sad, isn't it? But how much trouble would it be to have it a stopping point, say between Dayton and Indianapolis? Especially due to I-70 being there.

Diane said...

Martin and Bill,

This does explain the contradictory information I got--people telling me there was Greyhound service and Greyhound --when I finally got an actual person--telling me no.

Yes, I wish they would restart the stop ... it is sort of natural enroute to Indianapolis ...