Get on board with public transit
By Katie Czenczek, Staff Writer
Now, I know that most people are under the impression that driving is better than transiting, but I’m here to set the record straight. I’ve done my fair share of commuting via public transit and via a clunk bucket that might loosely be referred to as a “car”. I’ve finally decided that I hate driving more than transiting, and here’s why.
First off, ditching your car can help you lose weight. A study published in The Lancet in 2016 found that on average, people who commuted using public transit weighed about five to seven pounds less than drivers. Think about it, getting daily exercise is hard to do when you have work and school, and the little bit of walking to your local bus stop can be enough to shed off a couple of pounds. While you drive, you sit in your car and get from point A to point B with little movement. When you transit, you get that body moving. Maybe the infamous Douglas Grind isn’t sounding so bad after all.
Another pro to taking transit is the obvious: It’s ridiculously cheaper. On average in BC, the cost to insure a vehicle is $1,316—note that is the average cost. For any drivers who haven’t been on the road for five-plus years, it will be closer to $3000 for insurance alone. That doesn’t include paying for parking, gas, and any service charges when your car starts acting up—which it will, because it’s a car. Now compare this with approximately $120 for three semesters. That’s about how much a Douglas student pays for the U-Pass with unlimited access to SkyTrain and bus routes. TransLink is an awful company, but I’d take it over ICBC any day just for how much money I save.
Whatever the annoying habit that one driver has—slamming on their breaks, cutting people off, traffic weavers, slow drivers in the fast lane, need I say more?—I can promise you that most trips to work and school are going to involve at least one thing that pisses you off. If you transit, you can relax. I have time to read, listen to music, catch up on some homework, and people-watch. What’s better than having time in our days to just take a breath and not think for once? If you stop and smell the roses while driving, you’ll either get into an accident or have a horn blast brutally snap you back into reality.
A huge plus to public transit is that it is significantly better for the environment by not burning gas that goes directly into our atmosphere. For any of you who vehemently oppose the Kinder-Morgan pipeline, a good way to avoid feeding the oil industry is to not drive a car. Most people drive single-passenger vehicles, which adds up in greenhouse gases in metropolitan areas. To avoid this and put your greenest foot forward, transiting is a great option.
The final thing I will leave you with is this: For the most part, the Lower Mainland is an accessible area for transit. If you want to drive to a nearby hike or go on a road trip, all you have to do is rent a car—it’ll still be cheaper than paying for insurance for an entire year.