Ride The Bus!

My friend Bennett and I are going to try to get to work and back relying solely on public transportation on Monday (5/12/2008).  We both live in South Huntsville and both work at Phase IV on Triana Boulevard.  Huntsville has an anemic public bus system, but instead of complaining, we are going to give it a shot (plus it sounds fun).  Here is the schedule that I have created for us:


To Work:

6:00AM           Leave house and walk to Super Walmart (0.75 miles)

6:26AM           Get on #10 bus

6:55AM           Arrive at Parkway Place Mall

7:14AM           Get on #1 Bus to the Senior Center

7:16AM           Arrive at Senior Center and walk to Phase IV (0.8 miles)

7:45AM           Arrive at Phase IV


Back Home:

4:00PM           Walk to Senior Center

4:23PM           Get on #2 Bus and head to Parkway Place Mall

4:33PM           Arrive at Parkway Place

5:00PM           Board #10 Bus and head south

5:26PM           Arrive at Super Walmart

5:45PM           Arrive at House


The total cost is $2 ($1 to work and $1 home) and 3.5 hours of travel.  The total travel distance from my house to Phase IV is 8.75 miles each way.  The daily of cost for me to drive my truck to work (assuming 17 mpg) is $3.50 (one gallon of gas).  From a financial point of view it makes sense.  Let’s look at the time cost.  It normally takes me about 20 minutes to drive to work and about 25 minutes to drive home.  From a time point of view – not very efficient.  I plan on trying to make friends with the other bus riding patrons of our town to get their view of the bus system.  I’m sure I will blog about it afterwards.


Would you take public transportation in Huntsville if the routes were increased?

What is your breaking point for the price of a gallon of gas before you start carpooling, biking, walking, or taking public transportation?



Filed under Community

8 responses to “Ride The Bus!

  1. Laura S-R

    Very cool. YES, I would definitely take public transportation if the routes were increased and if I didn’t have to work so hard to find out the schedule. As an underemployed person, I am almost to the breaking point. (Not just about the money – there’s also the outrage factor.) Soon you will see me on my bike with the hot purple wheels all around town.

  2. When I worked at the local Mental Health Ctr., one of my job duties was to teach some of my clients how to use the Shuttle. So, I got to know some of the routes and such. Pretty cool! It helps to know that you have to pull the string in order for the bus to let you out at your desired stop (I’m from a small town that didn’t have public transportation, so this was a really new concept for me!).
    The only thing I saw about the system at the time was a lack of more routes. Now they have expanded the South Hsv route a bit, but it could still use some fine-tuning. I think it’s a shame that more folks don’t take advantage of it as is the case in larger cities. Huntsville needs to catch up!
    I’ll be interested to hear your feedback about your experience.

  3. sigmugi

    Laura, The buses have bike racks on them. You can ride the purple princess all over town. I agree with you on the schedule. It is difficult to find, and it looks like they had a contest with all the kindergarten classes to see who come up with the best map.

  4. sigmugi

    Jenny, I will be sure to pull the string. Maybe if we ride them more, they will make more routes. Chicken and egg type thing.

  5. Not sure I would take public transport in Huntsville lol. Seriously though, kudos for giving it a go – the USA has rarely got public transport networks anywhere close to what you need to get anywhere in an efficient time, hence why people drive everywhere. How long would it take to cycle to work just out of interest? My city is building a tram line which is exciting but is going to cost $1.5bn which seems insane.

  6. Matt

    Larry…I applaud your efforts to utilize public transport (I can honestly say I don’t know a single person in Huntsville who has ever used the bus system there). I’m lucky that I can use MARTA easily most days. I get a half-price monthly ticket through GSU and the drive to the northernmost station isn’t too bad from my house (I’m actually going to miss my time on the train when summer semester is over and I start my job). The real challenge would be if I tried to make the entire trip without using my car. I suppose one day I could try and ride my bike to a park-and-ride bus lot and then take the bus to the train station. Man, that would add a lot of time to my commute.

    Duncan…that’s cool that Edinburgh is putting in a tram system. My wife and I were there in August ’06 during the Fringe. Out of all the cities we visited on a round the world trip Edinburgh was a top 5 destination and we would love to go back and spend more time.

  7. sigmugi

    Duncan, Biking would be dangerous. Most of the travel is up a busy highway. Getting to work would be pretty easy – traffic before 7am is not too bad, but getting home at a reasonable time is nearly impossible and traffic is horrendous. Good question.

  8. sigmugi

    Matt – good thing MARTA is relatively close. Driving 300 everyday would be a nightmare.

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