Why I Ride: It’s Not Just Love – It’s Money

I've been car-free now for seven years now, but the reasons why have changed over those seven years. In 2010, I moved to Philadelphia to start attending Drexel, arguably one of Philly's unofficial transit hubs. However, it wasn't until 2014, after I returned from six months in Melbourne, that I fell in love with public transport and didn't just take it for granted. Now, in 2017, it's also because taking public transport is what I can afford. Mostly.

Believe it or not, here in Portland, it is actually cheaper to take the Streetcar, rather than the bus. Sure, it may only be a 50 cent difference, but those 50 cents do add up. A monthly pass for Streetcar is $40, whereas a monthly pass for the bus is $100. In fact, 32% of Streetcar riders make less than $30,000 a year.

If it weren't for the fact I work at least 60 hours a week, I would be close to being one of them.

The Streetcar is not "the bus for the rich people". I actually make less than a bus operator in training makes. More than 6,000 income-restricted apartments are within a 1/4 mile walk to the Streetcar, and unless you look very closely, you probably wouldn't be able to tell which units they are. I live right next to one. Most of the units the Streetcar passes in the Pearl are income-restricted. One of them is even a stop sponsor. When I moved to my current apartment, I was very surprised it was going to cost me less to live at the end of the Streetcar line.

Now that I own a bike, I don't take Streetcar every day, but it remains my primary mode of transportation. While I do have regular access to Car2Go and ReachNow, I can't afford to use them on a regular basis. And even if I could, the Streetcar is still efficient enough that I would take it over a car. Even if I won the lottery, I'd still take Streetcar.

%d bloggers like this: