Car transit wastes $115 Billion per year in USA

I used to like city buses for my in-city transit needs, they cost a quarter back then and I could get up the steps. I feel sorry for commuters. Howard Stern would tell you about Hartford Ct. traffic, but I won’t mention it if I ever meet him. I’ll be like the quiet dude.

Do people even think about what they are parroting?

Wasted labor hours sitting in traffic??? If you could get to work sooner, would you work more hours or would you just leave the house later?

Excellent point. Bad weather can also be attributed to causing wasted labor hours, I suppose. With the recent freezing rain in my area, my 40 minute commute home from work was increased to slightly over an hour. There were also more accidents caused by the slick conditions, although I did not see any “slaughter” type accidents. Just cars stuck in the median from people driving too fast for conditions. No injuries, just minor vehicular damage and a need for a winch recovery.

Yes I agree, most of the things we receive in the media are filtered through the corporate mentality (and the oil companies are one of the most important forces in the country) either consciously or not. That’s why the obvious ongoing disaster of our over-reliance on cars, the deadly and damaging effect it has on us every day, doesn’t get much exposure. Likewise this new info about the gross inefficiency and waste of using cars to commute in large cities received little notice.

“the obvious ongoing disaster of our over-reliance on cars, the deadly and damaging effect it has on us every day”

Gee, I dunno. In 1900, before cars, the average life expectancy was 47.3 years. Now it’s 77.9 years…and rising (source: Center for Disease Control). Sounds like cars have not been killing us. As a matter of fact, I cannot think of one area of life that has not been improved dramatically by cars.

If you’d like to see what a world without cars would be like, let me suggest that you spend a year in a third world country. My guess is that you’ll appreciate cars far more than you currently do.

People do. Parrots don’t.

The truth is that if I had to use public tansportation I’d have to leave earlier. Much earlier. My trip would take even more time. That’d be more time wasted that could be spent productively. I.e., billions more dollars would be wasted nationwide that could go toward a renewed public transit system…ao that even more people could waste even more time waiting for their trains.

My “you must be kidding” meter has pegged with this post. But how do you make a sensible argument against nonsense?

Commuters in Chicago and Washington suffered the most, losing 70 hours a year to traffic delays.

And how much time do you think people will waste while taking mass transit???

TSM are you responding to my post? It appears so from the link arrow and your first line but the remainder…I’m not so sure. Perhaps I was misunderstood or you could clarify.

The original post alludes to lost labor dollars as part of the sum total of wasted dollars commuting. I think that’s a misleading factor.

My trip would take even more time. That’d be more time wasted that could be spent productively.

Many people do not dictate how long they can work. Hourly employess must have overtime approved before they will be compensated for it. So they work a fixed time period regardless of how long it takes to commute to work. Salaried employees put in the time necessary regardless of commute time.

People leave early enough to get to work by starting time, say 8am. If you reduce the transit time, they just leave later to arrive at 8 am.

I don’t think that anyone, whether direct or indirect labor, is going to work more hours if they reduce their travel time. They will just leave later to arrive on time for their jobs. What do you do that could be considered productive labor (counted toward GNP) in the hours before you leave for work and would be wasted if your travel time is longer? Most people simply sleep longer or putter around the house…

The sun will rise in the morning

Mountainbike is correct, as usual.
One part of the greatly increased lifespan since 1900 is the fact that we no longer have to deal with incredible quantities of disease-spreading horse manure and the disease-speading flies that the manure attracts.

In NYC, in 1900, 2.5 million pounds of horse manure were deposited on the streets daily.
Imagine the stench on a summer day.
Imagine the hordes of flies, feeding and breeding on that manure.
The women’s skirts at that time were so long that they dragged on the pavement, thus leading to the inevitable spread of filth into people’s homes.

Even though cars do emit pollutants, we are living much longer than our ancestors did, and one reason is the reduction in communicable disease that resulted from the absence of manure on our streets.

TT, the parrot comment was in response to your post. People think about what they’re parroting, but parrots don’t. My sense is that the OP has some parrot DNA in him.

The rest of my post was in response to the question at large. If the point was allegedly made by the OP that huge investments made in public transit systems would reduce time wasted due to traffic jams, in my case (and I suspect in many others) using public transit would cause me to waste even more time than using my car. Using my car is far more time-efficient. Therefore, the original argument is illogical.

Public transit systems are already in place in high density urban areas where they work effectively. In most of the country they simply would not.

By the way, I agree that if I COULD find a way to get to work in less time I’d simply putter around the house later. I’d watch TV, except the morning shows are all oriented toward women. I’m not interested in how to make a holiday souffle or what the latest footwear fashions are. My footwear is whatever works to clear the snow out of the driveway.

"The sun will rise in the morning"
And $115 Billion Worth Of Its Energy That Misses The Earth Will Be Lost In Space, Every Hour Of The Day.


I think that people can and do take mass transit when it makes sense.

Where I’ve been living (until recently), I could catch an express bus into Pittsburgh that took the busway and got me there in 20 min flat. That’s 15 minutes less than driving; factor in the time to park, etc, and it’s close to 25 minutes saved.

Naturally, I take the bus (when headed downtown).

Therein lies the rub: mass transit works well for a suburban-to-urban workforce that commutes to a city center for a (roughly) 9-5 workday. That system is rapidly being phased out, especially for those most needing of mass transit–lower paid workers that cannot afford a reliable car of their own (i.e. few Wal-Marts are located downtown.)

Also, being separated from my vehicle robs my spontaneity: if I catch a bus from A–>B, I’m almost obligated to return B–>A before I can even think about points C,D,E, etc.

Spontaneity is a big advantage to operating your own car. Many people could not imagine not having that convenience be a part of your life. I used to work the same shift with a guy who lives in the same town as me. I mentioned the possibility of carpooling with him to save money since we live about 35 miles from our workplace. He never got back to me on the carpooling idea, and I don’t even think I would want to do that anyway. It’s nice to be able to go somewhere for lunch if you want to or stop at the store on your way home if you want to. Such freedom is considered by many to be part of the American way.

To compare life expectancy before cars to the same after cars is the the fallacy of “after, therefore because of”. To ignore the many other advancements in civilization and simply cite cars as the factor in higher life expectancy is absurd. Though car commercials would like us to believe lots of similar nonsense.

Likewise your reference to third world countries. Why do you have to make comparisons to impoverished countries or the 19th century to try to make the US look good? That is quite a slam against America and is lacking in our traditional “can-do” spirit.

“the obvious ongoing disaster of our over-reliance on cars, the deadly and damaging effect it has on us every day, doesn’t get much exposure.” - your statement.

You claim that cars are having a “deadly effect”. I claim that the data shows otherwise. You, yourself, are the one who related life expectancy to cars via that claim. I simply pointed out that the data shows otherwise…and provided information on where the data can be found should you like to review it. And your evidence is…where???

The second part of your post is, frankly, so inane that I have no response. You’ve twisted my words so badly that your response has become materially disconected from my statement. But please don’t ever again accuse me of making a “slam against America”. If you’d ever served your country in wartime, as I have, you’d understand how vicious an accusation that can be.

Sorry but I just have to repeat that it’s an obvious fallacy to just note life expectancy is higher now than in 1900 and that it must be due to the invention of the car. By that logic, we could say longer life expectancy must also be due to the TV, since that also was invented after 1900.

And again, comparing 21st century USA to third world countries or the 19th century in order to come with a positive comparison for the USA… Surely we can do better than that, can’t we? How about trying to make the USA not just okay compared to the third world, but the best in the industrialized first world? Because we are falling behind, jack.

115 Billion per hour? I think somebody better look those numbers over again. Yall are arguing about a mute point.

Sure, spontaneity is a plus, though I had plenty of spontaneity with public transit when I lived in Europe, or in New York city for that matter. I could just jump off the public transit and do some shopping or stop for lunch, no problem. I could also be much more spontaneous when not stuck with the car and looking for a parking place and not getting stuck in traffic jams.

About the “American Way”, that’s a construct that has always changed. The valuing of one person’s selfishness to the detriment of greater society was an idea constructed in the unfortunate suburban planning of the 1950’s that left people stranded in suburbs far away from places they could walk to and without any public transit – but they were “free” to pay for gas and drive for miles just to buy foods.

Before the conservative push of the 1950’s, there was more emphasis on mutually beneficial effort and less on selfish endeavors, more valuing of the helpful regular guy and less of the destructive rogue. The “American Way” and definition of freedom of, for example, the worldview of the WW2 correspondent Ernie Pyle would have fit more with continuing to build mutually beneficial mass transit instead of defunding and destroying it for the benefit of the self-centered and destructive automobile.

I lived in San Francisco with my parents and rode the subway when I went to college. I slept, I studied, I did anything on the train that did not require full attention on the road as other did the old brake gas brake gas dance.

Besides that, gas, parking permit, and bridge toll was more than subway tickets.