Sometimes the truth hurts. Or it is at least inconvenient. I was checking to see if I could get from midtown to a location in Oak Park just off Broadway on the bus. Piece of cake, said Google Transit.
But you will be throwing money away.
I am not going to suggest that Google Transit modify its programming for the convenience of fanatical transit advocates who want to ignore, or at least downplay, any trivial, inconsequential details that might detract from the glorious truth of transit's enduring value.
I am not going to suggest that when the program multiplies the distance times the IRS-allowed auto mileage expense, that it then check that sum against the fare. Shame on me for even imagining that when the fare is more than the cost of driving, that the program cough and knock that piece of superfluous parenthetical data on the floor, never to be missed.
No, it would be wrong to suggest that.
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And in another example of wishful thinking, I checked the same destination and arrival time with Sacramento Regional Transit's online wizard at infoweb.sacrt.com and discovered that RT offered a shorter, more convenient route to my destination.
Where Google Transit suggested I walk four minutes and then take two buses for a 22-minute trip, infoweb suggested I just catch light rail to 29th Street and hop on the No. 68 or 67, which both eventually go down the portion of Broadway near my destination. Total travel time: 10 or 12 minutes, depending on when I left.
When I checked the details of RT's suggestion I think I figured out why Google didn't offer that choice. The train is scheduled to get to 29th Street just three minutes before the bus is scheduled to leave.
The chance of that happening? Not something I would want to bet my plans on.
This does raise an interesting idea. While I will agree that trains can't be expected to wait for buses to make connections, what's to prevent buses from waiting for trains?
Why not have the bus departure at bus transit centers set to the arrival of a specific train (plus a couple of minutes for people to walk to it)? Sure, that would delay the bus departure several minutes on occasion, but not always.
Promising that the bus will meet the train would be a nice piece of customer service that wouldn't cost a penny to implement.
Don't mind me. Just wishful thinking out loud.