Pros and Cons of Taking the Bus Versus Driving

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The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Shondell of Call Me What You Want Even Cheap. At her site, she blogs about her recent car loan, mortgage pay off, and a whole bunch more. Check out her blog right here!

Given a choice, most people probably would drive rather than take the bus. Driving provides easy mobility and the flexibility to go anywhere the road goes. However, there is no such thing as a free meal, and driving comes with its own set of problems. Taking the bus, on the other hand, limits your mobility to the bus and presents you with other problems such as overcrowding. But, it has its pros too, such as lower cost and reduced stress in a traffic jam.

So, here are the arguments for and against both driving and taking the bus. Let’s start with driving first.

The pros of driving:

  • Ease of mobility: Driving your own car, you can go wherever you want as long as the place is accessible by road. You can drive hundreds of miles without having to get off.
  • Comfort: The comfort provided by the beautiful, cozy and air-conditioned interior of your car is unmatched by any bus seat. There can simply be no comparison. You can even rest and sleep in your car when you are tired. I don`t know if I would sleep on a bus.
  • Convenience: You don’t have to wait for any schedule, you can drive your car anytime you like. You can also stash all your stuff in your car trunk and leave it there until you feel like taking it out. Try doing that on a bus!
  • Personal security: As long as you drive safely, you are safer in your own car than in a bus where you are an easy target for people trying to rob you or harm you.
  • Privacy: The privacy you get in your car is comparable to the privacy you get in your own home. You can talk and sing to yourself without the risk of people staring at you.

The cons of driving:

  • Car insurance: You have to buy insurance for your car every year, and it can make quite a dent in your budget. If you have multiple cars, then car insurance can really take the fun out of driving when the time comes to buy insurance.
  • Repair and maintenance: Your car is a machine, and it can’t run without regular maintenance. The annual cost of servicing, repair, and maintenance can be quite high depending on the type of your car and how you drive.
  • Higher cost: Although gas is not as expensive in the US as in many other countries, your car can consume a lot of fuel if you have to drive long distances regularly.
  • Stress in traffic: Driving can be highly stressful when you are stuck in a traffic jam, which is a fact of life in cities, especially during rush hour. Driving-related stresses can cause heart diseases and psychological problems.

The pros of taking the bus:

  • Free to do other things: Since your hands and feet are not occupied, you are free to read a book, type a text message, watch the passing scenery or close your eyes and sleep.
  • Meet interesting people: Since thousands of people take the bus daily, you will get the opportunity to meet interesting people. If you don’t mind talking to strangers, then you can even strike up a friendship with some of them.
  • Less costly: Since you don’t have to pay for insurance, car repairs and maintenance, taking the bus is a lot less costly than driving your own car.
  • Less stressful: Since you are not in charge, taking the bus is infinitely less stressful in a traffic jam. In fact, you can look out of the window and amuse yourself by watching a sea of cars stuck in traffic

The cons of taking the bus:

  • Lack of privacy: With so many people sharing a confined space, and some of them actually staring at you, you have no privacy on a bus. You cannot talk or hum to yourself without attracting several pairs of curious and disapproving eyes.
  • Reduced personal security: If anyone wants to harm you, then a bus provides an easy setting. I have heard of many situations where people were attacked on a bus.
  • Chances of theft and robbery: A lot of theft and robbery take place on moving buses. If you are not careful, you can easily become a victim.
  • Racial/Sexual harassment: If you are a woman or belong to a minority ethnic group, you may become the victim of sexual or racial harassment on a bus. Starting with verbal abuse, the harassment can often take the form of physical abuse.

Most people who own cars choose to drive whenever they feel like it. It`s convenient, often reliable, and for the most part, safe. I know many people who would never be seen taking the bus. I have done both and can appreciate the good and bad in both.

How about you all? Which do you prefer – taking the bus or driving? Why do you choose one over the other?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy of Metro Transportation Library and Archive

Comments

  1. myfijourney says:

    I'm very pro-driving. I've never lived in a city where buses actually ran on time. Or anything that even approximated on time. Except perhaps if measured on geologic time scales.
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    • Even Cheap says:

      It's tough to rely on a transit system that's not on time. In Toronto many people don't drive because we have a 24 hour transit system that is extremely reliable.

  2. I guess it more so depends on where you live and the transit system. I have a friend now who lives about 11 miles from his job and if he takes the public trans it will take him 2 hours. Thats a long time to travel 11 miles. However in the city everyone is catching the subway, bus, or even the taxi. I didnt mind riding the tri rail here in south florida but its not for everyone.
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  3. It depends on who else is on the bus as to whether it's less stressful or not. And it also depends on what the bus schedule is.
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  4. It's been a while since I have lived close enough to work to have the option. I've never ridden the bus, but I would think that if I was close enough to work for it to be an option, I would opt to ride my bike. Cheaper, quicker, and a good workout.
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  5. It was more an environmental thing for me when I was living in Boston. Well, that and it cost too much to park my car at work. Taking a bus to work is significantly better for the environment than if all those people drove their cars back and forth every day!

    Now I live in a place that has a few buses, but the system isn't that reliable nor convenient. I drive everywhere now, but if I were to live in a more compacted area again, I would certainly forego the car!
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  6. I think it depends on which country you are in as well. I'm currently living in China and it's actually MUCH cheaper to take public transportation. I'm talking like $30/month versus probably $400-$500/month depending on how much you pay for parking etc. For me it's a no brainer which option I chose.

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