Sunday, May 2, 2010
Growing up in the country, there really weren’t many opportunities for me to take advantage of a public transportation system. With the exception of the school bus, I was able to get wherever I needed to be by car. When I went away to school I began to use the Greyhound bus service to get back and forth from Plattsburgh to Albany. It certainly was a culture shock to be dropped at the bus terminal in downtown Albany in 1977!
During my time in Albany, I started taking a bus to do my grocery shopping. As anyone who has grown up in a rural environment knows, you buy food for at least a two-week period. It didn’t occur to me until it was too late that I would have to carry all those bags onto the bus and then walk from the bus stop to my apartment. I still remember the ache in my arms by the time I got home. I didn’t make that mistake again. I had another opportunity to take advantage of a bus service in Philadelphia a few years ago when Erin and I were visiting. We had a short distance to travel and were told the bus was the best way to get there. Wow. First the bus was late getting to our stop and then it left us off in the middle of nowhere. I think I’ll leave bus travel to others from now on.
In recent years, I have been taking advantage of travel by train. The train is such an easy, comfortable way to travel. It takes a bit longer than driving but the seats are comfortable and the stations are easy to get around, not mention beautiful examples of architecture steeped in history. I remember my parents taking the family on a train from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga so we could experience travel by rail before it became obsolete. Now the state of New York is vying for federal funds to create a high-speed train service. Apparently trains aren’t going anywhere soon.
I recently took a quick trip to New York City. I drove the first leg of the trip to Erin’s apartment which is near New Paltz. Our plan was to take the commuter train into the city. We knew that the parking lot for the commuter train would be very crowded on a weekday so we took advantage of a shuttle bus which took us straight to the train stop. This was great because we didn’t have to worry about parking and walking across a large parking lot in the rain. After about an hour and a half we reached Grand Central Station. Within minutes we were on the streets of NYC ready for our day none the worse for wear.
While I wouldn’t want to make that commute every day, it’s a great way to travel for an occasional visit. Travel by train is a definite improvement over taking the bus and I highly recommend it. Give it a try and good luck with your travels!