How to maximize traffic

I am currently seeing someone who lives in Hayward, California. I currently live in Bellingham, Washington. I am planning on visiting them next month after we are both safely vaccinated.

I have family in Munich. My family is originally from Silesia, but after the end of World War II with the redrawing of borders we obviously needed to move, and we chose to move to Munich. I have been to the city and I know it fairly well.

When I am in Munich the total cost for a day pass is 3 Euros for unlimited rides on the S-Bahn. The buses are free.

When I am in Hayward, if I want to travel to San Francisco I need to budget $14 to get to downtown, and at least $5 more if I want to take transit inside of San Francisco. For comparison, the toll for a two axle vehicle to take the San Francisco-Oakland bridge is $6, regardless of the number of passengers.

If it’s just me it costs me $19 to take transit to San Francisco for a day trip. If both of us choose to travel together that cost is now $38. If we are traveling with two other people, who could be two friends or family members, that cost is now $78 for a day trip to San Francisco, inside our metropolitan area. This is 13x more than the cost of the toll bridge from San Francisco to Oakland.

In Munich, the total cost of travel for one person will never be more than 3 Euros per day. If my partner and I want to travel together that cost is now 6 Euros per day, and if we choose to visit family in Munich with two of my cousins, the total cost for unlimited rides on S-Bahn and any bus in the metropolitan area is 12 Euros per day for my family.

Now, if it costs me only $12 per day to go downtown and have a great experience I am almost certainly going to take transit. I can take the train straight to the core of downtown and then take a local bus to anywhere in the city. I don’t have to worry about parking, I do not contribute to traffic, I am not generating more carbon emissions.

But if it is going to cost four people $78 to simply use transit in a metropolitan area, then I am going to consider whether it is worth paying 13 times more than the cost of driving, and the answer is, it probably isn’t.

On top of that, for all day parking lasting from 9 AM to 9 PM it will cost me a grand total of $20 to park my car in San Francisco.

That’s when I reach for my keys along with hundreds of thousands of other people, creating traffic, and most cars on the road are almost certainly going to be powered using internal combustion engines which are the largest contributer to global warming in the United States.

Affordable transit is social justice.

Affordable transit is good urban planning.

Affordable transit is effective environmental policy.

No city should ever charge transit per mile.

Transit must always be cheaper than the cost of driving.

Otherwise you get traffic, you get pollution, and you make it more difficult for people to travel around their city.

You make it harder to get to interviews.

You reduce social mobility.

You increase the costs by paying for fare enforcement, which serve no benefit to society.

Affordable transit is social justice.

Affordable transit is absolutely essential to building a strong town.

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