Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Egonomics

We all try to make our difference in the world. It seems like a more than human task to "save the world." But all it really takes is small steps.

My step: my first ride on the Maui Bus.

There is a stigma that exists with public transport. People's acceptance of public transportation is based on status, or better yet, perceived status, and that making use of it is somehow injurous to their person. They may support its existence, but never actually ride it. The notion is that you appear to be poor and don't have the resources to pay for a car (or gas, insurance, repair bills, cleaning, GPS, moon-roofs, cupholders...). It often seems that the more convenient something is, the less some people are willing to use it, the decision purely based on how they feel about it. It also seems that the more inconvenient something is, the same group is proportionately just as likely to adopt it. Really, how much of a convenience is it to have a car? Ok, on Maui, it is almost necessary. Almost. But in many places, it is straight ludicrous to own a car, for reasons such as taxes, parking, traffic, theft, and other needless headaches. The only reason to own a car would be to flaunt the affluence to those who, honestly, don't really care (and if they do, then they aren't worthy anyway). Although I am also to blame, it seems odd that pride has much to do with our preferences and lifestyle decisions. Why do people fly in terribly uneconomical, inefficient private jets? Because they can! And they want people to see them in it. Why else? Of course they wouldn't be caught actually sitting next to any of those people, else they'd take the coach, row 56, aisle seat to L.A. on Southwest. It's not economics, it's egonomics.

But I digress, back to Maui. With the introduction of the Maui Bus, there is now an option to car indebtedness, and egos can be put to the test. Granted, the Maui bus schedule is lacking in frequency as well as stop numbers, but Maui's ridership is small at the moment. As it catches on, routes and schedules will improve, and that's economics. Egonomics is people riding alone in their car, watching their neighbor in the rearview, going to the same place.

Riding the bus can provide much benefits. Apart from the obvious like less pollution, you can read, nap, listen to music, chat with a friend/other member of society, and text others on your cell-- all while not having to worry a bit about traffic, weather, other wonderfully considerate drivers, and adjusting the a/c or radio. It is much more relaxing to read a book in traffic rather than be in the driver seat stressing about stop and go traffic. Best of all, if you get into an accident, it's not your fault! Isn't that enough to get you onto the bus?

So I will take a trip on the Maui Bus and take my small step out of my ego--if only for a day.

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