People opt to use public transportation for a variety of reasons. Some take public transportation because it gives them back the time that they were once spending driving. They use the commute time to work or engage in a favourite hobby. Others use public transportation to save on the costs of fuel and car maintenance associated with private transportation. Despite these and other benefits enjoyed by those who use their city's public transportation system, there are a number of disadvantages to public transportation as well.
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Public transportation, whether you are talking about a train system or buses, follow a preset route. The preset route travels from station to station taking on and letting off passengers at set stops. This can be a serious disadvantage for many travellers. The public transportation may not come out into the suburbs far enough to pick them up, or may not stop at the exact address that they are travelling to. Many travellers may need a secondary source of transportation to arrive at their final destination, or will have to walk some distance to their home or office.
Public transportation runs on a set schedule. These times may not mesh with the travel demands of those using public transportation. This can result in a serious loss of time for travels who must arrive at their destination early to avoid being late. It may also mean waiting for the next bus or train after their business is concluded, slowing their return home.
There is no privacy in public transportation. Travellers are crowded in and don't have much personal space. There is nothing to prevent the person sitting next to you from reading documents or the screen of your laptop, listening in on your phone conversations or looking at the contents of your handbag. This also means that you have no protection from what others choose to do in that public space. Travellers may hear language and topics of conversation that make them uncomfortable or may be exposed to the germs of other passengers who are coughing, sneezing or showing symptoms of contagious illnesses.
There is a limited amount of space aboard public transportation systems, which makes them inappropriate for some errands. This is a concern if you are travelling with children who have specialised needs, like strollers, or are going on a major shopping venture which could result in excessive luggage on the return trip. You may not be allowed to take these items onto public transportation with you if they will not fit under your seat or in your lap.
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- Chopsy Baby Magazine; Public Transport Feature: Advantages and Disadvantages to Public Transport; Sept 2010
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- Green Life: Take Public Transportation"; Green Life; 2010
- "Public Transportation in Developing Countires"; Richard Iles; 2005
- "Urban Transit Systems and Technology"; Vukan R. Vuchic; 2007