You may have seen the strikingly simple ads for Metro around LA: Problem/Solution; Villain/Hero; Stress/Relief; Bitter/Sweet (watch them pop up on the Metro homepage). I wrote about Metro’s new design-centric operations for Fast Company and reported on it for DnA almost two years ago (wow!). Since then it’s been crazy to see how smart and good-looking—dare I say fun?—that Metro has become (just look at their new merch offering, above). These ads felt especially on-point: They seemed to go up right as gas was edging towards $5/gallon—or maybe that’s just when I noticed them—and ridership soared as people, finally, climbed out of their cars.
Well, here we are a few months later, and gas is $1.95 down the street from me.
Metro claims that ridership is still up compared to last year at this time. But as much as my heart leapt when I visibly saw an increase of people waiting at the bus stops in the morning, I was sad to hear so many people say it was only because they’d had a minor stroke the last time they visited the pumps.
And why would they, when gas is $1.95 a gallon and you have to pay extra for a Prius?
There are a lot of good reasons to ditch your car and take public transportation every once in awhile. I suppose doing it to save money on gas is one reason, but it’s not a very good one.
Instead, imagine not having a car (or putting yours into a very deep sleep) and saving money on everything. No oil changes. No insurance. No accidents—whether they’re your fault or not—guaranteed. No repairs for the accidents you never got in. No car payments. No late fee for forgetting to pay your car payment. How about never having to pay $12 plus tip for valet? Or $20 plus $2 for each additional hour to park in a garage? Or never having to figure out if the period of no parking at any time between 6pm to 8am includes the 20 minutes you’re planning to dash into the dry cleaners? (You just saved yourself a $45 ticket.)
You’d walk around all day with a smile on your face, right?
That’s what it’s like to ride the bus.