Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adios to Public Transportation....

This time of the year, if I were still living in Manhattan, I would probably be shivering in my boots waiting for the bus or dashing to the subway station to avoid the bitter cold. I definitely don't miss the winter, but I do miss public transportation. Ironically, when I lived in the big city, I longed for a car, as it was the quickest and most convenient way to get out of the city. Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Nowadays, besides going out for my morning runs, I rarely go anywhere without my car. This island has been refered to as the "L.A of the Caribbean" with good reason. Every family has at least two cars. As a result, there is always traffic, especially in densely-populated regions such as the San Juan metro-area. In fact, many of our out-of-town visitors are always surprised to see bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hour. As I can best put it, life is nearly impossible here without a car. It's a shame how the government has failed to provide an adequate public transportation system. There are public buses, but the service is (at best) unreliable. The train system, el tren urbano, does not go to the most frequented places, such as Plaza Las Americas (the biggest mall in the Caribbean), the airport, and Old San Juan.

For me, the most frustrating thing about being stuck in traffic is the feeling of being unproductive. I'm wasting my time, and so are thousands of others. We're also adding to global warming. Since moving down here, my carbon footprint certainly has not improved one bit.

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