Mobility is essential for the kind of lifestyle people have nowadays. From living in one state and working in another to driving across the city to attend school, people regularly travel great lengths as part of everyday routines and to pursue their goals. People have never really been intimidated by distance, but the invention of land vehicles made the journey even easier and more comfortable. Cars, buses, trains, subways, bicycles, and cabs are some of the vehicles people use to travel on land. They are the indispensable gifts that take people to all the places they need to be—some vehicles a bit faster and more pleasurable than some.
Getting to their destination is the most important thing on people’s minds, but getting there cheap, fast, and hassle-free while still looking good are big plusses. They may very well be the deciding factors for people when choosing between commuting and buying their own car. Thus, this paper will compare and contrast the benefits and shortcomings of having a private vehicle or taking the public transportation, and how these may duly influence people’s choice of transportation. Due to the time and space limitations, the bus will be the only public transportation vehicle to be included in the discussion.
The similarities for the car and the bus start and end with the facts that they are both land vehicles, and that one needs to pay to use any of the two. The dissimilarities begin with how much one pays to own a car and to take the bus. Owning a car means spending a lot of money to buy it. A new car nowadays can cost anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 dollars, with some going under 20,000 dollars and over 80,000 dollars (Edmunds, 2008). It is either a one-time, big-time expense or a monthly cost that when put together will be an even greater amount. For either case, however, the spending will not end. After buying a car, one needs to shell out some more money for the car’s maintenance, for fuel to keep it running, for miscellaneous charges such as toll and parking space fees, and for additional automobile features such as extra security, cool paint jobs, and modern car accessories and gadgets. Taking the bus, on the other hand, means being at bus stop to catch the bus and paying the fare. It will cost one a couple of dollars, that’s it. The difference between spending for a car and for taking the bus is astronomical. The down payment on a car is probably the same amount one will pay for a lifetime of riding a bus.
The financial expense, however, is not the only factor that counts when people make the decision to buy or not buy a car. There are other considerations to be taken into account such as the convenience and durability of the vehicle. According to the Vehicle Profiles, a 40,000 dollar car is already top-of-the-class car in terms of reliability if it is still usable after eight to 10 years (cited in Bleeker, 2007). A car with low reliability lasts one to three years while one with strong reliability lasts eight to ten years. At its best and without considering maintenance, a car costs more than 4,000 dollars a year. Commuters do not know how the bus or its maintenance fees cost. They do not know the durability period of a bus. More importantly however is that they do not need nor care to know. All that matters is that a bus will roll up to the bus stop and take them to the next. As long as there are commuters, there will be buses. Buses then are as durable and long lasting as the people. If buses break down or get too old, they will be replaced just like the constantly changing faces of commuters.
Buses are very convenient for people. They can ride it all the time for a very small price, and they would not even have to worry about driving it, being too sleepy or drunk to drive it, or keeping its maintenance up to par. There are hundreds of buses that will take people anywhere and everywhere, short distances or across entire countries. Riding the bus also means cutting down on fuel use and actively participating in lessening the noise and air pollution. Another benefit of commuting is the extra exercise one gets from walking to and from the bus stops or stations and at times running after the bus on a late day.
On the other hand, owning a car means being the lord of the wheeled vehicle. One may get up and go whenever he or she pleases, drive as long he or she wants to. There are no waiting and standing line, running after the bus, and establishing one’s activities based on bus schedules. The possibility of seating next to a stinky stranger is non-existent. Driving one’s own car is especially convenient during emergencies, when one is in a rush or when one has a lot of heavy bags with him or her. There is always the feeling of security when one is in his or her own car. Young car owners are also taught the value of responsibility early on. Beautiful and expensive cars are also major confidence booster for people, especially the men. The biggest benefit of owning a car is having the control of using it whenever one likes or needs to. The hardest part of commuting is not having any control over when the bus might come and go; it is always a mad rush to catch the bus.
The bus is a very convenient and inexpensive way to get around, but depending on it poses problems. Bus company owners will not bend over for every single commuter’s request or needs. Commuters need to put up with the bus schedules and inept or road-raging bus drivers. They do not have power over the maintenance condition of the bus. The weather is not always perfect for commuting adventures. Standing in the rain while waiting for a bus, one could only wish for being in the warm comfort of his or her own car. However, car owners themselves are not safe from vehicle-induced worries. Worrying about the car maintenance – tires, oil, fuel, and transmission fluid – is permanent. While on the road, one also has to constantly worry about driving alongside bad drivers, making sure he or she is not missing out any road signs and looking out for absentminded pedestrians. There is no rest for car owners since they are also always on alert for car thieves and carjackers.
There must be something, though, to owning cars that so many people own their own vehicles despite the steadily rising fuel prices. Cars are good investments after all, and they are useful as well, for nothing beats the reliability and reassurance of not having to wait at the bus stop during an emergency situation. If they can afford it, people prefer and will buy their own vehicles. There is perfectly good sense in taking the bus too. It is economical and a few degrees better for the environment. There is also a small bit of time for relaxed thinking while in a bus because one does not need to do anything. In conclusion, buying a car is a worthy investment and one should buy one if he or she can. One, however, should also consider taking the bus whenever he or she can because it is good for the wallet and the environment.
- Bleeker, J. B. (2007). The best and worst 2008 automobiles by CR’s reliability-verdict History. Auto on Info. Retrieved November 24, 2008 from http://www.autooninfo.net/NAEd200711BestAndWorstOf2008.htm
- Edmunds. (2008). New Sedan Pricing. Retrieved November 24, 2008 from http://www.edmunds.com/sedan/index.html