So, I have been stuck at home for a couple of days without the car (we only have the one and Andrew needed it this week). This got me thinking about public transport and how different it is here to what I have seen in other parts of the country and to what I am used to in Australia.
The Texoma area is seriously lacking in any form of public transport! There are no Taxi’s in Sherman; nor is there a regular public bus service (aside from the school buses) and no passenger trains at all. This is very different to say, New York, where those iconic yellow taxis outnumber regular cars and where just about everyone rides the subway. But, let’s not forget that this is not a big city and it is not that close to one either. Dallas (an hour away) does have buses and a light rail service, but it services essentially the main metroplex area.
I was used to a bus service where the closest stop was perhaps 200m from home and ran to a regular timetable, with designated stops and destinations (and a train station located a stones throw away). I was also fortunate enough to live within walking distance to just about everything I needed. Not so here. When we first arrived I thought I would be able to catch a bus if I ever had a need to, but the local bus service operates more like a shuttle service. You need to book a ride 24hrs beforehand, so you need to be organised and plan ahead (this is probably great for the elderly who need to get to doctors appointments, etc.). However, this still strikes me as a little odd, I thought a regular route with specified destinations and designated pickup spots and times would work well, but it seems not.
You might think the alternative would be to walk or ride a bike – but this really would be taking your life into your own hands! The road we live on is a 2 lane 55mph (~90kph) speed limit road with no curb and guttering and in places, no shoulder, just a guard rail. So, I am not keen on taking on the traffic that at times seems to fly by.
It is very rarely that you see someone riding a bike or walking along roadways here. In fact, most people rely on their cars and drive here – even the shortest of distances; where I would normally walk, you would hop in the car and drive. So perhaps the demand is just not there for a regular bus service or a taxi service.
It is interesting how towns and cities develop and I guess that includes their transport needs and systems as well.