Public Transportation is notorious for being difficult. Now more than ever the desire and need for a better and more sustainably cost-efficient mode of transport are prevalent in communities across the country.
There is public transportation in Boise, Idaho in the form of a few separate bus lines traversing the valley. There aren’t many other options besides the public transportation without a private vehicle, and most options will cost a varying amount of money, just as a bus fare will cost money.
Bus fares, routes, and other public transportation are huge headaches but are much more cost-efficient than sustaining the cost of a private vehicle, however, there are some options.
The bus system for Boise, Idaho is something of a conundrum. With Covid-19 making any form of public transportation something of a painful experience, and the public transportation has suffered budget cuts, and the inability to do some of what they’d done before. Boise’s bus systems have suffered some of this, however, it is more recent that these new problems are being addressed.
The bus systems will have a few different things to consider when partaking in the use of these methods of public transportation. The route, the fare, and how far between where a resident lives and where their bus stop will be.
There is a public website that shows which routes go where, and how to plan out how to get where. This is a useful tool and makes using the bus much less of a headache. In fact, the Valley Regional Transit system has a helpful tool to help a user calculate their route for themselves, and approximates the time it’ll take to walk from a start location to a bus stop.
Another thing to consider is just how much you’ll be willing to spend on this sort of transportation. If riding the bus is something that will be done consistently, it might be a good idea to invest in a 31-day pass, or even a year pass, but if it’s just to cut down on costs elsewhere, it will be better to do an all-day pass or a single fare. It’s one of the few ways to cut down on just how many cars are on the street and congestion as well as the cost on the wallet.
Valley Regional Transit has a page that lays out how to purchase these passes and whether or not they can be done with cash or card, which is important with the Covid-19 protocols that were put into place.
Uber and Other Ride Sharing Organizations
Another popular transportation system, now classified as public transportation, is Uber or Lyft. These companies are Ride Sharing organizations that have drivers that work for them as a taxi service. While it will be more expensive than a bus ride, it’ll be faster than a bus since buses will make multiple stops all across the city.
For Uber, they have a website just as the Valley Regional Transit does. This website will help with requesting a ride without the Uber app as well as estimating prices according to the distance traveled.
There are a few different things that some people might consider to be cons of Uber, those being it is hard to trust an Uber driver to actually do what they need and in an age of culture and community that is perpetually facing different crimes and are more and more paranoid about the what ifs of life, it would definitely require some faith as well as some safety precautions.
There are other options, such as Lyft, or even a full-on taxi service and each of these will have its own pricing as well as rules as to how they do pickups and where. Do research before committing to either and keep in mind that these Ride Sharing and taxi services aren’t the most sustainable on the wallet even if they are easier on the gas tank or personal car maintenance.
An Alternative – Biking
While biking isn’t a form of public transportation, there are some points where it could be considered public transport, especially if it is a rental bike system. Biking could be the solution to the questions of cost, time, and transportation. Biking has many health benefits and the only real maintenance and costs that would be put into it would be the original price of a good city bike and then some small things for maintenance and making sure the tires stay well pumped and taken care of.
The city is credited with being an extremely walkable, and subsequently easy biking city. It has good-sized sidewalks and crosswalks at every major crossing. These measures will help bikers maintain road safety as well as make it where they are going with ease. There are personal circumstances that might make this less of an option, but there are always to adjust to those needs.
Something that needs to be addressed if going for this alternative is the safety issues. Riding around the city on a bike has two prevalent issues. Car and pedestrian incidents since bikes can ride in the bike lane on the street as well as the possibility of a bike being stolen, as there is something of a bike theft problem specifically in Boise. Stay alert on the streets, always wait for the lights when crossing the crosswalk to prevent any accidents, and be conscious to protect yourself.
As for bike theft, invest in a good lock and key combination and make sure to lock bikes at the proper places. There are some other measures offered by the Valley Regional Transit system to prevent bike theft as well. Some locations that provide some services for a small fee are a small price to pay in contrast to having to replace an entire bike.
Second Alternative – Walking
Another alternative entirely that costs little to nothing is walking. It shows some similar problems that biking does, but doesn’t require another form of transportation to get a person from point A to point B. Make sure that the safety measures for walking alone are followed and they will decrease any concerns surrounding those issues from the get-go.
If someone is physically capable, walking around the city of Boise is completely doable and is a gorgeous experience with all the greenery prevalent in many areas. There are some sketchy places and bringing a can of pepper spray or making sure not to walk after dark is the best form of protection against people who might choose to be malicious.
The only thing that would cost some money in this form of transportation would be some deodorant for when sweating because of the physical exertion and then some good shoes so that the walking doesn’t harm the body. While this is an option for people wanting to get healthier, it isn’t always an option for some, and that is okay. Not being able to walk a certain distance is never something to be sad or feel judged about. Adapting to someone’s needs is important. Especially personally.
The most cost-efficient mode of transportation is always going to be one’s own two feet. There is not much required to power a human being through the steps of getting from one starting point to a destination that would not already be being consumed, and walking has some great health benefits. There are a few concerns associated with this method of transportation, such as weather, safety, distance, and physical ability.
A lot of it will depend on where a person’s destination is and the weather is subject to change on a whim. Everyone knows that weathermen are unreliable because they just don’t know sometimes, and that means being prepared as a pedestrian for a variety of weather throughout the day. There are other things that will keep a pedestrian safe during a walk, but if all else fails and walking just isn’t a feasible means of transport for any number of reasons, there are other options.
The other most cost-efficient manner of transportation would be the bus. In fact, it combines either walking or biking to eliminate time constraints and only requires usually a day pass for infrequent users or a justifiable price for a year pass for the bus system. Most buses will even come with a bike rack on the front of the bus, thereby enabling someone using this service to bike to a bus stop, ride the bus stop from one end of the town to the other, and then bike the rest of the way from there.
This is cheaper than Lyft or Uber but is in a rather public setting which can be a concern for some individuals. But this also provides some added safety for female commuters or younger people who might feel in danger of malicious intent. For those worried about the impact of sickness and the Covid-19 Pandemic, bringing hand sanitizer and wearing a mask in these settings will decrease the likelihood of passing on viruses.