Monday, October 27, 2014

The Press Herald: In view of the bus, why would anyone drive???

The weekend edition of the Portland Press Herald has a relatively new section called “Source,” which is all about ‘farm to table,’ organic everything, ‘locavores,’ and anything else deemed sustainable and green in today’s cultural milieu.  Kale, the all purpose wonder-food, has a starring role.  I believe they’re hoping to find it can fuel your car and heat your house, among other things.

Tucked away on the back page of the section yesterday was an article with this heading and by-line (emphasis is ours):

What’s that? The bus to Boston


Near the bottom of the screen on the home page of Concord Coach Lines, right after “Online ticketing available” and a little before “Are you looking for a career change?” comes the question “Why would anyone drive?”

In case the query doesn’t sink in, it’s written there twice – the second time in a rambling and jaunty lavender cursive. Make that thrice. Scroll down again, and the website for the bus line that carries passengers from Orono and points south to Boston notes, “Travel by Motorcoach is the greenest way to travel, according to Getting there Greener, a recent study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, comparing energy consumption, ridership (passenger miles), and CO2 emissions for autos, passenger trains, and motorcoaches. Why would anyone drive?”


Why? Because it’s convenient. Or at least most Americans think it is, even when the evidence (sitting in traffic) tells them otherwise. Boston, incidentally, is ranked 11th out of 101 American cities for “total annual delay” in a 2012 Texas A&M University’s Annual Urban Mobility Report; a high ranking here is probably not an honor cities seek.

Convenience is also what makes us so lucky to have this bus, which runs from Portland once an hour every day of the week and delivers passengers to downtown Boston or to Logan airport. In comfort. On time (well, mostly). While the bus driver deals with the traffic, the snow and the stress, you can read. Or play computer Scrabble. Or watch the movie that the bus screens (admittedly, not usually one I’ve wanted to watch). Or simply zone out, all the while feeling smug that you are such a very responsible green, “greenest” apparently, citizen of the world. And once you reach Boston, a beastly place to drive, an even worse one in which to park, you simply disembark and go on your merry way.

Why would anyone drive?

Indeed.  Or, in so many words, take a train?

Talk about heresy.  We expect Ms. Grodinsky was the recipient of some heated phone calls bright and early this morning, and perhaps a wire brushing in the corner office.


The Princess and Prince of Choo-Choo Kingdom can’t be any too pleased by this endorsement of bus travel.  We expect them to have kale removed from the Downeaster Café menu immediately to show their royal displeasure.

“Out damned kale, out we say!”

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