9.01.2013

Digital, Underground

One of the things I like the most about my life in Philadelphia is not having to drive much.  I'm not a very good driver, I easily succumb to road rage, and I'd rather avoid all of the costs associated with driving.  Plus it's much more relaxing for me to have my nose in a magazine while being transported to Point A to Point B, than to be gripping the wheel while keeping a vigilant watch for wayward drivers/bikers/pedestrians.

Figuring out the optimal route from Point A to Point B is also an exciting (albeit sometimes stressful) game.  It's something I look forward to every time I visit New York or DC.  I love that most places have web and mobile trip planners, adding a digital tool to this decidedly analog activity. 

Even though my paths in Philly are relatively regular, it doesn't mean the simple trip of getting to and from work and home is without its wild cards. This past week, for example, I had to contend with both Penn students moving back in and the city preparing for Made in America.  This made buses, already unpredictable due to the vagaries of traffic, even more difficult to pin down.  In one case, I made it to kid pick-up in the nick of time only by jumping off one bus, hoofing it to a trolley station to tunnel under all the built-up traffic, and jogging from the closest stop.  In other case, I made a colleague of mine wait 10 minutes while I tried in vain to snake my way to the lunch spot he suggested for our meeting, eventually getting close enough to the place to high-tail it from there.

For the rest of the week, I decided to stick with subways and trolleys.  Not that they don't break down.  But they don't get rerouted because of student move-ins or music festivals, and they aren't stopped up by a legion of commuters trying to get a jump on the holiday weekend.  Underground, I'm more likely to get what has actually been schedule, no sooner and no later, and can plan accordingly without sweating out a missed connection or an intended route halted or detoured. 
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