Since starting my newest assignment a little over a month and a half ago in downtown Portland I have experienced a new joy: our light rail system, lovingly called MAX (Merto Area Transit).
At 7 in the morning I leave my house, still encased in the morning darkness of early fall, I have an easy drive with nice light traffic. The opposite is usually the case once I get on the train. The start of the week is normally fuller than the end, but by the time I get on there is little chance of me getting a seat let alone finding an open wall to lean against while I read. It pleases me from an ecological sense that so many people take advantage of this form of transportation rather than driving to downtown.
My choice to take the MAX every day instead of driving was both ecological as well as economical. I'll be honest, it's more so the latter if one takes the following into consideration. Gas is now at $2.95/gallon and the drive is 10 miles each way, parking downtown can be a little stressful to find first of all and can cost upwards of $10 a day, taking all of that into consideration driving myself downtown could get expensive really quickly and I would like to keep more of my paycheck. At $2.05 per ride (less if a monthly pass is purchased and you ride the MAX more than 37 times in a month), and for me a three mile drive to the station, the exchange is well worth it.