Since I have lived a car-free lifestyle for the past six months, not of my own choice rather out of necessity, I have become very familiar with the alternate transportation system of getting from here to there that Albany has to offer. If you want to live a greener, and I hate this phrase, more carbon neutral life here are some of your options:
1. The CDTA Bus: One of the nice things about living in Albany is its size. It is so small that if you live in central Albany you can get pretty much anywhere on a bike. For those times that a bike just won’t cut it, or you are feeling lazy that day, you will thank your lucky stars for the CDTA bus. The great thing about these buses is that for just a dollar fifty, prices may vary depending on how many buses you take to get where you are going, you can ditch the open road in favor of a more enclosed mode of transport and still use your bike because all of the buses are equipped with bike racks on the front. So after you get the majority of your trip done with the bus you can hop off said bus and onto your bike to ride to your final destination. It’s great when you need to get somewhere that is “too far” on the bike.
For longer trips you basically have two options, bus or train. They differ in a few areas so here is the breakdown:
1. Megabus: The Megabus is my goto if I am scheduling a ride in advance because the prices are dictated by how many people have bought a ticket for that bus. The tickets start at one dollar, yes I said one dollar, and then go up from there. The have a lot of amenities as well. There is free wi-fi as well as outlets for everyone on all the buses, although the wi-fi is spotty as best, and a bathroom. They don’t officially allow bikes on the bus, but I asked a few of the drivers if it would be okay and they said that it was. If you have a folding bike though you will have no problem. Just don’t expect everyone to have the same attitude when it comes to full size bikes.
2. AABus (Double Happiness Bus): The main difference between the AABus and the Megabus, besides the flat fee of twenty dollars, is that you are not always guaranteed to get a seat on the AABus, even if you bought a ticket in advance. The way it works is that people can purchase tickets there and the will oversell the bus if you walk up to them cash in hand. I have had to wait for the next bus on occasion because they oversold the one I was supposed to get on. All I’m saying is either plan for it or catch the bus in China Town when you are leaving from the city because it is the first stop that the bus makes and you can usually get a seat there. Now for the bike part, you can bring full sized bikes on this bus no problem. The site says that you have to call ahead and ask if there is space, but I have never heard of that happening. You do have to get your bike onto the bus before the luggage compartments get too full because they can carry about two full sized bikes in one compartment, and they take up all the space.
3. Amtrak: If you have the money the Amtrak train is a nice way to get around. They are faster, when you are not waiting for a cargo train to pass, the the bus because they don’t have to deal with the traffic going through the Lincoln Tunnel. This is another mode of transportation that it pays to book early because like the Megabus it costs more to wait. Now the bike part, the sad story is that Amtrak does not allow bikes on their trains at this time. I don’t know about folding bikes, but I assume they fall under the same policy.
What’s your favorite mode of transportation? Did I forget anything? Post a comment.