This is about public transportation. Someplace else.

I am a big believer in having good, easy-to-use public transportation to help us get out of our cars. The problems and cutbacks we are experiencing here make me very sad.

I was in Boulder, Colorado for a long weekend. Every time I go to the Denver area, I am so impressed by the public transportation. First of all is the Denver airport, which is so easy to get into, out of, and around in, in spite of being huge and very busy. They have the underground tram which connects the four terminal areas. I don't know how they get the luggage from the airplane to the baggage carousel so quickly; my suitcase is often there before I am.

Then it's right on out the door on one of two different levels to connect with shuttles, buses, or the private car picking you up. It's all really efficient. From the Denver airport, I got an RTD (Regional Transit District? Not sure) bus to Boulder. All sorts of RTD buses go through the airport, transporting travelers and employees in all directions.

The route from the airport to Boulder is an express bus up the freeway, which stops at a couple of Park-and-Ride centers at towns along the route, and takes about an hour. Much faster than getting a rental car and driving to Boulder. And the regional buses are comfortable coaches with the compartments underneath for luggage. It's a nice ride. I love taking it. (I actually discovered this when I was participating in Tranform's “car free” month a couple of years ago.)

In contrast, I live 15 minutes by car from the San Jose airport, but the bus trip is 1-1/2 hours and involves two transfers. Not so good with luggage. And I'm 12 minutes by car from the office, but it's about one hour and two transfers. Just doesn't work for me.

Granted, they had one big advantage in building the Denver airport and putting together the RTD; lots of open space. I don't really know the history of it, but the area obviously wasn't as built up as most of the Bay Area, so they were able to do things that would be difficult for us to find the space for. But I find it difficult to use public transportation here because of all the connectivity issues. And the system in the metro Denver area shows how much better public transportation could be.