The real value of better transit: more personal time

Here, scientifically validated, is the real reason commuters — whether they travel by car, bus, streetcar or train — lose little sleep about the higher costs of faster, more expensive transit options: they get more personal time.

This was a big issue with the Canada Line, when advocates asked rhetorically how much we’re all prepared to pay to cut travel time by five to seven minutes, one way.

That apparently small shift adds up to hours, then days, then weeks and months of life lost for good, never to be regained. Voters are prepared to see big money spent to cut travel time.

It may come as a shock to business leaders, but commuters do not hate gridlock because they want to get to work earlier. They hate it because they have to leave home earlier. During the black hole of commuting, they can neither earn money nor enjoy life in all its splendor.

Exercise, sleep, spend family time — it all beats commuting or working in the findings of this common sense poll.