Although it has its advantages, public transportation also has a number of problems. Many public transportation vehicles are crowded, for example, which can facilitate the spread of disease. Using public transportation can also be uncomfortable or inconvenient for some. Also, in some areas, governments may find that the costs of operating and maintaining public transportation outweigh the income generated from it.
Many people believe one of the biggest public transportation problems is the lack of privacy. Some believe buses and subways are just simply too crowded. In a personal vehicle, on the other hand, this is not typically a problem. A person can ride or drive to his destination without being bumped or generally agitated by other people.
Germs are another of the more serious public transportation problems. Since people are often within very close proximity to each other, they are more at risk of catching an illness when using public transportation as opposed to a personal vehicle. Cold and flu viruses, for instance, can be spread from one person to another either through direct contact with a contaminated surface or from the air, such as when a person sneezes. Hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer is recommended before and after riding public transportation.
Being cooped up in such a confined area with several other people is also quite uncomfortable for some. This compromised comfort is often considered another of the public transportation problems. Also, if a bus or subway is too cool or warm, heaters or air conditioners can be turned on in a personal vehicle. Using a personal vehicle also comes with the luxury of listening to music or the news on the radio during a commute.
Along with the other public transportation problems, many people do not use public transit because it is inconvenient for them. Many public transportation vehicles run on strict schedules, and these stop times will not always coincide with a person's schedule. Also, if a bus or train is running late, then all of the passengers will also be late. When using a personal vehicle for transportation, the driver is in control of where and when he goes somewhere.
One of the biggest public transportation problems for some local governments is the operating and maintenance costs of these systems. Some of these costs include fuel, drivers' wages, and vehicle maintenance. In areas with small populations, the income generated from passengers may not always be enough to cover these expenses. Government money will then often be needed to cover the difference.