Monday, June 9, 2008

Transit talk

Well, I have to take slight exception to a piece in Grist today. The website reported that ridership on public trans is up, but that no one is talking about how to make the system better.

Public transit ridership in 2007 was at its highest level in 50 years and, so far, usage is up more than 3 percent from last year.

From the story: "The ceaseless climb of oil prices, the growing financial toll of congestion, and the looming cataclysm of global climate change have not yet shaken the men and women entrusted with the care of our infrastructure to act -- or moved politicians, the press, and the public to demand action. Why can we not bring ourselves to speak of the need for better transit?

This failure to speak, to act, represents a huge missed opportunity. Overall, the transportation sector, including cars, is responsible for roughly a third of the nation's energy use and carbon emissions. Department of Energy statistics show that, per passenger-mile, rail transit is substantially greener and less energy-hungry than an automobile -- and as transit use increases, systems grow ever more efficient."

But I think more people are talking about public transit, for the exact same reason that more people are using it. They are looking for options to higher gas prices. Of course, those people may not be the same ones who are in a position to actually improve the system ... but people are talking. Maybe it just hasn't reached critical mass yet.

So here's a question (with a nod to "Dump the Pump" day on the 19th): What would make local public transportation more attractive?


gatesofmemphis said...

I believe simple routes that followed the grid would be the huge improvement.

Also daily/monthy bus passes.

otoh, the worst thing that they could do now is raise fares and blame it on gas prices.

Tammi Diaz said...

Go to