Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Unreported, but Obvious, Connections in the News: $4 Gas and Increased Mass Transit Ridership

I am an avid newspaper reader. Sometimes I am amused by the way the headlines of adjoining stories connect, but this is not pointed out. Like Hillary Clinton saying Barak Obama should move aside for her and be her Vice President, while at the same time voting in Mississippi overwhelmingly favors Obama. Big surprise, in a state where countless black men have been lynched for just looking at Mississippi's white women funny. Or reports that our war in Iraq is costing over a trillion dollars, while other articles chronicle the fall of the dollar and the stock market.
Another such connection caught my eye today, this one a good one. The business section reports gas is likely to go over $4.00 a gallon in the not too distant future. (Like this is a surprise? Everyone else in the world but Iran, Venezuela, and the USA seems to have anticipatetd peak oil.) In the national news section there is a report that mass transit ridership has increased to its highest level in the last 50 years. Decrepid as many of our mass transit systems are (hello, Washington DC! You are a shining exception!), people are turning to them as viable options. Imagine what would happen if we would properly FUND mass transit - advertising it, upgrading it, adding the bells and whistles of GPS, cell phone info about the arrival time of the next bus, and generally making mass transit easy and frequent? In Philadelphia, for example, you can't take light rail to the 'burbs on weekend evenings after 11 PM. Kind of cuts into having an urban social life if you're under 75....

photo from The Daily Bastardette


Peter Schott said...

I'd love to have mass transit available in my area, but I'm in the suburbs and would probably have to drive just about to where I work in order to catch a ride. Once I'm that far, what's the point in taking mass transit?

Now if I could hop on a bus/train and ride on in to work from there, that would be pretty cool and I'd really consider it. I'd love to be able to just ride and let someone else handle the driving. Even better that I work pretty close to a major highway so would likely have easy access to the office once there.

Sadly, I'm paying for a mass transit initiative through my county taxes that will just never hit my area. It's designed for some of the larger cities around DFW to hook up, not for those of us in the boonies.

Anonymous said...

To Peter S.: Are there vanpools in your area? A family member of mine has a one-hour commute each way. He joined a vanpool and now he relaxes and reads books for an hour at both ends of the day. If traffic is bad, no stress. The price of riding in the van is considerably less than paying for his own gas and wear and tear on the car, plus parking when he'd arrive.

Ryan said...

The more expensive gas becomes, the larger the definition of "walking distance" and the more appealing mass transit becomes.

BTW, this is the first day I've read your blog, and I like it a lot!