A new republic of riders

Wrapped within this piece by David A. Banks on the implications of bus-like services from companies such as Uber and Lyft is a history of public transportation in the United States through the lenses of business, class, and race. And at the center is the question of why people have such negative perceptions of riding the bus. "Obtaining a car was necessary to gain access to the spoils of America's postwar wealth. For everyone else there was the bus, whose mainstream introduction as a public utility coincided with cities' fiscal insolvency and thus became inextricably linked with poverty and government mismanagement."

(Related news: Riding the bus can be really nice. We do it all the time.)

[Real Life] [via @sbjohnsrpi]

Comments

Reading articles like that makes you appreciate moderate politicians like Donald Trump....

I'm often surprised by how negatively people perceive riding a bus in Albany to be. The buses come pretty quickly (you can check the exact time on your smartphone, which makes waiting easier), they have solid bike racks on them (very convenient!), they are mostly clean and new (natural gas, not diesel), and they are super-cheap! I like to climb the steps up to the back where I get a nice view of the city passing by. Sometimes I put in my headphones for a soundtrack. Sometimes I eavesdrop on people having the wildest conversations.

I think people here experience riding the bus as a humiliating experience. It's weird, but deep seated. I wonder what smart things can be done to disrupt this feeling.

I commute to work in Schenectady from Troy via the 370 bus. It adds time, but I save money from not using a parking garage, and I can work or read books that I might otherwise not carve out time to read.

Let's be honest, CDTA has improved a lot in the last 5 or so years and there was a lot of improvement. That said, the people who deride the buses mostly haven't used them or haven't used them recently. CDTA is one of the things the capital district is getting right, and we should all recognize that.

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