Eleven Points To Nowhere, part 7

 We've come to point # 7 in the eleven points debate, and here it is...

Fully fund public transit, especially rail. Focus on intra-city transit (e.g. SF MUNI) over commuter rail (e.g. BART or Caltrain) but promote both when possible. Develop high speed rail for long distance travel. Use a hub and spoke model for bus lines, incorporating computers, GPS, and mobile phones into their scheduling so that buses are always full.

Result: commuters do not need to drive to get to work.

 When I was a child growing up in Cleveland, my parents could only afford one car. My dad would drive my mom to the train station so she could ride the "rapid" to work, what the RTA called it's commuter trains at that time. It was a neat experience for us kids the few times we went along with mom to ride the "rapid", but it stopped once we became a two car family.

 Why did we stop using RTA? It was not cheaper using a car instead of the "rapid", and my parents were not ones to just throw money away. It all came down to meeting needs, and the car won. Ever try to go grocery shopping using public transportation? Forget about saving money with buying in bulk, you're gonna get only what you can comfortably carry, which means another trip to get more items sooner than later.

 Public transportation is one of those ideas that works great for a few people, is the only choice for a few people, and is disliked by the majority of people. There's a town near me that runs a trolley, a bus made to look like an old fashioned rail trolley. It's always near empty, even though there are plenty of convenient stops on it's route and it covers the town very well. People would rather use their cars, even when gas was over $3.00/gallon. Everyone in town pays for this service, but no one really uses it.

 At school we have about 1900 students. The majority live on campus, but about 10% are commuting to school. Of those approximately 190 students, how many do you think use public transportation? There's only one. I wave to him every day on my way home as he sits at the bus stop on campus. Now admittedly it's Nashville Auto Diesel College, which means the students probably own their own vehicle, but the point remains that given a choice, most people would rather use personal rather than public transportation.

 People vote with their feet all the time, and it's pushing their gas pedal, not walking onto a bus or train. Pushing more funding towards public transport doesn't make it any more appealing, it just makes it more expensive for the taxpayer. It gives people another choice, it's just not a choice many make.


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