Beam me up to a good mass transit system

July 4, 2013

retro bus
I wrote this months ago, before BART went on strike. BART is a “rapid transit” train that many people in the San Francisco Bay area take to work. But not near enough, because it doesn’t go into Silicon Valley, a major work center for the millions of people who live in the greater Bay area.  Despite the holiday, this week has been a commuting nightmare for most.  So, it turns out, this is a timely post.

Here’s something that makes me crazy.

It’s the 21st century. We are the mighty U.S. of A.  I live in the fabulous state of California, known for its forward thinking and environmental sensitivity. So why the hell don’t we have a good public transportation system? Why is mass transit here a joke?

There has to be an easier way.

Spend any time in any of the parking lots they call “freeways” and that’s the one thought that comes to mind.

Spend any time in Manhattan and appreciate that New York City metro area dwellers have options.

Spend any time in London or France or any number of other countries and wonder, why are we so far behind?

Why did we let our suburbs sprawl so far and wide that trying to connect us in any meaningful way is virtually impossible, and if it WERE possible, it would be hugely expensive?

Of course, the automobile, oil, tire and cement lobbies made sure we have no effective mass transit.  Yes, even though we don’t hear much about it now, the Highway Lobby had a lot to do with this situation.

As a people, we often don’t look deeply enough into what goes on in our world. And those who do are often accused of being “conspiracy theorists.”  No better way to marginalize opposition than to accuse them of being nutjobs.

But, here we are in 2013, one person to a car in major freeway gridlock in the midst of a lengthy, triple-digit heatwave (thanks to climate change, whose scientists were marginalized by the right until it was undeniable and no longer credible to deny).

While I have no interest in dropping my purse or losing my panties on a bus or subway (at least not unless it’s for a very good reason), I’d sure like to at least have the opportunity.

But I think the chances of me being able to beam up are greater.


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