I am drafting this blog post from my iPad, on a bus, which has me thinking about my transmission and public transportation. I like taking the bus. I did not like how I got to the bus this morning, namely a seven mile bike ride, mostly uphill, that was a lot harder than I remember bike-riding being from back when I rode my bike more (I was 15).
I have lamented the terrible public transit in Nashville on more than one occasion. It’s like the city is trying really hard to catch up to Atlanta, which if you have ever driven through Atlanta, you know, feels like driving throw the hollow parts of a row of cinder blocks that stretch on for as far as the mile can see. But on days when my legs are reminding me that I am 38, and I am gathering my chi for the return stretch this afternoon, I get especially irritated with how terrible public transit is.
I have heard someone comment, with no irony whatsoever, that the problem with public transit is that it brings the “wrong kind of people” into an area. Basically, poor people. Probably brown, poor people. I will not say that all people who oppose expanded public transit are racists, but I think most of them come from some kind of place of privilege. That is, people who do not see the need for public transit have probably never needed public transit.
This is not just a liberal soapbox. I once found myself in a conversation with a man who ran Habitat for Humanity in the Nashville/Middle Tennessee area, and he told me that many retail business owners want public transit because it helps keep their costs down. It increases their applicant pool and helps prevent turnover. The “wrong kind of people” some want to keep out are the very same people bagging their groceries at the checkout line.
And while I do not enjoy the seven mile bike ride, I do enjoy not having to think about traffic. It’s more fun for me to sit on this bus and type a blog post instead.