Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Can't take the bus

I hate taking the bus. The diesel fumes always combine with the lurching motions to make me nauseous by the first turn. I do everything I can to avoid taking the bus. I ride my bike nine months out of the year – even when it rains – and I walk 4km to the office through the winter.

But I realize public transit is critical to keeping today’s cities balanced and sustainable. We’ll all choke if we exclusively drive cars to get around.

So when I found out just how many areas of London – and city of over 350,000 people – lack bus service, I was surprised and disappointed. It struck me as highly rinky-dink that we could be so behind the times.

(Click the thumbnail image to the right bring up a high-res version).

Your turn: Do you use mass transit? If so, why? If not, why not?

Commuters falling in bus service gaps

Published Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The London Free Press

For a city that has registered a 43-per-cent increase in transit use since 1997, it’s disheartening that so many of its communities still lack bus service.

Lambeth is only one of at least eight areas whose residents can’t take the bus. It is unconscionable that a city of this size has so many gaps in service.

While various levels of government argue over who’s responsible for transit funding, many London children grow up never having ridden the bus. If they hit adulthood before transit reaches their neighbourhood, it’s easy to conclude they’ll never get into the bus habit.

Although London Transit ran a test service in Lambeth in 1999, it was available only during off-peak hours and was, as a result, useless to residents.

Transit will fail unless everyone gets involved. The LTC must run a real test service that includes morning and afternoon rush hours, and residents must learn to leave their cars at home.

And anyone still living in a busless neighbourhood needs to start knocking on the LTC’s door.



ivoryfrog said...

Hi Carmi,
Here from Michele's today. :-)

I don't tend to use mass transit very much at all mainly I guess because I have 2 small children - one aged 2 and one aged 4 months and it would be almost impossible to get both of them on the bus/train whatever without some serious stress! Our town (Arbroath in Scotland) isn't very big - only about 22,700 people live here so its not a huge place. We tend to walk most places or use our car, its just a lot easier and cheaper (when we walk anyway!)

sophie said...

I live in Atlanta--where the mass transit system is hugely under used....and I am guilty as well. I used it a lot when I didn't have a car, and I use it occasionally now. I wish we had a system momre like Boston or New York. Most places I wasnt to go now require 2 buses and a train--and I'm simply not organized enough for that.

mw said...

I think buses have a far greater societal and environmental cost than an equivalent number of cars. They are always the source of traffic jams, they run frequently empty and they are horrendous polluters and users of fossil fuels.

Mass doesn't necessarily mean good...

Michele sent me.

Star said...

Philadelphia is currently at the mercy of a transit workers strike. Although I don't rely in it I am affected by the increased traffic on the roads.A lot of people would have said they can't live without it, but now they are. Although not conveniently.

jane said...

Hi Carmi,
No, I don't take the bus. I did a few times back in the 70s, probably before you were born. :)
I agree about the fumes, they give me an instant migraine.
By the way, Michele sent me.

Barbara said...

Hi Carmi - I tend to use it when we're on vacation. Here at home, I don't use it very much. I find mass-transit schedules difficult to decipher.

Karen Yang said...

I wish I took mass transit but I'm a very lazy person. I'm always inspired when I see people such as yourself riding around town on bike. Unfortunately, even if gas prices continued to rise I probably wouldn't take the bus unless my car was broken. I would however consider riding my bike for to work for health reasons.

Michael Manning said...

Carmi: Good God what an increase in population over such a condensed period of time. I once lived in a Southwest US city where the clear cut answer was Monorailing. Clean, efficient, safe. But the concrete lobbies muscled their way in and out the door went the proposal. Today that city is gridlocked. Where is the common sense from civil engineers?