Mass Transit Is Not Pity Charity

It’s the only way cities can work. Last week, Montgomery County officials (Maryland) spent a week using mass transit instead of driving. That’s a good start, but, if they were to use for months, they would probably get a better feel for what using mass transit is actually like. Well, most of them, anyway (boldface mine):

Council member Craig Rice, whose district includes most of upcounty, said although he didn’t participate in this week’s challenge, he has taken Ride On buses occasionally. His district includes a few Ride On routes and the MARC commuter train, but has no Metro stations.

“Every now and then I’ll ride Ride On to hear from other folks who are doing the challenge, because it’s a great way to understand what’s happening with transit and understand what’s happening in their lives,” he said.

Rice said he used to use MARC to get to his job in the District before he was a council member. He said solving the county’s transit woes “starts with education.” Improving education for minorities, he said, would enable them to get the jobs to have enough credit to purchase cars.

“We want it [transit] to be an option for folks, and not have it be forced upon them,” he said.

I feel a tax-advantaged savings account coming on…

Seriously, there are two points that Rice simply doesn’t get. First, there is a geometry issue. As places become more dense, car driving becomes less and less efficient. Second, the goal, for so many reasons including the environment, is to have everyone drive less, not THE POORS.

This is why I’m not optimistic at all the U.S. will do anything substantial to combat global warming, unless it involves some kind ‘zipless fuck’, such as molten-salt reactors. We just aren’t willing to make the changes, including drops in property values, that a Green New Deal would require.

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