When I first moved here, that was definitely the attitude. No one rode the bus unless they had to. It’s changing, which is good, because no one in here is saying mass transit is only for poor people. It’s for everyone. If there were a decent bus line from my neighborhood to my office I’d use it. There isn’t, so I drive all the time.
I’m a regular on Car Talk, so obviously I like cars and driving, but sitting in rush hour traffic jams isn’t enjoyable. I’d much rather be on the bus reading.
But I do think it’s telling that the 40% bus route reduction here seems to be targeted primarily on impoverished suburbs like Brooklyn Center. Rich suburbs like Maple Grove and Plymouth won’t see any service reduction because they run their own bus routes (paid for at least in part from the same fund that pays for standard Metro Transit buses). So, at least right now, our current legislature seems to be taking the position that you only get to ride the bus if you’re rich.
This all boils down to the most sweeping attempt since the 1920’s to separate the rich from the rest of us. The poorer they can make everyone else, the more buying power they have. That’s the goal. Transportation is only, albeit a very significant, part of it.
No, mass transit is not reserved only for poor people, but poor people derive a large benefit from it. The money they would have spent doing a timing belt job on their 20 year old Honda is instead spent buying food and clothes, which reduces the strain on government assistance programs and charities. Kill mass transit and you’ll see a ripple effect that will hurt everyone except the very wealthy.