The Collected Works of Dominic Gwinn

What’s Wrong with Public Transit?

Posted in Advice, Washington D.C. by Dominic Gwinn on December 5, 2008

This idiotic hubris that we as Americans have, the notion that we are some how better then everyone and everything that has or ever will exist has go to stop. If we Americans have any trait in them that separates us from every other human being,  it’s the ability to take credit where no credit is due, then feign ignorance when our faults are spelled out in front of our up-turned noses. Our economic collapse is proof positive that we have seriously screwed up somewhere, it’s proven by the falling stock market, and it’s proven by our need to debate whether or not to bail out one of our biggest manufacturing industries that didn’t listen to a change in consumer demand.

Don’t let anyone fool you, this is another bail out, not a loan. A loan would give us a return on our investment, and most of these companies are lax to do anything really substantial. Detroit really screwed the pooch this time: they gambled on S.U.V.’s and mass-marketing strategies in an age of rising fuel prices, urban sprawl, and cultural enlightenment. This mess that they’re in is their own damn fault and for them to ask anyone for a handout is more than laughably absurd, it’s down right insulting! We asked them for more smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles and instead, we got Hybrid Escalades on 22’s. Honestly, what the fuck is wrong with you? A pig is a pig, regardless of how man feathers you can tape to it, don’t try and call it a damn eagle when it’s still rolling in it’s own filth and oinking.

Now it’s one thing to sit and bash these people for their stupidity and it’s another thing to do something about it. Now that Detroit has admitted it’s so completely screwed, let’s do something productive with this once in a lifetime opportunity. Sure, we can tell them to make hybrid vehicles that are smaller and more practical, but building personal vehicles alone will not solve this problem.  These are massive manufacturers, Americans need jobs, so let’s start building mass-transit systems.

Let’s face it, not everyone can afford a car, especially when most are barely able to afford a roof over their head. Blindly throwing money at this problem with the auto industry is only going to make things much, much worse. We’ve got these crooks right where we want them for once, and we can’t just hand them another blank check, a bulleted, action-item list and then tell them to, “Get out there and be somebody!” Instead, we should be demanding that they make something worth buying (or at least using), so not why force them to retool, and mandate that cities put in new public transit systems? Instead of building S.U.V.’s, Detroit could build buses and subway cars for the cities and towns that should have already expanded to a mass transit systems.

New transit systems don’t have to be the horrifying urban sprawls indicators that some would lead you to believe. We could free up highways and roadways, reduce polution, and create jobs by making mass transit systems a viable option for more people. If cities suddenly demand new public transit systems, someone will have to build the vehicle first, after that someone will have to opperate it. How many jobs could we create in one small town if there were just a few hybrid-bus’s running along several major roadways?

DC Metro is expanding it’s services to accommodate the rise in ridership with more trains, and a new line to Dulles, but the system map is still inefficient and it can take two hours to go from Shady Grove to New Carrolton.  In two hours, you can drive there and back, with time to spare. We shouldn’t have to go through DC just to cut across two counties, instead, we should build another line that connects the ends of the stations, like a circle.

The effect of getting people from “A” to “B” is exponential. Sure, having a nice car might get you some sex appeal, but if you can’t afford to put fuel in it, how do you plan to register the car or repair the car when it breaks down?

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