Why Do All the Buses Leak?

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I recently began riding the bus to work in the morning. I wanted to do my part. I figured I’d save money on gas, help reduce my carbon footprint, nap on the way in…whatever. However an annoying pattern has developed – whenever it rains the buses leak! All of them – and not just a little bit!

You might being saying to yourself right about now…Matt…who cares. There is a point buried here, just hang in there.

If major cities are trying to increase mass transit ridership, and as far as I know they are, then doesn’t it make sense to keep public transit assets in good repair? When I mentioned leaks, I’m not talking about a drippy window here and there or a bit of water coming through the roof. Yesterday, several seats in the back were literally under water! It was bad to the point where all of the riders had to huddle in the front! Some had to stand for the entire trip to downtown! Whenever the bus turned, water sloshed out of the seats and onto the floor! Drivers routinely complain about windshields that leak, roof hatches that leak, heat that doesn’t work…you name it. Of course I live in Buffalo where nothing works, but the situation is the same in other cities – so I hear.

The point is, if we are ever going to convince the American public that mass transit is a viable and even a necessary option for commuting to work, then transportation authorities must work to eliminate any excuses that suburban riders might use to justify not taking the bus or train. Leaky roofs and no heat qualifies!

Amtrak recently announced that ridership is up 25% for financial year 2006. This new wave of enthusiasm can be capitalized on at the local level if decision makers are willing to make the investment in their assets. The long and short of it is simple. Americans must be pried away from their cars if we are going to combat looming oil shortages, and you can’t use a leaky bus as a crow bar.    

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Posted on October 25, 2007, in Politics, Social Policy, Transportation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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