sudosteph comments on “Love the Bus, Save Your City”
Seattle is in a similar situation. Ridership is growing still, but mostly due to driving and parking being very expensive and inconvenient. We also have a program where major employers (including Amazon) will provide cards for unlimited transit use, but not re-imburse or provide for the full cost of parking.
Even so, it’s very common for people to get on the bus without paying and make everyone else uncomfortable. I’ve seen harassers, people vaping and shooting up, obviously unstable people yelling and making a scene. That’s not to say anything of the people who just bring an awful odor or take up a whole row with absolute junk. I’ve never seen feces or urine, but definitely seen vomit. There’s no enforcement against this kind of thing most of the time, and riders are too afraid to speak up on their own.
If I’m given the choice between a 30 minute walk and a 10 minute bus ride, I’ll almost always walk if it’s not just pouring rain. Luckily Seattle sidewalks and pedestrian friendliness in general is pretty great.
It’s a drastically different situation from my hometown, Charlotte NC, where the buses don’t get much use and it really is due to service stinking and general perception of the bus being for poor people only. Also cars are fairly cheap and ubiquitous. I would frequently be the only white person on a crowded bus, but even though I sometimes got weird looks, I was never harassed or made to feel in danger like I’ve experienced in Seattle. It was mostly just working class folks or people and some people with DUIs going to work, city services, or community college (which was my reason for taking it, I just hated driving though). An improvement in service and getting some nicer buses probably would have helped, but now that light rail is a thing (just barely though), I do think they are putting all their resources there instead.
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