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Christof Spieler explains how to complain about public transit (and be justified)

Vox is calling this a 'very opinionated' view of U.S. public transit from Houstonian Christof Spieler, but I think it's more... a practical, systematic, evidence-based, and YES irritable view of what matters in U.S. public transit!

Vox: The best and worst cities in America for public transportation, according to an urban planner, 2018-Dec-7 by Christof Spieler

...complaining is kind of part of our relationship with transportation. I have yet run into a city where people have no complaints about their transit system. And, in fact, sometimes the places where you hear the most complaints are the best systems because the fact that people are complaining about it is a sign that it actually matters to them. [In] places that only have very small, low-frequency bus networks, people don’t tend to complain much about transit since they don’t think about using it.

Some of the most [frequent] complaints about transit are Chicago, Boston, and New York, and it’s partially because those systems actually serve a lot of people.

I would also say, in the United States compared to the rest of the world, we’re not doing very well. If you look at even cities like New York or Boston or Chicago, those are huge international cities, the absolute center of the US economy, and we’re underinvesting in transit pretty dramatically. In New York, we’re talking about a major lift just to keep the subway as it is operating. When you look at cities like London or Paris, they are actually building major new lines on top of their existing network. The most ambitious plans in New York pale in comparison to what its competitors around the world are doing.

So I think when people are complaining about transit, in many cases, they are right. In many cases, the resources aren’t there. And it’s not just money. It’s also things like being willing to say, “This is a really busy bus route down a congested street; we will give it its own lane.” Being okay with saying there will be no parking on this street or there will be one less lane of cars because actually, the buses carry more people than anything on this street. And very few cities are actually willing to make decisions like that. So I think people’s complaining about transit in many ways is accurate.

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