So I read bits of the LA Times just about everyday, and my spouse reads I swear every page. Most days, stories about public transit go largely unnoticed. However, last week the LA Times ran a story that no less than six people have mentioned to me:
Sweet cracker sandwich. Go read it.
My conversations about this article go something like this.
Speaker: Did you see that article on the Blue Line?
Me: Yes, I did.
Speaker: My God. It’s a zoo. No wonder nobody rides. That’s why I don’t ride public transit.
Me: Well, most of the time it’s not like that. Lots of people do ride the Blue Line. It’s one of the most successful light rail lines in the country.
Speaker: Oh please. That train goes through the worst neighborhoods in LA. It’s a freak show. You don’t ride it enough.
Now, have this conversation six times.
THIS is why you don’t ride public transit? Go read the thing. Absolutely nothing terrible happens to anybody. Is this what scares people off the train:
Watch the agitated man with manicured nails and half his teeth rise from his seat and dance in the aisle. “People think I’m weak because I got me a cane. But I work out! I work out for a living!” He stops, bends at the waist and touches the back of his hand to the floor. “You know a 60-year-old man who can do this?”
“I’ve seen all the greats,” a black man in his 50s says to a stranger sitting across from him, a white man in his 60s. ” Wilt Chamberlain. Lew Alcindor.” The conversation begins with basketball’s greats and careens on an improbable path: Careers, politics and travel. Wives, ex-wives and a Filipino mistress. Health problems, the CIA and Vietnam. Nixon in China and family in prison.
Black people talking!!!!! To white people!!! ZOMIGOD!! PLEASE STOP THE TERROR.
If this is honestly why you don’t ride public transit, then shame on you. If you like your car, just say you like it and stop pretending that if we just fling enough billions at public transit, you’ll ride. City life and life on trains and buses entail some level of disorder, and I’m tired of listening to people act surprised that other people exist, they sometimes make noise and act weird, and some of them pee off the platform. Yeah, yucky. But hardly life threatening the way the freeways are.