Thanks to the effects of the ongoing climate crisis and over-crowded highways, using public transportation has been pushed as a way to reduce negative impact on the environment.
Even though getting out of our cars and into buses and trains is better for society, there is still an issue: public transportation is one of the least reliable and least efficient ways to get around.
This is why, in order to increase the usage of public transportation, we must invest in it. Public transportation must be as convenient as driving a car.
First, we must come to terms with the fact that, in a lot of ways, private transportation methods are much more convenient than public transportation. Historically, the United States has not built infrastructure to make public transport a reliable means of everyday travel.
On top of this, city transit services usually struggle to acquire funding. This is because highway groups in California lobby for more investment for highway upgrades, rather than upgrades for transit services. Oftentimes, Republican officials who make decisions on transit see public transportation as an investment in a welfare service that they don’t want to put money towards.
As a result, public transportation is forced to cut corners by hiring fewer drivers or cutting hours. According to the Voice of OC, the Orange County Transportation Authority recently cut some transport services because of declining ridership.
Private transportation, such as cars or bikes, run on the specific schedule of the owner. With departures being few and far between at bus stops, it makes it harder to get to work or school on time.
On top of this, buses may stop running during late hours.
For example, Long Beach Transit buses that run through CSULB stop running after midnight and begin running again at 5 a.m. This means that anyone trying to utilize public transportation between these hours is not able to do so.
Public transportation is also inconvenient during less-than-ideal weather conditions, leaving people stuck outside in adverse weather. Not all bus stops have coverings to help with this.
Buses are very limited in where they can travel. Even with connecting bus routes, there are not enough lines and stops to get to every part of the city. As a result, you may have to walk, bike or Uber to get your exact destination.
In order to get people to use the buses to reach the train, cities must invest in hiring more drivers, adding more lines and subsidizing bus pass costs for people who can’t afford the rising prices.
It may take lobbying or protests from concerned citizens to make sure changes like these come to fruition, but when traffic becomes unbearable and the air harder to breathe, we will wish we had spent more time making public transportation better for all.