Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The State of Transit Funding and Infrastructure

The Press-Enterprise ran this feel-good article about 4-H students in Murrieta holding bake sales, picking up recycling, and selling coffee to ultimately raise $5,500 for a bus shelter near their city hall and library.

What it doesn't tell you, of course, is that the buses that serve that stop only run hourly-ish (seriously, check out the 23 schedule, it isn't even consistent) during business hours.

It's a sad commentary on the state of our transit system when students have to hold a bake sale to install bus shelters, especially at locations where there probably should have been a shelter anyway- city hall, the library, senior centres... I don't see anyone holding a bake sale to pay for their local freeway offramp.

2 comments:

Chewie said...

I find it interesting that people tout buses as more flexible than rail because they supposedly lack fixed infrastructure.

The thing is, to do a bus system well, you do need fixed infrastructure: signs & shelters (plus roads of course).

It dovetails with pedestrian planning too. If a sidewalk adjacent to a bus route isn't wide enough for a bench and shelter, well, it isn't wide enough period.

JN said...

There's also a telling assumption here: A bus system "doesn't need fixed infrastructure" because it runs on roads. The assumption is, therefore, that roads are an intrinsic fact of life, whereas rails are some sort of magical luxury.

It is only our current political reality, where agencies besides the transit agency pay for roads, that makes buses cheaper.

Of course, you need signs and shelters for trains as well, so buses are still cheaper to retrofit into our car-driven infrastructure. But I do wish people would pay more attention to bus infrastructure than they do.