Transit faces a long road ahead as it strains under booming ridership
Welcome to TransitMatters. The genesis of this blog comes in part from my recent move to the Greater Boston Area, influence from transit blogs like Second Avenue Sagas, and the daily frustrations I see and hear expressed through tweets and on my commute. Like most other transit bloggers, I'm a huge transit and rail buff. I've loved trains for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I consumed Thomas the Tank Engine on television, the Long Island Railroad trains that ran behind our apartment building, and the New York City subway through the daily shuffle with my parents as one would go on shift and the other off. Today, transit is an integral part of my daily life and I've become a staunch advocate for the transit systems of America.
The struggle for better transit has become a big concern for many cities that are being choked by auto traffic with no end in sight. Boston is no stranger to this phenomenon as more people flock from the suburbs and into the cities for relief from the chains of auto culture and more people choose to take mass transit to spare themselves from volatile gas prices. With concerns for the environment, lost productivity from traffic, and personal budgets has come a massive strain on mass transit. Recent surges in ridership are exposing and widening the cracks that formed from neglect as our nation somnambulated its way deep into auto-centric development.
Today, these vulnerabilities prove significant security and safety risks to the increasing number of riders who choose or depend on transit. Worse still is the reality that it costs money and good leadership to address these vulnerabilities, two things that transit agencies are lacking in significant quantities, due in part to momentum within the agencies and the leadership outside these agencies at the municipal, state, and federal levels.
We open this chapter of American history with the epic struggle already in progress. The impoverished have been struggling with transit since its decline and transit agencies have been struggling to get by with what they hgave for decades. With more people joining the struggle daily, it's important to keep in mind the fact that there is something we can each do about it, because transit is on the line.