As a recent transplant to the Bay Area, I didn’t get it when I heard local residents perpetually complaining about the public transportation here. MUNI seemed to go everywhere, which was a far cry from the typical “hike half a mile in the rain to the nearest bus stop” Seattle was so fond of. But 10 months later, I get it.
MUNI is inefficient, unreliable, and the number of buses I’ve been on that have suddenly gone “out of commission” because the bus driver hit another car or broke some other rule of the road is embarrassingly high (no, seriously, in 10 months this has happened to me more than twice). Who cares if there’s a stop on every other corner if the bus never shows up when it’s supposed to, or if the train pulls into your destination 20 minutes after it was scheduled to arrive?
Which brings me to today’s Lunchtime Poll: if you had to design a public transportation system in an ideal world, what would its features be? I have a few ideas: running on sustainable energy, guaranteed to be on time (in part by building rail systems/pathways for these modes of transportation that do not depend on regular commuter traffic to move along at a reasonable pace), sound proofing, wide & comfortable seats, wider aisles (if you expect two rows of people to stand in them, there should be room for two rows of people to stand in them!), and larger-sized/additional cars added to trains for peak commuting times. I would also like PA systems on public transportation to stay in good repair, so that when the train or bus is packed and you can’t see out of the window, you can still hear the name of the approaching stop.
I also wouldn’t mind if drivers were trained not to throw the breaks on at every stop (emergency stops, sure. Every bus stop? No) when half the bus is standing and some don’t have a hand-hold.
What about you? What would your ideal public transportation look like?