Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Holiday Give the Gift of Transit

Source: Global Montreal

Well, we're back into that time of year when retail workers are subjected to the human rights abuse of torture via nonstop holiday music. However, when life gives you hyper-consumerist lemons, it's time to make thoughtful-consumerist lemonade.

What I'm trying to say is that we have an opportunity this holiday to give gifts, and the gifts we give, in addition to showing affection for loved ones, can also be vehicles (pun intended) for positive social change.

When it comes to "giving" transit there are two senses. In the more literal sense you could buy somebody a weekly or monthly transit pass, allowing that person to experiment cost-free, perhaps starting a lifelong love (or hate) of the mode. In the more abstract sense you could give transit just by paying your fare and riding it. You're not just giving it to yourself. You're also giving it to society, particularly to certain segments of society (like the disabled and low-income workers) that really need it. You're also giving society cleaner air, less traffic and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Now that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)


  1. "Giving the gift of transit" may be a good idea in some cases, but there are people who might be insulted. Being a senior citizen myself, I can see where a person in my age bracket might think, "What's this? You think I'm getting too old to drive?" Even younger people whose driving skills are marginal might take it as a not-so-subtle message that a car with them at the wheel is a poorly-guided missile. For most people cost is not a major factor in choosing whether to drive or take a bus or train; convenience is the key to many decisions in this field. There's another transit-related website that published a survey showing that fewer than 5% of LA Metro employees use transit, and I'm reasonably sure they get free passes.

  2. @ Bob,

    Fair enough. Tact is important too.

  3. @ keep mind that that survey included employees who work at rail/maintenance yards who start their shifts between 4 - 6 am or end after 10 pm at night, when transit may not be an effective mode at that time. And considering most of those workers cannot afford in the dense urban areas that have become affluent with better than average transit service between 5 am - 1 am. I'm sure that the many Metro employees who work at One Gateway, a significant portion use Metro or Metrolink to get to work.

  4. Housewarming gift for my brother-in-law and his girlfriend- RTA monthly passes.