Back in 2008, I went without a car for ten months, opting to save gas money and walk, bike, or (as a last resort) use transit to get around.
After ten months, I was in the best shape I’d been since college (thanks, biking!) – and agog at the amount of time I’d wasted waiting for late/absent buses, and sitting on buses clanking their stately, sluggish way down backstreets.
Transit – unless one is lucky enough to live, work, socialize, go to a doctor and churches that are all within a quarter-mile of train stops – is slooooooooow, Wanting to get places fast on transit is like trying to shoot the weather along.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; the bus is slow, unreliable and annoying for everyone.
But don’t tell the Strib. They’re on a roll.
What’s In A Headline? The headline in of this Strib story, unlike the hed of this posting, is not intended to be satire:
I saw the headline, and thought “What? Does Metro Transit sandbag black and Latino commuters? Do lines from North Minneapolis and the West Side and Frogtown run slower than white people buses? Doesn’t #BlackTimeMatter?
So I read further (and added emphasis):
Twin Cities transit users of color spend almost 160 additional hours a year commuting when compared to whites who drive to work solo. That’s according to a report out Tuesday from four advocacy groups opposing cuts to public transportation funding.
The report “It’s About Time: The Transit Time Penalty and Its Racial Implications” cited infrequent service, indirect routes, delays, overcrowded vehicles, and insufficient shelter at bus stops as factors that contribute to a transit time penalty that adds time and stress to each commute. For Blacks and Asians who used public transit, that totaled an extra 3.5 weeks a year and for Latinos it was 4 hours a year of additional time required to travel between two points by public transportation, compared with going by car.
That’s the lede.
You have to get to the final graf of the story to also see that “5 percent of whites and Minnesotans of Asian descent commute by public transit, 8 percent of Latinos, 10 percent of Blacks, and 29 percent of American Indians” use transit as their primary means of getting to work.
So why doesn’t the Strib report lead with “A Transit-Centered Life Wastes A Lot Of Time?” or “Cars Are More Time-Efficient?” Do they think a white person who commutes doesn’t waste the same exact amount of time? Because I’m here to testify.
It’s too much to expect the Strib to note that the report was gurgitated by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, TakeAction Minnesota, ISAIAH and the Center for Popular Democracy – four groups that have been working for decades to make sure that poor people are warehoused in the inner city and forced to be even more dependent on the arrogant vagaries of transit than the rest of us – and the report seeks funding to provide cars to black families.
Just kidding. They want more funding to spread more slow, unreliable transit to everyone else.