TRANSIT ENVY!

 

 

(Photo Credit: hxdbzxy via Shutterstock)

Come on, Atlanta. London has done the koolest thing ever.  I know I said I was going to stop writing about MARTA and write more about going places that you can get to WithOut a Car…., but now, I really have Transit Envy!

London has unveiled their new Routemaster bus. The Mayor describes it as “nostalgia” meets “latest technology”.The fuel-efficient bus (gotta love that!)  will be quieter than its diesel-run predecessor and lots and lots of glass so you feel like you are on the tour bus or on vacation – not commuting. Love it! 

And the best thing…wait for it…wait for it……..wait for it….….

it has a platform for  hop-on, hop-off service. How fun! Now we’re talkin’!

And it’s so shiny! And new!

Making people like the bus when not liking the bus is practically an American pastime essentially means maybe having busses like London,  or maybe dedicated lanes like Seattle’s RapidRide. Or, what about Eugene, Ore. that features a grassy median….? Maybe, just maybe…..

Buses get hung up in traffic. Cars are the reason buses are late. Not buses. New York is doing things like “bulbing” its sidewalks into the street at bus stops so buses don’t have to struggle in and out of traffic ’cause the cars won’t let them out. San Francisco is outfitting its fleet with foward-facing cameras to catch cars that block the bus lane. Chicago is even letting its buses drive on the expressway shoulders during rush hour. Not every solution needs a high-tech fix. The other day I got on an Express CCT (Cobb County Transit – yes, I had to go OP) and it is plush like a tour bus – high back seats, high windows. – I was on it an hour (yes, I was really far OP-ing….) and felt like I was on vacation! I felt more relaxed because the interior was so plush, comfy – I got a lot done nestled in!

PS: Eugene OR Photo not by me. Captured from www.alexandriava.gov/goto.aspx?u=http%3A//alexandriava.go..

The other night, Midtown Alliance announced plans for an eco-district, one of five in the country. I am so proud to live, work, and play in Midtown. I hope they ask me about MARTA and better transit ideas for Midtown. Not only do I want bike share system, like Kyle’s invention, I want GPS’s on the bus so I know how long and far away the bus is, if it is not on time. When your phone knows exactly where you are, it should know where your bus is, too. Chicago, Philadelphia and New York let riders track their bus’s location on their smartphones via GPS. And GPS can be used to hold green lights for oncoming buses, like in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Or give us an APP that tells me where the bus in real time is…Like Magic Taxi does.

TRANSIT ENVY!!!!

Our bus stops could use an upgrade. And covers on many. And the schedule posted. Is that so wrong?  I vote QR codes with specials from area restaurants and businesses. All tied to MARTA to create a  revenue stream. More than just a YELP app.  A design studio in Seattle, created a  conceptual bus stop  that includes an interactive map with flashing green lights  that signals – It’s Coming!  Dubai is rolling out air-conditioned bus stops. One in Vancouver, temporarily, included a hammockTemporarily – I get that! 

Again – not me taking the photo. If I had, I would still be there, not here. 

Now, I realize, we are not Europeans – they just do everything kooler; nor are we deep-pockets-rich like Google. ..

Ok, I did take this shot…see me in the back??? way back..left side….oh, just kidding,. Stole this from NY Times…total credit given to the Times for this one. 

Google runs a transit system for its employees that is larger than some municipality systems. Many employers run programs for commuters, including van pools, shuttles to and from transit hubs and subsidies for public transit and alternative modes of transportation, but several transportation experts say Google appears to have built an unparalleled transit network. At Google headquarters, a small team of transportation specialists monitors regional traffic patterns, maps out the residences of new hires and plots new routes — sometimes as many as 10 in a three-month period — to keep up with ever surging demand. That is just one company. Not a region. Or City.

“Public transit is a social contract–not just between the system and its riders, but also between a municipality and its residents. A good system, no matter how modest, is the hallmark of a strong civic sensibility, not to mention a collective sense of place. ”   Yeah, I concur. I want Atlanta and Midtown to catch up. 

We need an upgrade – Maybe we could do an Adopt a Stop – Like we have the Adopt-a-Highway…And I want Starbucks and the Hammock Company to adopt 14th Street!

But,whether more glamour, sizzle or koolness will translate into more riders is yet to be seen. I’ll keep an eye on London for us….But, America on the bus? Atlantans on the bus? Those are questions that make you go “hmmmm….”

One thing is certain: When it comes to improving mass transit, there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit on the humble MARTA bus.

Care to take a bite?

Yup, I am still Going AWOC – Atlanta WithOut a Car! 

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2 Responses to TRANSIT ENVY!

  1. William says:

    Just found this blog. I’ve been a Roswell/Atlanta native since the age of 3, and I’m now 28 years old. I’ve never gotten my driver’s license. I’ve tried. Really. I’ve taken driver’s ed courses. I even tried to get my license this past November (I failed, then chickened out on the reschedule). I may try to get my license someday. But for now, it wouldn’t matter, as I can’t afford a car. So glad to know there are others out there like myself!

  2. Teresa says:

    Well stated, Stephanie!

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