This may come as a great shock to some, but the New York Times has found that when you take cars off the road in crowded cities and replace them with fuel efficient buses, you reduce CO2 emissions! Sound crazy? What’s really crazy is that some editor thought that a headline that references poor cities specifically would be a good idea, and that the article itself is news.
The cities of Bogota, Jakarta, Mexico City, and others are of course to be commended, but the idea that buses are something that only poor people would use is a preposterous notion that perhaps automakers would like to perpetuate. Each day, tens of thousands of normal (not so poor) people living in Switzerland hop on buses, trams, and trains to get to where they need to go. I do this myself sometimes.
The article discusses the cost of putting in rail, and here we see a potential avenue for places like the Bay Area. Anyone who knows the Bay Area knows that it is full of rolling hills, has occasional earthquakes, and lots of traffic. Land is expensive, and so a functioning bus system is an ideal addition. But in the Bay Area, those who do use public transportation outside of San Francisco do tend to be poor. That wouldn’t be the case if buses had privileged lanes and the services were both more frequent and comprehensive. Imagine taking a bus from Pleasanton to, say, Sunnyvale? Maybe you would need to change once somewhere. So long as the change is properly timed, what do you care? Who wouldn’t want such a door-to-door service?