Public Transportation in America – How You Can Improve It

Hi, it’s Alex! Today I want to talk about something that
makes me say “Heck yeah!” Heck yeah!!! So, basically I want to talk about public
transportation. I love public transportation. It’s something that I think has huge benefits
for society and is something that is really fun and enjoyable
and practical. But, unfortunately, right now, in the United
States of America, in most cities, public transit is not what
it could be. I became acutely aware of this on my recent
trip to Germany, where I went to Berlin, and then I went to
smaller cities, like Dresden, and then Görlitz, and Regensburg, and all of these cities had exceptionally
good transit agencies relative to their size. I didn’t have a car in Germany, I didn’t rent
a car, I think I took a total of one very brief trip
in a car the entire time. Most of the time we were just walking around and taking regional trains, local trains,
and it was awesome. So, first I want to talk about why I like
public transit. I think transit has a lot of advantages. One of them is that it reduces traffic. I don’t know about you, but I’ve dealt with a lot of traffic congestion over the course of my life. I’ve spent a lot of time living on the east
coast corridor, which is pretty much congested the whole way from Boston down to D.C. and a little bit
further. And, traffic just, it wastes resources. Like there are a lot of hours that people
spend sitting in traffic either in long-distance trips, or in their
daily commutes. And it can be stressful to sit in traffic
jams. And even when there’s not like a completely
stopped traffic jam, traffic gums up the roads, and it makes it
more stressful to drive, it slows you down. Public transportation is awesome because it
gets cars off the road, and it’s particularly efficient when you’re
moving a lot of people. For example, like during rush hour, when you
have trains, they can take tons and tons of people, and the marginal cost of carrying an additional
person is very small. So, with taking cars off the road, there are a lot of benefits that come with
that. One of them is decreased pollution, so public transit can protect the environment. Decreased noise, because those cars are sort of going around
and making noise. And there’s also a safety issue. Trains in particular are very safe, and even buses, like if you’re riding on a
bus, your chance of a serious injury is a lot lower than if you’re in a car. And, I don’t know about you, but I know a number of people who have been
killed in car accidents, and I know lots more people who have been
seriously injured. So, it’s something that concerns me, and I think that anything that we can do to reduce car usage and car travel is going to help protect human life. So it protects the environment and human life. There are other benefits to transit, though. One thing I love about it is it’s just relaxing
to ride. Like when I’m on a train, I can look out the
window, or even on a bus, I can look out the window. I can see more of the environment, because I’m not paying attention to driving. And I can do things, like I can text people
safely, which is not safe to do, don’t ever do it
in a car. I can read a book. If it’s a smooth ride on a train, I can even get a laptop out and get work done. There are so many ways to use that time, whereas if it’s in a car, it’s pretty much
dead time. Another benefit of public transit is that there can be like a kind of community that
forms on it. When I’ve ridden the same bus or train every
day, I get to know some of the people, and I’ve actually formed some valuable relationships
that way, like when I was in Cleveland, I ran a computer consulting business, and I met people on the bus that I ended up having business relationships
with. So it had like a tangible financial value
to me. I’m not going to be networking to get business
contacts when I’m driving in my car. It’s just not
possible. So, there are all these benefits to transit. So I want to conclude by talking about what
you can do to get better public transit to happen in
the U.S. The first thing you can do is to ride it. Whenever you ride whatever transit there is, you’re giving a little bit of money to the
transit agency, and you’re increasing their ridership. Both of those things help. Now, you may not live in a place with great
transit, but I would push you to look up the transit
agencies near where you live and see if there’s anything that maybe you
could ride once in a while, or occasionally. I like to sometimes ride bus routes or train
routes even if it’s a little bit out of my way, because I like walking and getting the extra
exercise, and I like taking my mind off the road. So you may find that even if it’s slower and
more expensive, it actually benefits you in other ways. The second thing you can do is to contact
politicians. So, write to your politicians and say: “Hey, I really like public transit,” “and I want better funded public transportation.” You can write to state, local, like county-level,
and federal-level people, because I think this is an issue that is affecting
all levels of government, and I think there’s some degree of funding
source at all levels of government in the U.S. And, the last thing you can do is to talk
about it, to say: “Hey, public transit is something that I like,” “and that I want to see better,” “and I want to make it an issue here in America,” “that people want to improve it.” That’s what I’m doing with this video. So, if you like this, and you want to see
this happen, I would encourage you to share this video, and if you have any caveats, anything that you disagree with, or think
that you could improve, anything to add, please comment. And, if you like the topics that I talk about, I would also encourage you to subscribe. Thank you!