Unclog the Streets

The reason that New York transit has such a stellar reputation is that people seem to have decided that everyone should use it, from investment bankers to homeless people. Yes, some people are more comfortable with it and use the system more often than others, but for the most part, few people are aware of the income of their fellow riders. Other metropolitan areas have attempted to emulate this concept in the United States, but few are able to shake off the hold of auto-oriented planning. In fact, New York’s transit use has excelled because it began with the end in mind: everyone needs to move around the city, not just a select few.

Micro transit and ridesharing have been hailed as the new solution to multiple problems, including labor issues, entrepreneurship and transportation. Realistically, neither practice  demonstrates that it embodies any of those ideologies. What both do is add more congestion to roads and continue adding more cars to the road, neither saving time nor money and increasing usage of the already deteriorating infrastructure. The companies who promote the options look for ways around paying benefits and reasonable wages, claiming that all their employees are contractors. Also, said “contractors” are responsible for any of the misbehavior of passengers and damage to their equipment. Just like suburbs cannot embody inclusive urban planning, transit systems with more private vehicles do not classify as thoughtful public transportation.

Paying more to ride places where buses already take people, however, is what the ridesharing and microtransit companies encourage, and doing so clogs already crowded streets with more traffic. In turn, this behavior delays the public transportation which moves people who generally do not enjoy enough disposable income to pay for private transportation. Despite claims that the roads will need to be expanded upon and maintained indefinitely, society needs to adopt a more communal approach to existence for the sake of the environment and to potentially alleviate one facet of marginalization.


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