Our city now has Light Rapid Transit. But wait! It’s not really “light” is it? It looks like we just gave a bunch of buses paint jobs. Okay, so we’ve got Rapid Transit. But wait! Apparently, the new routes and buses only shave a minute or two off of the old times. It would take longer to walk from a regular bus stop to a rapid bus stop, wouldn’t it? So our city has, um, Transit! Like we did before, but now it’s better. We know it’s better because all the fast routes have a 1 in front of them now. The 62 is now the SUPER FAST 162, the 60 is now the CRAZY FAST 160. But wait, the 60 still exists. HOW CAN THIS BE? And now there is this mysterious 185 bus that didn’t exist before. I was actually on it today and it looked and felt suspiciously like the now defunct 62. Honestly, it didn’t feel all that “rapid” to me. I can imagine the transit commissioner addressing all the drivers on the first day.
“Okay, ladies and gentleman. Come in. As you know, today we are embarking on a NEW AND EXCITING chapter of our city’s transit history. All the “fast” buses now have a 1 in front of them, so if you happen to be operating one of these, please feel free to go extra fast. Also, try to slam your brakes on really hard. Passengers like when this happens because it reminds them that you are going REALLY FAST.”
To be fair, I haven’t actually ridden the new buses downtown where most of the changes have taken place. I’m sure it’s SUPER FUN and I can’t wait. The romantic side of me is sad that we don’t have some kind of subway or monorail or something on rails. I’d even settle for a streetcar. You can’t tell me there’s nothing sexy about rails. A monorail is not such a crazy idea. In the 1960’s such a plan was raised by the beloved visionary Mayor Stephen Juba, but never saw the light of day. It probably was a terrible idea, but I still like it.
There’s nothing romantic about sticking a 1 in front and pretending it’s something new, and as a friend of mine quipped on Facebook the other day, “At 1 am, every bus is rapid transit”.