As I spent the last week zooming from one side of London to the other with through “The Tube”, London’s subway system, a recurring thought stuck with me: “Thank God for public transportation.”
Recently, Nashville voters shocked America when they voted in a landslide against a bill that would vastly improve the city’s public transportation system, adding 26 miles of light rail, multiple new bus lines, and 19 new transit stations. In a large way, this was due to the efforts of a political advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity, committed towards preventing the spread of public transportation in the United States. It is spearheaded by the oil tycoons David and Charles Koch, who argue that public transportation is becoming needless in the age of driverless fully electric cars. However, since plug-in electric vehicles only took up .9% of the American automobile market in 2017, it seems as though the Koch Brothers may be acting more in the interests of their gargantuan oil company.
To me, public transportation is perhaps one of the defining characteristics of a major city. Tokyo’s, New York’s, and London’s smoothly operating transportation systems are in part what contributes to their status as some of the most visited cities in the world. Without the systems that make different sides of the city easily accessible, cities (especially larger cities) begin to fail to realize the full scale of their resources and citizens.