I decided to ride the LYNX transit system (light-rail) in Charlotte. I brought along my Charlottean friend to investigate our public transportation.
It was really cold.
So I bought my ticket.
A one way ticket for a student is $.75.
We started at 7th Street station.
There was a Metallica
concert down the street, so there
were a lot of cars and people walking.
But none of them seemed to be interested
in taking the train. There was only one
other girl waiting at the station.
Turns out that no one was riding the train because there is no free parking, and very few people live close enough to the station to walk. If you have to pay ten dollars to park and take the light-rail, it's cheaper to just drive.
Also, the train was late.
If we had been trying to take this train to a job, we would have been fired.
But the train finally came.
Unfortunately, the moment that I turned on my camera to
take a picture of the inside, my camera died.
So I picked up a map of the light-rail system to show you where I went. I promise that I actually rode it.
As you can see, it only goes in a straight line, so very few people in Charlotte live anywhere near the stops.
Only 3 of these spots are places where people typically go. The other stops are more or less in the middle of nowhere.
So the only reason you would ride this train was if you lived right next to the stop and worked in the middle of nowhere. There were maybe 8 other people on the train.
Public transportation is meant to be a cheap way for citizens to get where they need to go. When it works well it can create community in a city. It lets people get together cheaply and quickly, and it means that more people travel together instead of alone in their cars.
However, if your city's transportation only reaches tiny cross-section of the city and there
is no cheap and easy way to access it, it doesn't work