Thursday, January 11, 2018

Another Reason for Public Transit

I appreciated the commentary by Minneapolis minister Travis Norvell in today's Star Tribune, called Community awareness: How well can you see from your car? I especially connected with these two paragraphs:

Relying solely only on automobiles for our transportation needs limits our ability to see faces, empathize and make connections with one another. Driving requires tunnel vision to make snap decisions while navigating, and any speed over 15 miles per hour hampers our recognition abilities.

This lack of contact and recognition causes us to be more suspicious of one another. Walking, biking and sharing space on public transit, by contrast, cause us to be more trusting, more hopeful and more empathetic with one another, because we see each other face-to-face; we see the scars and wounds we carry on our bodies; we hear the joy and distress in our voices; and we see our humanity reflected in one another. One cannot experience this while driving in a sealed, climate-controlled aluminum box.
The second paragraph brought to mind the recent Elon Musk public transit brouhaha. Musk clearly doesn't want to be around other people, whom he describes as a "bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer."

Yes, exactly, Elon: when you never deal with other people, you get your ideas of who they are from the scary-world image of the media. Reality is more complex and interesting.

1 comment:

Gina said...

While I agree with this post, I must add that taking public transportation also gives us an up close and real experience of people who are rude, obnoxious, violent, and stupid. We see the whole range of humanity. Actor Sally Wingert loves public transportation as a place where she can do research into human beings.