This blog is in reference to this article about Kansas City making their public transit free. Check it out and check this blog out…
It’s coming up on two years of living in Salt Lake City. Still I am constantly comparing the culture here to home. There are just so many things that define culture in both places that are completely different. One of those ways is public transit… The T (MBTA) in Boston and Trax here in Salt Lake City. SLC much like LA does not have a train culture. You know, if you make a movie about NYC, a scene will happen on the train. Everyone takes the train there… for the most part. You have to.
I grew up on the MBTA in Boston; that is how I got to Boston from where I grew up, which for me was only miles away. So, the T was like, magic… especially when I was in high school. I didn’t have a car, so I’d just walk to the T and then be in Downtown Crossing. It was amazing. It was like I lived inside Boston.
I’d sleep on the train… write on the train… talk to random people. Stories in my life happened on the T like the time that I played wingman for my Emerson friend, Matt. I left him at this Suffolk girl’s house and a young & drunk Spo took the last Green Line D Line to Riverside… accidentally and had to walk and hour to a cab in Newton to get home that night… I had an attachment to the train; to the T.
When I got to Salt Lake City, I was super open to take Trax. I’m not going to hate on Trax at all here… I like Trax. I think it goes to a lot of the city, other than Foothill Drive; a part of Salt Lake City that is at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. Trax has new trains and goes so far out of the city too. Like, the amount of space that Trax covers is like as far as maybe Salem is from Boston.
When I lived in LA I used the train too and people say it doesn’t bring you close enough to where you are going. But, here is the thing and really the point of this blog; Just Fuckin’ Walk.
This article is derived from Kansas City being the first city to make public transit free. Congrats Kansas City… I hear the Missouri side is cooler. That’s just what I hear. For two reasons, 1) why are the poor taxed for not having enough money to transport themselves to work? 2) more people not driving is so important to the pollution issue in this country and really specifically in Salt Lake City.
A part of this article talks about how fares at the moment in KC are $1.50 a ride… which is real cheap. The article begs the questions, is that really what is holding back people from taking the train. I say, “no.” It’s because they are reluctant to walk. I’m sure for many conscious reasons, but really I think it’s because they didn’t do it growing up, so it’s not part of who they are. For me, it was.
My mother didn’t have a car. She was a single mother and she’d tug me along to all parts of the metro Boston area for whatever missions or “errands,” as she would call them. As a young kid, I walked, took the T, took the bus and walked. I walked to school in grade school and walked home in middle school and high school. It wasn’t that far… but, it was like 2 miles. This is where I hung with my friends. I dunno, I guess people walk to school here too… but, I dunno, I just get the feeling to and from Trax is “too far.”
Taking public transit is a lifestyle. Dug of Baluchitherium is always posting the current status of the T in Boston. And, that is real. People rely on that shit and it’s really unreliable. These new cities and it’s people don’t understand how good these new public transit systems are. They are amazing, new and sprawl just like the cities. Although, introducing public transit brings in a variable that you can’t control in your life, you Salt Lakers, and KC’ers, know that it’s state is new and as reliable as possible.
Anyways, I think people should pay for it. I dunno. I just, it’s like, even if it just pays for the system to work straight up. I know that trains, and how they are like private and publicly owned at the same time… I dunno. I don’t want to get into that too much at the moment. But, I just am so trained to pay for the train…
Here I am the opposite… I created a game that I stand at the front of each Trax train and try to avoid the fare collectors. ‘Cause like, here in SLC, there are no turnstyles that you have to pay at before you get into the station like they do in Boston, NYC, DC… and The SEPTA and I’m sure others. So, they have these officers go onto trains and look for freeloaders like myself… But, there is a way to dodge them. I’m not going to say how out of incrimination, but it’s insane that that is even possible. But, as this article suggests it’s really costly to maintain fareboxes. So, for that reason, I get it, it’s really not even worth having people pay. But, I dunno, I remember getting MBTA tokens to get on the T and it was growing up and created an ownership over my own future that was supplied by me purchasing that token. Anyways, that’s not here nor there.
I started this game though because I through Ashley, the old singer in Spo, met the head engineer of Trax… or like, I dunno, but she dealt with this very situation. At the time I argued that they should have people pay because it would help them. But, this stat in the article says totally otherwise. It really isn’t worth it.
But, the thing is, more needs to be done to get people to ride public transit for it to be useful. Otherwise, these red states that are engaging in socialism are going to be upset with their socialistic practices don’t garner results. Maybe further tax breaks for regular riders… I don’t know. Maybe make some fucking movies about people riding Trax is Salt Lake City… I dunno. But, just know, public transit is such a useful resource and if you like me are going to help be a part of our environmental change we gotta stop driving and just fuckin’ walk places.
Here is one last story about walking… The T closes so early in Boston. The trains are so bad that they really need the time to reset and repair or do whatever they need between 1am and 4am. So, the T is closed. It sucks. It makes going out to rock shows harder and drinking and driving happen more. When I first started promoting shows I worked for this company called, Anthem Entertainment with my friend, Chris Sinclair. He has continued this company, but when I was working for it I was basically promoting shows with his brand related marketing company. It was interesting and way to start, but did not end up working out. Chris would get me shows in clubs. He’d make headway with a club and then I’d go in and tell them that we could bring them drinkers on off nights or off seasons with local music rock shows.
Chris got us this bar to book in the North End of Boston, technically The Bulfinch Triangle near the Boston Garden. It was and is called, “The Greatest Bar,” although is is not the greatest bar. It’s large with three floors and we over time would do shows at some point on all three floors. On this night though, it was a Friday night in the summer and we brought a band to that swanky sports bar that wouldn’t piss people off too much… kind of. It was a loud room with tiled floors. It’s like, it actually didn’t matter who played there; it was going to sound bad.
So, it was a struggle of a show; sound wise… clashing culture wise, since the people who hang at a swanky sports bar aren’t really tryna hear local music. At the end of the night, when the cords were wrapped and all the equipment was put away I walked home. But, in this case, it was a fuckin’ 2+ hour walk to Melrose. It was crazy, but that’s just what people do sometimes when the T is closed. I dunno. I likely, just needed that time to think about things. I wish I had thought more.
… or ride a bike.