While riding the bus recently, I was contemplating the absolutely gregarious myth that public transportation is for the poor and downtrodden. Of course, this myth isn’t particularly held by those that actually know about cities, urban lifestyles, and other such things. However there are a large number of people (namely on random AM radio talk shows) that hold this myth to be true. They hold it as if it is some real redistribution of wealth, some hand out to the poor, or just some hand out in general.
As I sit here riding the #545 toward Microsoft, I realize just how objectively wrong they are. There are approximately 60+ people on this bus as it travels across the bridge toward Microsoft. These 60+ people have a median taxable income near the upper 93-95% bracket. That means the following facts are true:
- These people are absolutely not poor, in any sense of the word.
- These people are in the bracket that pays the largest percentage of tax share to the Government. In other words these people pay approximately 1.8-2.4x their costs incurred by the Government.
Think about that for a second. These people are the bread and butter of America’s Economy right now. The part of the economy that is actually creating jobs, not shedding them. The part of the economy that is growing still.
In another part of town, Amazon has thousands of people coming in on busses and even walking to work (which I’d say is a better corporate citizen than Microsoft when it comes to environmental and economic activity).
Again, the facts for these individuals hold true also. Amazon is growing massively. They pay very well and need intelligent and highly skilled people. Everyday they’re hiring more people.
Both of these companies have a large percentage of employees that use public transit to get to and from work, and in both situations both companies provide private transit agencies to get employees back and forth to the various areas of their campuses. Both of these companies are prime examples of what should be encouraged and perpetuated in cities throughout America. These companies are also prime examples of employers, that don’t require you to have a car. Going car free with Amazon or Microsoft is super easy, and with either you could be an urban, suburban, or even rural person and get away with being car free.
So get rid of the myths if you hold them, you’re holding things that are not true in the least if you have that thought. Public transit is vital to our most productive and growing industries.