COMMON SENSE CONTINUED–In a previous article, writing about the fear of riding buses and trains in LA, I shared with readers how, in 1992, I began to ride transit in the Los Angeles region. My main concerns have been to reduce my carbon footprint locally, to reduce Los Angeles’ notorious and harmful air pollution, and globally, to help reduce the looming threats of global warming and climate change.
Destructive changes are occurring due to carbon gases emitted by using fossil fuels to power cars and trucks. Yes, some buses burn natural gas, and that produces less carbon gas than does gasoline or diesel fuel. When a bus carrying forty people is powered by natural gas or a train with a couple hundred passengers is propelled by three electric motors, the efficiencies are greater and less polluting than the hundreds of single passenger vehicles stuck in gridlock with exhaust pipes pumping poisons in the air.
As I reflected on other people’s fear of riding mass transit in Los Angeles, I began to take more careful note of who it is that rides our buses and trains. I wanted to examine each transit experience closely, beyond the routine of just getting on a bus or train. Looking for the source of these fears, I find it is different for women than for men. Do crimes occur more often when riding or close to transit? Or do crimes happen more often away from transit? (For me, most rides are without incident.) How safe are parking lots and structures? How safe is just walking home from a movie or eating out or shopping?
The following observations are only a short list of my experiences riding buses and trains from morning to 11:00 p.m. at night. But I hope they can provide some insight for others: