The Community Spirit of Public Transit

Throughout October, we’ve been imagining how scary our world would be without public transit. We’ve imagined a future with more polluted air and more clogged roads.

Today, we envision something even more frightening—the decay of community spirit itself.

Riding Together

When we stand up to support investment in public transportation, we have facts and figures on our side. We know that $1 invested in transit pays off with $4 in economic returns. We know that transit saves our nation 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year. We know traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile.

But the value of transit goes even further. When we ride together, we build community.

Just about every regular transit rider has seen acts of kindness on buses and rail. The young skateboarder who gives up his seat for an older woman and her shopping cart. The businessman who helps a mother pick up her baby’s dropped bottle. The multi-modal cyclist who helps a disabled vet carry his walker onto the bus.

Moments like these happen every day on transit. And they remind us that we’re all in this life—and this nation—together, even if we never know each other’s names. There are already so many things that tear us apart. It would be chilling to see our community spirit evaporate even further without public transportation to help bring us into contact with people we might not otherwise get the chance to encounter.

Caring for the Community

Even if we don’t ride personally, transit is also one of the ways we take care of each other.

Transit provides mobility to people who otherwise might not be able to get around. Millions of young people, older Americans, people with disabilities, and those who don’t have access to a car find a lifeline in public transportation.

Public transportation supports public health and greater quality of life. Work and school are within reach for many because of public transportation. And access to transportation—including public transit—is a leading factor in helping Americans access opportunity and improve their standard of living, reducing the strain on public safety net programs.

Congress has the power to support communities in every state by increasing its support of public transportation. In this downright frightening era of growing division and income inequality in America, now is the time for Congress to renew its commitment to public transportation for communities of all sizes.

Do You Have an Uplifting Transit Story?

This month, we’ve already asked you for scary stories about what a world without transit could mean. Now we want to hear your best, most uplifting stories about how transit helps people in your community. Share your experience on the Voices for Public Transit website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

Categories: Champions