5 Cities That Are Winning at Public Transportation

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5 Cities That Are Winning at Public Transportation

If you live in one of these five United States cities, you should start taking public transportation — unless, of course, you are a selfish jerk who denies climate change and doesn’t care about the environment.

Maybe that is a bit extreme, but the point remains: Public transportation is a great option that more people in more places should take advantage of more often. So for everyone who avoids these elevated and underground options, or treats them like a sick co-worker in the winter, trust me, you will be OK.

Don’t just do it for yourself, either; future generations are depending on you. Because for public transit options to work in major metropolises into the coming years they need be supported by lawmakers, and the best way to do that is for people to support them.

It’s similar to that great restaurant in your town. It has great food, but it’s always empty. Unless you actually go in and eat, eventually it will close, no matter how good their specialties.  

Yes, public transit takes a lot of criticism, and for good reason. It is sometimes inconvenient, lengthy, smells bad and forces all of us to confront each other at very vulnerable times, like in the morning on the way to work. And there are myriad problems that never seem to get any better or improve over many years.


But with all the information we now have about climate change and protecting the environment, if people actually do care about the planet, start, sometimes at least, to take public transportation. Or you can remain a selfish-bum polluter and stay stuck in traffic.

Yes, there are a lot of awful things about commuting by, or relying on, public transportation. There is the garbage, annoying people who don’t respect personal space, aggressive performers and many others, but there are lots of great things about public transportation, especially having the option.

Public transportation also helps increase the density of cities, which means people don’t have to drive as far as often, which is good for the planet and burns less gas and oil. This option for traveling is vital to the survival and future lives of cites, so to promote public transportation travel in urban areas, here are the best things about commuting by public transportation in five disparate U.S. cities.


Seeing the city grind by while on a loud elevated train car may not seem great, but when compared to sitting in traffic — with the heat blasting, of course as Chicago’s average January temperature is a chilly 29 degrees — it’s a good option.

Want more reasons not to drive?

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The city averages more than two inches of snow this month. That might not seem like a lot, but that’s an average, meaning it can fluctuate wildly. And when the average high is below freezing, you better warm your car up for, like, a half an hour. Looking at recent temperatures — the mercury didn’t even crack 13 degrees in the second week of January — it’s too bad a lot of the stations are outside. But at least then you won’t be stuck in your car in the middle of a sudden, lakefront blizzard. So dress warm, residents of the “City with Big Shoulders,” and have that fourth slice of deep dish. Why not? You are going to need the insulation.

Washington, D.C.

Many people think D.C. is not really a “city” in the sense others are, and they are right, it’s a government town. What better way is there to make D.C into a real urban community than by taking — and investing in — the Metro?

Just look at this lonely, empty car. It’s just screaming for butts in seats. So, Washingtonians, stop being selfish, get to know the people of your town better. 

Los Angeles

In this West Coast town, everyone drives which is kind of strange because residents claim, or are purported to be, very environmentally conscious in many other ways. Why not with transit? Come on L.A., stop faking it. Try a bit harder to be more like that hippie cousin a couple hours north. Those crazy cool ‘Frisco cats could be onto something good (or just on something).

Most Angelenos might not even know there is any alternative to its traffic-choked roads, but there is, in fact, a commuter system that goes straight downtown. And it’s being expanded, finally. But why did it take them so long to realize that everyone driving everywhere all the time is bad for the planet and most residents, and, oh yeah, the air quality? So much for being trendsetters!


San Francisco

Here’s some free advice: In this lefty town, don’t ever even tell anyone, ever, you have driven a car; you might be called out as a polluter, or a tool of “the man,” though no one has actually ever met this elusive figure. Much like it’s blonde, surfer dude cousin down south, this jewel of a town also suffers bad traffic and clogged roads. So what if the MUNI is the redheaded stepchild of the BART? It’s a quick and efficient way to get around.

So don’t get called out, San Franciscans. Support green infrastructure and actually live up to your forefathers well-intentioned and terribly effected counterculture ideals. And shine on your crazy diamonds. Just stay away from the brown acid, man.

New York City

In New York, almost everyone takes the subway. It’s the pulse of the town. Unless of course, you are e pied-a-terre(er), a member of the one percent who takes taxis everywhere like in some classic movie from the 1940s. 

In New York, the subway is where everyone meets — young and old, rich and poor — to experience the best and worst of the megalopolis. Sure it sucks on Monday morning when the entire car is deafly quiet, people are miserable, and there is some large man’s armpit about a centimeter from your nose. But that’s New York; the good and bad, the ugly and beautiful all up against each other in a Jackson Pollock-style mishmash of everyone thrown together.


Please, tell your fiends and Governors, mayors, aldermen, Congress people, whomever. Vote in favor of, and support, funds for public transit. It is the best way to grow cities and expand their power. Stop building more and more roads, please.

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