Saturday, July 26, 2008

the politics of sustainability, from the perspective of the bus

Cuyahoga Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones cuts back on use of county car - Cleveland Metro News – The Latest Breaking News, Photos and Stories from The Plain Dealer -- So much of leadership entails leading by setting the example, and here we have PLJ about to set foot on the bus. Gloria and I just bought our two weekly passes today, since we're in town most of next week. I'm wondering whether Peter gets a free pass, or whether he has to come up out of pocket for it. I've heard that GCRTA employees get complimentary passes.

If Peter begins riding the bus, he'll take note of what we've been seeing lately: Overcrowding, broken air-conditioning, little available ventilation because of modern bus design, busted out/broken down shocks and springs, and missed stops. He'll also note that the buses don't run anywhere near frequently enough, and that the hours need extravagant expansion. As working hours expand, so should the economy. Mobility is one key to productivity.

He'll also note there's a certain zen aspect to the bus ride, a time for a sort of mass-transit-induced reflection and meditation. He can even catch up on reading. Knowing him, though, he'll probably talk to everyday people, asking them what's really going on. Until you ride the bus and walk the streets after business hours, you really don't know.

Will Peter ever casually sit down next to Debbie Sutherland? Will she be clutching her purse with white knuckles? Does the bus run out to Bay Village? Stay tuned for another episode of Adventures in Regionalism: From the Bus to November.

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