The harsh reality of contemporary public transit is one paved by failed financial circumstances. In order to better understand the context in which St. Louis public transit has found itself, it is absolutely critical to wider the community ken on the national situation. Public transit systems cannot fund themselves – even systems like New York, which provides service to 11 million riders – cannot run trains and fuel buses through mere fare adjustment or agency firings.
Service downgrades have been inflicted on some of the most famous and legendary systems in the United States, and they have suffered these because they exist for the public good – because they need the help and support from local, state, and national tax bases in order to survive. St. Louis cannot escape the reality of service attrition without the full strength of its community; it is the time for neighbors – city and county – to advocate for each other. We have a chance to return our system to robust strength and, with that new strength, direct our community towards a better and brighter horizon.
Check out Transportation for America for more information on nationwide public transit cuts or, click on the included image (to your left) for a great graphic exhibiting the severity of cuts. These systems are the 15 most popular (based on ridership) in the United States. St. Louis can escape a fate worse than jobs losses and service attrition if it has the support of public funds; it cannot survive on its own and any expectation that public transit can is neglecting the truths demonstrated by highways and roadways. Our collective money – our community writ-large – supports our infrastructure, an infrastructure we rely on for travel, safety, and convenience. To ignore the importance of public transit as a common and permanent good is to ignore our previous commitments to our community. We must remain dedicated and devoted to consistency within our actions, we must be willing to move forward as a group rather than individuals. The stake of others is replicated in your own stake – no matter a success or failure, our community will share the future.
Most importantly, realize that local public transit provides almost 200,000 community members with transit. That number should only be allowed to increase, and that means paying a little bit extra everytime you make a purchase. This is not merely to save transit, it is crucial for saving jobs and invigorating our local economy. It is crucial for the stability of our future. Please register to vote and make a point getting involved. It is time for action. Check out our Active Participation section for more info.