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Tom West

The obession with rcae in the USA angers and saddens me.

Low Headways

Good response, spot-on.

A suggestion for the future: if you find yourself having to link to a cesspool like Breitbart, you should run the URL through DoNotLink, which links to it without giving them the satisfaction of added web traffic.

calwatch

The Breitbart article is more of a tongue in cheek critcism of all "disparate impact" studies and arguments that liberals make, not specifically dealing in transit. Although in the transit business, the Obama administration has greatly stepped up enforcement of Title VI. Transit agencies are required to post legalistic Title VI notices, service changes have been cancelled because of failure to analyze the racial balance of lines being changed compared to the rest of the system, and fare increases have to be analyzed by racial impact, even when those changes make logical sense.

Pre-Obama, there was no mandated Title VI review of fares and services based on racial mix. Adding Title VI review takes up resources which could be used for planning better service for all. And, there are examples of changes which might have been good for the public as a whole, but restricted due to disparate Title VI impact. For instance, extending BART service by one hour on Friday night, while delaying the start of BART service on Saturday morning by one hour to maintain the work window, was rejected due to Title VI disparate impact on low income and minority riders. http://www.bart.gov/sites/default/files/docs/Night_Service_Survey_Results.pdf

Tom West

@calwatch:
Title VI doesn't prevent you from making changes that disproportionately effect one race, providing you can show it's based on objective criteria.
For example, a transit agency can reduce service on routes based on some ridership/hour threshold, even if that affects one race more than another.

Jeffrey Bridgman

Bravo, Jarrett!

Joe Busman

Fewer white people take transit, because more are likely to live in rural areas and if they do live in the city, they live in the exurbs where there is better schooling. However, this trend is changing as Millennials (who don't care about schools since they don't want families anytime soon) are taking advantage of low housing costs in the inner-city, and yes, they are riding transit more. I've seen more white people taking transit in LA a couple years ago than when I went to USC in 1987 and was the only non-black or non-Latino on the bus. Should transit serve middle-class whites in the exurbs? Well, in the case of Vegas, they do, and you can argue that the entire LA Metro subway system was one gigantic investment to help get middle class whites (tourists as well) out of their cars.

EngineerScotty

Breitbart and their ilk are intent on "proving" how whites, rather than being a privileged group in the US, are in fact an oppressed minority.

Mike

I don't fully agree that fewer white people take transit because they live in less transit friendly areas. That is true to an extent, but not the full picture. There are plenty of dense, walkable, transit friendly neighborhoods and suburbs with little or no transit service.

In the majority of American cities, including Los Angeles, public transit is not attractive enough to attract a large number of choice riders. So transit systems are left carrying people who are too poor to own a car. In most American cities poverty is usually higher among minority groups than the white population. Which is the reason less white people are seen on the bus.

So the question should not be based on race, but rather ask why transit is only attracting mostly poor riders? In American cities, usually upwards of 80% of transit riders are poor. This is in contrast to other countries like Canada and Australia, and Europe, where upwards of 80% of riders are not poor.

What do these other countries do differently? They provided a viable transit option to all areas of a transit service area, regardless of income levels, and density (this does not mean very low density areas get a bus every 5 minutes. But they get a viable service).

Government regulations like Title VI aside, planners are partly to blame for this issue in America. If you pull out a map of most American transit systems, you will see transit networks designed with the sole purpose of getting poor residents from the inner city to jobs out in the suburbs.
Transit in most cities does not even attempt to provide a service which can get anyone regardless of income to wherever they want to go.

You even see this in New York City, where suburban bus routes in Nassau County, for example, are designed mainly to get poor NYC residents to jobs in Nassau County. The ridership figures even prove it, with the majority of riders not even representing the demographics of Nassau County. It is rare for a suburban NYC resident to use transit, or for their kids to take the bus to mall, etc.

For this to change, planners have to stop making excuses to not serve everyone equitably regardless of race or income level.

The solution I feel is that American cities must move towards coverage goals, and not serving areas based on race, poverty, or density solely. If a transit service area is mandated to serve 95% of the population and jobs within a 5 or 10 minute walk of a bus stop. Then you will see more mixes of people using transit, because middle class areas will actually get viable transit service. Not to mention those too poor to own cars will have access to much more destinations than they do now under Title VI protection.

Title VI has serious flaws. For example, a transit agency can be in compliance if it has bus routes serving all minority neighborhoods, but not one bus route in a white area. However the residents in the minority neighborhood can't get to jobs in the white only area, if there is no bus operating.

We must get away from race, poverty, and work at building transit networks that serve everyone. Otherwise transit will never rise to becoming a viable travel alternative for everyone, regardless of race, income, or social standing.

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the firm

Jarrett is now in ...

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