This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
I’m not quite sure what to make of this Seattle Times op-ed, which sort of reads like a backhanded compliment of transit and sort of like a veiled threat:
Bottom line: There have to be enough buses, trains and boats to match the demand, but the key is having enough attendants and signage available to take the mystery out of the process.
Confusion over buying tickets, how to pay, and how to enter and exit strange locations will nip off tendrils of commuter interest faster than a crowded ride or two.
Transit agencies skimp on commuter assistance, signage and security at their peril. The spotlight is on mass transit. This is an opportunity to shine and retain new customers.
Does the op-ed page consistently advocate for the kinds of taxes that would be required to pay for those “buses, trains and boats”? I’m not so sure. But set that aside for a minute, what’s up with the “at their peril” line? You better be good, or else… it seems to be saying.
They’re right about the substance, though. Navigating transit systems can be tricky for the uninitiatied. Although Metro drivers are generally very helpful (except the one who flipped me off during rush hour downtown last week — that was uncalled for!) compared to bus drivers in other cities. it’s still easy to get confused. Better, clearer, color-coded signs and better information about where the routes go would be handy.