Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dislike of public transport (first email)

I love public transport--eavesdropping on people'sconversations, people watching, sometimes making new(temporary) friendships. I would love to write anarticle about my favorite public transit stories, if Ionly knew who would publish it. So are the publictransit lovers the majority or the minority? Can weget more press about the benefits of public transit?And as to the need for rich and poor to mix in thecity, exactly. Having just finished reading the novelMary Barton, about how the distance between rich andpoor contributed to violence during bad times in thecotton mills in Manchester in the 1840s, we are nowobserving the exact same phenomenon here inBangladesh, with garment workers going on the rampage,furious that the owners own luxury cars and theworkers often don't get paid for two months, have towork 14-hour days 7 days a week, can be fired forarriving one minute late, etc. Someone recently toldme she won't let her 12-year-old son walk a few blocksbecause "everyone in the streets is bad". Of courseif I told the mill owners they should get out of theirBMWs and mix with their workers, they would laugh atme.I assume the only solution is to spread our message aswidely and diversely as we can, making sure toemphasize how different groups will benefit--eventhose rich car-owning factory owners who starve theirworkers... :-) (One of the approaches we're tryingis a report on how watching a lot of TV harmschildren, to try to convince the upper middleclass/rich of the need for quality outdoor play spacesfor kids; in our cycle training program, it's great tosee rich and poor kids interact, and I would hope thatit means those rich kids won't be quite so prejudicedagainst the slum dwellers who fix their bikes, but whoknows!)


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