by Dan Savage
on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 11:01 AM
So... my riveting live Slogging of my light rail trip to the airport was interrupted when I had to get off the train in Tukwila and—shudder—ride a bus the rest of the way to the airport. Transfering from a sleek, quick, quiet, smooth light rail train to a dirty, slow, smelly, herky-jerky bus was a good reminder why buses are the preferred mass transit option for people who don't ride and don't intend to ride mass transit. Trains are fixed and they're more expensive, but they incentivize leaving your car at home—or forgoing a $50 cab ride—by providing smoother rides and faster trip times than smelly, claustrophobic, stuck-in-traffic buses. On the train you can actually relax and enjoy your trip in a way you just can't when you're hurtling along in traffic in a private car or crawling through traffic in an airless bus.
I mean, I've seen Mt. Rainier from I-5 a million times on my way to the airport. But I don't think I was really able to appreciate the view until today, when I got to see the mountain from my light rail car, not from backseat of a cab with cars hurtling past.
An argument will now break out in the comments about whether providing me with a glorious view of Mt. Rainier on my way to the airport is worth the public expense of building a light rail line. To all the folks who think other folks should be content to ride cheap, slow, ugly, dirty buses everywhere: aesthetics matter, how a trip is experienced matters. If it didn't—if everyone should be content to get from point A to point B in the cheapest possible mode of transport—why does your car have leather seats? Air conditioning? A sound system? Why aren't you driving a Yugo?