Crass Transit – Editorial by Zach Richardson
Life expectancy is a statistical phenomenon. You could still be hit by the proverbial bus tomorrow.
Author’s Note: I have a sharp opinion on this topic that should not be taken to be any sort of official position of the USTP.
~ Zach Richardson, Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party, December 2021
It truly baffles me that Congress has decided to allocate such a large sum in the recent infrastructure bill towards local mass-transit systems. How is it not seen that ridesharing trumps mass-transit in every possible way (except in SOME cases, price)? Transhumanist policy means ruthlessly advocating usage of our public funds be based on sound reasoning and judgment. As the necessity of congregating in centralized office buildings becomes both unnecessary (due to remote work) and dangerous (due to COVID and any other unforeseen pandemics), mass transit needs to be phased out in favor of ridesharing.
1. More environmentally friendly: Buses take a huge amount of fuel and are often running at only partial capacity. This is an issue all transhumanists should consider, as the climate situation is becoming more urgent.
2. Safer: not having to walk to and from a stopping point means less time in the open, which may or may not be a concern in larger cities. You are also less susceptible to the spread of disease when not congregating in one large, enclosed space with dozens of others.
3. Faster: no frequent stops to let more passengers on/off the vehicle.
4. More convenient: You can summon a vehicle when you are ready to go, instead of having to build a schedule around when the mass-transit system is operating. Most vehicles spend 95% of their time parked anyway.
5. Point-to-Point: No going out of your way and taking odd connecting lines between different systems that take you out of the route. This is an era where technology needs to serve us, not vice-versa, and that means direct connections. Leave hub-and-spoke to airlines (until we have personal jets)
There used to be a concept called “creative destruction” in the economy, wherein a dying industry was allowed to let die, and we need to revitalize this principle. Imagine how bizarre it would seem to be subsidizing telegram delivery services in 2021. Well, allocating public funds for (now) inefficient methods of transportation is just as bizarre.
The sudden plunge in ridership during the pandemic led, of course, to calls for “emergency” funding – for example, in the American Public Transport Association’s July 2021 policy brief. Why was Blackberry not granted emergency funding when sales of its eponymous device declined? Because of the lack of “emergency” funding for that company (despite facing the same consequences of lack of revenue, layoffs, etc.), it was forced to restructure its organization and transform into a successful cybersecurity company, providing a service that is extremely critical to a Transhumanist future. Public transit should have to do the same.
We should not be mired down with hokey ideals of helping the underprivileged when a better system exists for those of any amount of means. Perhaps not making the underprivileged transit experience an hour-long ride in uncomfortable conditions 5 days per week could be a good start. If funding is needed to continue to support that population segment, let it be redirected from less technologically and logistically sound programs to more forward-thinking ones. We could cut the funding for buses and rather than food stamps have “transportation stamps” – a QR code that would give the recipients a hefty discount.
The people of the city deserve this.
Zach Richardson is the Director of Publication of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.