Transit Publicity Not the Problem

Published December 14, 2006

Dear Editor:

The $1.25 million “Drive Less, Live More” program announced by Chicago-area transit agencies (“Campaign Pushes Car-Less Commute,” December 15) says a lot about what is wrong with mass transit in the area.

It is complete nonsense to assume that if people just knew more about transit they wouldn’t drive as much. People are not as daft as city planners believe. They know what it costs to drive. They also know there are economic and social costs associated with switching to transit services, which are slower and often don’t even go where they need to go.

There is no question about the value of the area’s mass transit services to downtown Chicago, where more than half the workers commute by transit. Elsewhere though, most who use transit do so because their low income deprives them of cars.

State Transportation Secretary Tim Martin was quoted as saying “it’s all about expanding service.” Indeed it is, and this publicity program does nothing in that regard. People will get out of their cars when transit is a viable option. If that should ever happen, they wont need the state or transit officials to tell them.

Wendell Cox ([email protected]) is senior fellow for urban growth and transit policy for the Heartland Institute.