It’s not exactly “Is We Getting Dummer?” the New York Times headline in the prescient science fiction novel, “IQ 83,” by Science fiction author Arthur Herzog in which a man-made virus begins reducing the intelligence of Americans to idiot levels, but its close enough to cause concern. The NBC News headline is “Cities weigh free public transit amid rising costs.” Wait. what? Public transit is getting too hard to pay for, so the solution being considered is to make it free?
I assumed that this was just another example of incompetent headline writing, but no: if anything, the headline makes more sense than the rest of the article, in which we learn that:
- Michelle Wu, a Democratic City Council member in Boston, says that because use of the crumbling public transportation infrastructure of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is dropping and rush-hour traffic is increasing, and the solution is to let everyone ride buses and subways for free.
The article doesn’t say Wu is a Democrat, and I didn’t bother to check. Trust me: she’s a Democrat.
- Desperately in need of money for repairs, local transit shouldn’t raise fates, but eliminate them, Wu and other progressives argue, because public transportation “is a human right, like health care and education.”
In “IQ 83,” Patient Zero is the brilliant scientist who goofed while trying to invent a cure for mental retardation. In the real ife case of Wu and others, Patient Zero is obviously Bernie Sanders.
- We are told, that “some experts warn that free rides wouldn’t solve the issues besetting many public transit systems, including crumbling infrastructure, infrequent and unreliable service, and routes that take workers nowhere near their jobs.”
Really? “Some” experts warn that? Boy, what spoil-sports. Debbie Downers, I’d call them.
- Kansas City appears to be the only city that is “considering” this pie-n-the sky” scheme, so the headline should have read, “One City And An Infected Boston Democrat Weigh Free Public Transit Amid Rising Costs.” Why Kansas City? There was a study! It found that free transit would increase Kansas City’s regional gross domestic product by more than $13 million a year and improve the livelihoods of regular riders along with new riders encouraged to try public transit without the fare barrier.
“For those living paycheck to paycheck, as most Americans are, even an additional $50 (the cost of a monthly bus pass) per month of income can make the difference in deciding which bills to pay,” the study said.
Well, that settles it, right? Studies have an unblemished record of never underestimating costs, making wacko assumptions about human nature, and leading states and municipalities into disastrous misadventures. Look at that light rail system in California!
- There is the small problem, advocates of free public transit say, that free isn’t enough if the system is lousy, which KC’s apparently is. A 2011 report from the Brookings Institution compared 100 metropolitan areas of similar size to Kansas City and found that Kansas City’s transit system was among the 10 worst at connecting workers to their jobs, with only 18 percent of jobs in the metropolitan region accessible to job seekers by commutes of less than 90 minutes.
So Kansas city will have to spend many millions on upgrading its public transit before it’s worth making free.
- Hayley Richardson of TransitCenter, a nonprofit group that works to improve public transit around the country, is one of those annoying naysayers like those why say the Green New Deal is nuts. “A bus that comes once an hour that’s free isn’t useful to people,” she told NBC. “The way we make transit useful to people is by making it come frequently and reliable.” The best scenario would be cities where buses arrive every five minutes in dedicated lanes and a country where most Americans can walk to transit.
Gee, I wonder what that would cost? Never mind; it’s a human right.
- Back to Wu: Wu says better and free transit is an environmental necessity. When her office surveyed young Bostonians about how they’d like to travel in the future, the majority said they wanted to use cars because public transit was expensive and unreliable.
Translation: American like automobiles because cars mean personal freedom…which really is a human right….and depending on public transit means being at the mercy of the government and government competence and efficiency.
Oh, never mind. All Wu and other infected progressives have to do is wait until the average IQ hits 83 or lower, and the idea of free public transit will seem completely logical.