No buses, no peace

Two days into the reality that King County’s transit system is about to return to 1997 levels of service, I find myself too overwhelmed to say anything coherent on the subject.

Since election night, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking–about how 60 years of social engineering, influenced by a handful of greedy corporations, can create a transportation system that requires people to be able bodied, within a certain age range, and capable of spending many thousands of dollars per year just to have basic mobility.

I’ve been thinking about how a transit agency can be put through the ringer, its finances audited and scrutinized from top to bottom, in order to be granted the right to restore funding that was stripped away by an anti-tax crusader. Then, when that agency is found to be operating soundly, the media call for more “reform” instead of more money. Voters believe them.

Meanwhile, road projects all over the state are mismanaged and bleeding our tax dollars.There are no ballot measures to ask us if we want to pay the bill.

I’ve been thinking about how this state of professed progressives creates task forces to talk about pollution and global warming and pays lip service to social justice but can’t make one single transportation decision the reflects these professed priorities.

I’ve been thinking about how ridiculous it is that in 2014, in this growing, prosperous, innovative county, we’ve had to fight so hard–and for so long–just to preserve a basic bus system.

The thing is, I’ve been thinking about this stuff too much.

Stress about transit cuts has sucked the joy out of the bus for me. How can I write about the cool chick with the “Blasian” t-shirt on my late-evening 27 when WE’RE ALL ABOUT TO LOSE OUR BUSES? It feels frivolous. Worse, it feels irresponsible.

I don’t want to be frivolous or irresponsible, so for eight months, I’ve been silent.

I miss coming here to celebrate buses and trains. I miss telling you guys what I’ve experienced, on the ground, in the seats, and at the stops.

So while I’m figuring out what to say about the big stuff, I’m going to go back to talking about the small stuff—because it will make me feel better. I hope it will make you feel better, too.

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