Thursday, June 02, 2016

View from The New Yorker

My friend Andrew K sends me to the New Yorker for their latest coverage of LA transit. Here is the bottom line:
If Angelenos are willing to give up the sanctity of their own four doors for a stranger’s Prius, it stands to reason that they would be open to trading the mobility of four wheels for the pleasures of public transit. And there are pleasures, despite the length of travel, the stops and starts, and the chewing gum caked into the ridges of the train’s linoleum floor. Foremost among them is the romance of boarding a train in the gritty underground and stepping off on a newly paved, sun-bathed platform, the Pacific glimmering in the distance.
Comparing Uber and transit is unfortunate. Uber raises billions of dollars from willing investors. Metro raises billions of dollars at the point of a gun (the power to tax). Uber offers door-to-door service with amazing reliability, etc. The list goes on.

Perhaps the writer is kidding about the "chewing gum caked to the ridges.. " and all the other lovable "gritty" stuff. It is the New Yorker. Look at all the movies that depict life in the big city, notably New York. All the people are pretty, the sidewalks are swept and the cars are all shiny. Gritty and all that may be very cool to a New Yorker writer but not so much for the rest of us.

The "democratization of luxury" is a very big deal in our lives. Uber's door-to-door service approximates what was once available to the wealthy. The charm of "grit" belongs in another universe.