"A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure."
- apocryphal, but routinely attributed to Margaret Thatcher
The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District recently put up a swank new web site, but all things considered, I really would've preferred to see that money go elsewhere. Into, uh, the transit, for instance. While I don't like to get on the soapbox — and, despite riding the bus and nothing else on a daily basis, "bus riders" is just about the last group I want to be affiliated with — none of Santa Barbara's many public transit issues had to do with an insufficiently impressive net presence.
I submit this three-point test for determining whether or not a city has acceptable public transportation in place:
- Can you "just go" somewhere on it, spontaneously, without having to consult a map or timetable?
- Can you show up to a stop and expect your means of conveyance to show up within the next fifteen minutes?
- Can you use it to get back home from late-night goings-on?
So despite the fact that I use Santa Barbara buses all the time, I can partially sympathize with all the people here who say to me, "Wow, how great that you can ride the bus! I so wish I could do that, but it'd just be impossible for me." (They're too important, you see.) I'd throw in with the cause of inconvenienced public transit-users, but I have sought for nearly eight years now to escape their ranks as soon as possible. (It's taking longer than I thought.)