Public Transportation in the United States

Why do so many American cities lack quality public transportation?

Crappy buses and one or two tiny ‘lightrail’ options do not really count as having a public transportation system.

America is a powerful and wealthy country, but when I visit here I feel completely stranded because of the lack of competent public transportation systems - help a European understand this madness.

1 Like

Who died and made you the definer of public transport?

1 Like

Personally I avoid public transportation like the plague, the vast majority of the people on it are the type to be avoided at all cost. Of course its different in other cities like New York where pretty much everyone uses it but where I live only those that cant afford a car of their own use it or the mentally Ill.

That’s my $.02…


We used to have streetcars, but the streetcar systems were deliberately purchased and dismantled by the auto industry, and were never rebuilt.

1 Like

Because there are highways, and people like having cars, and US cities are planned instead of the sum of centuries random development?

There is no real demand.

America is too large for any meaningful public transportation to be laid down.

How about I don’t want to pay taxes for something I won’t use. A car is dirt cheap in America, buy one, rent one, or catch the bus and enjoy the ride.

1 Like

Because the wealthy, affluent white people left the cities 60 years ago. Now it’s just blacks (+browns) and they don’t have the money to build city infrastructure, and they’d just ruin it anyways.

The white flight created the necessity for the car culture, and we’re not moving back into the cities any time soon unless a plague comes along that kills all blacks.


80% of the USA was built since WWII. And most of that was built with only one transportation system in mind: The individual automobile and the cargo truck. So it’s impossible to economically bring public transportation to such a massively inefficient civil infrastructure.

There will NEVER be Euro-type pub-trans in the USA. By the time people will “need” such systems from being exposed to hugely expensive gasoline and diesel, they won’t need transportation in the first place since they won’t have jobs and won’t have money to use in stores.

By the end of the 21st Century, the major form of personal transportation in the USA will be the sidewalk, followed closely by the bicycle, then the horse.

Don’t expect cities to improve any time soon. Or ever, for that fact. Expect all parts of every country to continue to slide downhill as the genetic trash multiplies thanks to government subsidization of their breeding.

Because driving everywhere means you have a big penis. Honestly, that’s what Americans think.

Aye, and the bigger the car the bigger the beniz! Even for women.

Pretty simple really. Most of the “public” transportation in the US is a hybrid of public and private ownership. Because of this, they’re bleeding the states of taxpayer money while cutting “costs” to turn a profit. This is why even though population increases, the number of buses, trains, etc. in service actually decreases year after year while the fares continue to increase.


They should start bringing those rail cars back. They make a lot of sense. Then I wouldn’t have get price gouged by Uber surge pricing to have some stinky pajeet pick me up and drop me off.

Like anything “public”, you might be considerate, but there is no guarantee that the next person is. From spillage and boogers in public library’s books, to piss-smelling homeless passing out on the BART, it ranges from minor inconveniences to personal hazard and danger that deters most people from using public transportation, and other public amenities, unless they absolutely have to (think the overpacked SF with no parking space then yes, youll have to use public transportation, but you should also have some sort of self-defense on you).

Oh, and dont rely on the police and cameras to be on your sides either, bc leftist reasons…

They won’t release information due to be worried of “racial stereotypes”? Is that some sort of fucking joke? This sort of stuff absolutely enrages me.
Dont bother warning people cause you dont want the truth to slip out


Yep. One of America’s dirty little secrets.

Complete nonsense.


The People Moving Back Into Big American Cities Are Mostly Rich White People

Transportation in the cesspool cities? Transportation within the cities is a responsibility of the cities and the cost is a city issue. Most cities are broke and cannot afford upgrading their transportation systems. Light rail is there last boondoggle. In Denver you can purchase a light rail ticket for 6 bucks, the actual cost subsidized by the taxpayer, over 50 bucks. Cost of construction over 200 million a mile. The RTD built a line to the airport from downtown the cost over 6 billion dollars which the Federal Government contributed 1 billion.

Or do you refer to transportation across the entire US. Big country with rural in the center. 2500 miles coast to coast. California’s high speed rail should provide the example of why it will never work.

p.s. Bus ridership is in decline in this area.

Here’s a little article for you to read:
Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) has entered what is known in the transit industry as the Transit Death Spiral. Ridership has fallen 7 percent since 2015. This reduces the funds available to operate RTD buses and trains, so RTD has cut service and increased fares to be some of the highest in the nation.

Reduced service and higher fares will depress ridership further. This will force RTD to cut service and perhaps raise fares again. And so it goes.

Much of RTD’s problem stems from its mania for an obsolete form of transportation: trains. Trains are great for moving freight, but for urban transit they were surpassed by buses more than 90 years ago. Since the introduction of what was called the Twin Coach bus in 1927, buses could move more people per hour, faster, at a far lower cost than rails.

Despite this, in 2004 RTD persuaded voters in eight metro Denver counties that increasing taxes to build new light-rail and commuter-rail lines would relieve congestion. RTD also promised that some of the new taxes would go to significantly improve bus service.

Instead, as critics (myself included) predicted, the proposed rail lines suffered huge cost overruns. In 2004, RTD estimated that building the airport and Gold lines would cost about $1.0 billion, yet it has spent $3.1 billion on these lines through 2017. Since 2004, it has also spent $3.0 billion on light-rail lines that were supposed to cost less than half that.

As a result, RTD had no funds left over to improve bus service. Instead, service has declined by 6 percent since 2004, which helps explain the decline in ridership.

What has all this spending on rail transit accomplished? The Census Bureau says that 4.8 percent of Denver-area commuters took transit to work in 2000. By 2017, after the construction of about 75 miles of new rail lines, this was down to 4.6 percent. It doesn’t appear that trains have relieved much congestion.

Other than cost, RTD’s problem is that transit, even rail transit, is slow. A 2017 report from the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies finds that the average Denver-area resident can reach almost twice as many jobs in a 20-minute auto drive as in a 60-minute transit ride.

Low-income people understand that cars can get them to work quicker than transit, especially since RTD has cut their bus service. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (table B08141), the share of Denver-area workers who live in households without cars declined from 3.3 percent in 2007 to 2.8 percent in 2017. Much of the decline was among low-income workers.

As a result, low-income workers are abandoning transit. The American Community Survey also shows (table B08119) that Denver-area workers who earn less $15,000 a year were 30 percent less likely to ride transit to work in 2017 as they were in 2007, while workers who earn more than $75,000 a year were 18 percent more likely to ride transit to work than in 2007. Rather than a service for those who can’t afford to drive, RTD has become a huge subsidy for those who don’t actually need it.

Ride hailing is also taking its toll. Moreover, it is likely that driverless ride hailing services will begin operating in Denver within two to five years, which will further impact RTD’s ridership.

Nor is RTD an environmentally friendly form of travel. RTD buses and light-rail lines use more energy and emit more greenhouse gases (from the power plants that generate the electricity for light rail) per passenger mile than the average SUV, and much more than the average car.

Contributing to the transit death spiral, RTD currently has about $3.5 billion of debt on its books. In addition, Denver Transit Partners – the company that built and operates RTD’s commuter-rail lines – has its own debt of around $400 million that RTD is contractually obligated to pay even if it isn’t on RTD’s books.

When RTD planned its rail system, it assumed sales tax revenues would increase every year without fail. When a recession causes sales taxes to decline, or even to increase more slowly than assumed, it has to dip into other funds to meet its debt obligations, and that means cutting service even more.

Another problem is that rail lines wear out after 30 years and must be replaced, practically from the ground up. RTD’s oldest light-rail line is 25 years old, which means it has about five years before it needs to be replaced. The logical thing will be to tear out the tracks and replace the trains with buses, but RTD has rarely been logical.

Unless RTD’s board takes drastic steps to reduce costs, it seems likely that the transit death spiral will continue. Voters should be extremely wary of any RTD proposals to increase taxes to solve this problem, as transit is becoming less relevant to Denver’s mobility and economy with each new year.

BO mostly explains the reluctance.