Which brings me to the biggest misconception of transit riders - that they’re nothing but a collection of ex-convicts, DUI offenders or societal misfits.
I challenge anyone to ride any route in our system (LYNX in Orlando), and tell me who they see. For those unwilling or unable to do so, let me do the work for you. Over two-thirds of our riders use the bus for employment purposes. In other words, to get to & from work. Not the welfare office, not to see their probation officer. To get to work. The other one third? Tourists. Shoppers. And yes, some homeless people. Hey it gets ballz hot here, and sometimes they just want a few minutes of a/c.
Much of my career has been defending these misconceptions. Oftentimes we actually have to adjust service based on fear, not reality. And the biggest fear I hear is, transit brings criminals to neighborhoods. Well here’s a very eye-opening article that talks to this -
Let’s elaborate on this for a moment. There are actually people out there that think someone is going to hop off a bus, rob a store (or a home) and then stand at a bus stop awaiting the Number 43 bus as their getaway vehicle.
Hey, crooks can be stupid, but nobody’s that moronic.
I am not a shoplifter. Never stolen anything from a store in my life. But if I were to do it, Here’s how I would: First, I would get a four-door car with big windows. Second, I would get a driver. Third, I would have the car idling right outside the store’s entrance, driver behind the wheel while I snatched an armful of Armani suits off the rack, bolted for the door, dove into the back seat of the car & told the driver to haul ass.
I can assure you I wouldn’t go to the closest bus stop and wait.
Recently a group of homeowners petitioned me to have recently-installed bus stops removed from their area because it brought “those people” to their bucolic slice of Americana. They told me that ‘strange people’ were prowling their neighborhoods after the bus stops were installed. They insisted, recruited the help of their local city commissioner, and much like a Casey Anthony protester, got very loud with the insistence they were right. Well, they’re not. They are wrong. But they did end up winning their little battle. I had to remove the bus stop signs.
However, I could not help but to point out to them that felons drive cars too.