Modern Mass Transit is making it easier for commuters, especially with the latest inter connecting wireless technologies. Many buses, commuter trains, shuttles and even trolley cars now have WiFi wireless computer access so no one is out of touch during the travel time. This is being done now in Baltimore to NY trains and in Sacramento to San Francisco Trains thanks to Amtrak. After all we now have WiFi hotspots at McDonalds, Kinko’s, Book Stores, Starbucks, Airports and hotel lobbies already.
By having these amenities we can get people to stay out of their cars and enjoy the commute and or take a high speed train on their next trip; not to mention save the gasoline which is approaching $3.00 per gallon. Once the system is built the operational costs are relatively low considering the costs of expanding airports which tend to have cyclical trends during boom and bust years and thus hard to manage your ROI, with gates becoming empty and then new gates which need to be built in the up cycle. One only has to follow the sector rotations of the airline industry and take a trip through the California desert and look at Billions of dollars of Airliners sitting hibernated which may never be used again. Between the cutthroat price wars, Bankruptcy tactics and now era of International Terrorism we need to rethink our transportation strategy to include other redundancy methods, which can deliver the speed and comfort that we use to have in Commercial Aviation.
We have only a couple Nationwide Bus Companies that deliver people across the country. We need to insure buses are safe also in the era of International Terrorism and at the same time we need to increase usage and ridership. New interconnected wireless technologies can do both. Since you are already on the Internet you can send video feed back to the command and control for the mass transit system and constantly monitor.
Providing amenities to commuters and safety at the same time will bring riders back and let’s face it no one wants to pay $85.00 each week to fill up their SUV with gasoline. Now is a good time to coax the public back to the mass transit systems we have already set up and improve the economies of scale to make those old embellished proformas used to float the bond measure a reality. Can technology really do all that? Perhaps it can. Think about it.