Among the cool things that Portland’s transit agency Tri-Met did during our record snowstorm is this:
Instead of telling us a prediction of when the bus will arrive, they told us the fact of how far away it is. Predictions are not facts.
Free and conscious citizens should always value facts over predictions. It doesn’t hurt to have both, but predictions without facts can be dangerous. Humans always want more certainty about the future than the universe provides, so they tend to overvalue predictions, and even treat them as promises.
A rare citywide disruption puts all this in perspective, by highlighting something that is really always true. The transit agency is in no position to promise when the bus will arrive. Too many things out of their control might happen. What they can do is tell you the facts and let you make your own judgment about what to do.