“Transit Unplugged” Interview with Me

Paul Comfort’s Transit Unplugged is a podcast for transit industry professionals.  He just did a two-part interview of me, where we talked about how our thinking about transit goals, and our measures of success, need to adapt to the post-pandemic world.  It’s in two podcasts

Part 1, from 7:10 to 22:10. (Ends at a moment of suspense!)

Part 2, from 8:03 to 18:10.

Hope you enjoy!

2 Responses to “Transit Unplugged” Interview with Me

  1. Sean Gillis December 15, 2022 at 6:38 am #

    So I’ve been chewing on this comment for a while, so here we go:

    I get why you speak of ridership services as ‘thinking like a business’. It is a useful, clear metaphor, especially across the anglosphere where business thinking, business-style management, and fiscal discipline are just in the air over the last 40 years.

    BUT – does this analogy just brush aside serious problems with how neoliberal thinking on government have damaged government services? Think like a business!! Well, that sidesteps a whole host of tough questions on what is government and why it does and does not provide service. Is this metaphor an unconscious surrender to austerity type thinking? That is a big thorny question on its own.

    More to the question of ridership / coverage: does this analogy make it tougher to think about how / where / why we allocate ridership or coverage service? I’m not sure, but it strikes me that we have tons of government services that work in the same way – not everyone gets a library, hospital, fire station, pool on their block. The question of how to allocate resources (especially coverage service) gets into political economy. This approach might be a richer way to look at the problem than business thinking versus social services.

    I was not going to comment, but was sitting at a coffee shop running through the blog and above me was this quote from Ursula K. Leguin: ““We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.”

    • Jarrett December 31, 2022 at 4:57 pm #

      Sean. You’re right. I think the business metaphor works with most of the transit-professional audience of that podcast, or at least they understand it, but I’m learning to be more careful how I use it.

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