Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The bus will get you there, yet

The Gambit blog has begun a "Transit Tuesdays" feature in which, we're told, a reporter will relay to us an alternative to paying $4 per gallon for gas that doesn't involve hydrofracking or voting for Newt. Naturally I'm interested in avoiding both of those options so I thought this might be an article for me. But maybe the plan should be something slightly more ambitious than simply "a new weekly feature where an adventurous Gambiteer chooses a bus/streetcar/ferry to ride and blogs about three to five places she/he sees along the way."

I mean, sure, we all like going to fun places and having a leisurely afternoon taking the choo-choo around town and going WHEEEEE, and whatnot. But if you really do intend to write about public transit in a way that encourages people to try it for the first time, why not write an article that helps demystify the process for them?

For example, you could have your reporter try to get across town on an itinerary that requires her to use a series of transfers or figure out two or more routes. Explain what we need to know if we're using RTA for a typical commute. What do we need to know if we're trying to get to a special event like Jazzfest or a Saints game? How convenient is it to use the bike racks mounted on most city buses? Which neighborhoods could use better service? Are fares affordable for daily riders?

Obviously this series has potential. But in today's initial installment, all we learned was that there are some stores and restaurants located near each other within a 3 block area of Magazine Street. I was going to be snarkier about my suspicion that Gambit was disguising advertising as content but a Twitter conversation with the reporter suggests that this wasn't the purpose so I'll give this a pass and see what they come up with next.


jeffrey said...

Yeah. And, as Megan points out in that article, we're totally cool. I hoped this would come off as constructive criticism at the time. I have enjoyed the rest of the series.

Jen L said...

Did you see that this post is linked in today's edition?