Someone sent me this fanciful definition of mass transit:
Mass Transit (n): A form of transportation that many people can use at the same time. It is called "mass transit" because the vehicle is heavy. Because the vehicle is heavy, it takes a lot of energy to get it up to speed. This is why it is always late.
Many liberals and environmentalists keep shouting, "Replace automobiles with trains!" But they are saying this out of their ignorance. There is no way that trains, or any other form of public transportation, can ever replace private transportation.
The conveyance doesn't go where the person is.
If the person happens to be in a place where he is not close to the tracks or bus route, he obviously can't use mass transit. Tracks and bus routes cost money, so they can't cover most locations.
The conveyance doesn't go where the person needs to go.
If the destination of the person happens to be in a place where he is not close to the tracks or bus route, he obviously can't use mass transit. And except in the largest metropolitan areas, mass transit does not serve people who live in one town, but work in another town. If any transit service is provided between towns, it usually runs only once a day.
It takes too long to get the person where he needs to be.
Because the transit system is designed to serve the maximum number of people, it can take over an hour to get to a destination in a small city. This is because the conveyance stops every few blocks to load and unload passengers, and because a circuitous route is used to serve more locations. A slow bus is no excuse to give to an early boss.
The conveyance doesn't run at the time the person needs to be there.
Unfortunately, too many transit systems run only during the times when they make enough money from fares to pay for the operation of the transit. This means that many people can't get to work on the transit, because the transit isn't running when they would need to board it to get to work on time.
The conveyance doesn't run when the person needs to return.
Riding the transit to a destination does the person no good if the transit is not available at the time the person needs to return home.
Something the person needs to take along is not allowed on the conveyance.
Too many governments ban "commercial" traffic from the transit system, because the government-worshipers in charge don't want "business" to profit from a tax-supported transit system. This misguided reverence for government causes people to unnecessarily have to drive the same route the transit takes.
Other passengers take things on the conveyance that the person is allergic to.
Many people have severe allergies to airborne substances that other people bring aboard the transit. These substances include perfumes, deodorants, makeup, nuts, peanut butter, chewing gum, balloons, and several kinds of food. These people need fresh air, but economics cause the transit system to recirculate the same air to save energy.
The problem of moving freight.
There are many problems with using mass-transit vehicles (especially trains) for freight:
The conveyances are never on time, and breakdowns affect many people.
Because so many people are using and counting on the same transit vehicle, any delay that occurs with any one of them delays the entire vehicle. This is especially true if some of the freight or passengers must be transferred between vehicles at a station. A delay in either vehicle causes both to be delayed. Thus, the transit system is more often late than it is on time.
If something goes wrong with a transit conveyance, or it is involved in a traffic accident, all of the passengers and freight on that conveyance will be delayed for a long period of time. This does not happen with individual vehicles, which can detour around the accident. Also, other trains can't usually detour around a wrecked train. They must wait until the wreckage is removed and the track is repaired.
The transit costs more than an automobile trip to the same place.
Often the government bases fares for a transit system on how much it costs to run the transit system, instead of the market price for such transportation. Then they wonder why more people don't use the transit system.