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30 January 2007 @ 08:32 am
the death of mass transit in Dayton  
It is very ironic that exactly as I was writing the entry below that I just posted Sunday, the limited hopes I expressed in it were being shattered.

The Dayton RTA began the changes that were predicted in the fall on Sunday, so the new schedules and maps were all available on the internet yesterday morning (Monday).

The cuts in service are far more extensive than I expected.

For me, the cuts are severe enough that the busses will be totally worthless from now on.
I will probably never ride one again.

Before I go on here, I must point out that the reductions I am referrring to are way beyond the changes that were being pushed by anti-bus people downtown, and so they are not to blame for what is happening right now.

The blame for what is essentially the end of functioning mass transit in one of America's major cities at the most ridiculous time in history belongs with the representatives at all government levels, especially the state level, and even more so to most of my fellow citizens and voters. I began lobbying against the trends those citizens, voters, and representatives were supporting either passively or actively exactly ten years ago, to no avail, and this is a major culmination of those trends.

Obviously, I have a wide range of strong emotions about all the ironies and absurdities that are part of what has reached a climax here.

As I said to some of my friends and family when I saw all this coming in September and made big life changes in anticipation, I may write a memoir of all of this someday. If I do, it will be the first writing to describe in a deeply personal way the meltdowns in America attacked in a more impersonal way by critics such as James Kunstler.

For today, however, I will end by mentioning just one aspect of the mass-delusion that has led to this abandonment of care for the public realm.

That aspect will manifest in the next few days just like the mass unawareness of what was happening during Katrina did.

The aspect or the storm I am talking about here is the huge disruption in thousands of lives that began as the workweek did yesterday morning the day after the RTA cuts were enacted.

First, there will be the total failure of the press to perceive the scope and context until long after the storm is gone. What has happened to the media in America, of which Dayton is a textbook example, is a major layer of this story. Anyone familiar with the essays and speeches of Bill Moyers knows and understands what I mean.

The disruption of thousands of lives will go un-reported, un-discussed, un-debated, and it will be rationalized away and forgotten here in Dayton.

Many lives besides just RTA riders' are being disrupted this week and hereafter.

I am referring to the managers of all the fast food joints, motels, stores, and office parks in suburbia whose low-wage jobs employ RTA riders who can't afford to live near their jobs and live in inner Dayton instead.

These managers are probably experiencing more stress right now than their employees in Dayton stranded away from the jobs.

But it will still go un-reported, un-discussed, un-debated, and it will be rationalized away and forgotten.

The propensity for denial is that deep in America.

It is so deep that even when the primary excuse for letting this happen is laid bare as a joke, there will still be no acknowledgement or true concern.

I am referring to the claim that busses mean nothing more than a nuisance to suburbia, having nothing to do with the lives of suburbanites.

That excuse is being laid bare right now, in just the first of many ways, but it is not being noticed because very few people in Dayton and the rest of America pay attention to things that matter anymore, if they ever really did.