Projjal Dutta

Please tell us what you do.

 

I am the direc­tor of sus­tain­abil­i­ty ini­tia­tives at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Trans­porta­tion Author­i­ty.

In this job, I wear two hats. One is to turn our own oper­a­tions, and our own facil­i­ties, green­er. But I also have anoth­er oper­a­tion, which is to explain how pub­lic trans­porta­tion itself makes regions green.

For exam­ple, the State of New York has the low­est per cap­i­ta ener­gy con­sump­tion of the entire coun­try. The city of New York, on a per cap­i­ta basis, has about a quar­ter of the car­bon emis­sions as all of the aver­age of Amer­i­ca (and many parts of Amer­i­ca are high­er than the aver­age).

Put anoth­er way: if the Kyoto Pro­to­col tar­get for the devel­oped coun­tries is to reduce 80% of their foot­print by 2050, then basi­cal­ly New York has already done it, com­pared to the Amer­i­can aver­age. And if all of Amer­i­ca could have a New York-like car­bon char­ac­ter­is­tic, that shift would rep­re­sent the sin­gle biggest dent into glob­al warm­ing.

That’s how impor­tant pub­lic trans­porta­tion is. It forms the foun­da­tion on which many oth­er things get built. And if you have good den­si­ty through pub­lic trans­porta­tion, then it’s not nec­es­sary for peo­ple to use pub­lic trans­porta­tion — they can walk. They can put their hand out on a curb and hail a taxi. They can ride a bicy­cle. All of those things require a cer­tain den­si­ty, pro­vid­ed by pub­lic trans­porta­tion.

And pub­lic trans­porta­tion has co-ben­e­fits — the best exam­ple of that is called ‘a trip not tak­en.’ If you have to get gro­ceries in the sub­urbs, you’re prob­a­bly going to do a ten-mile round trip. Five miles from your home to the gro­cery store, pick up the gro­ceries, and come back. And the car­bon impli­ca­tions of the gro­ceries — say ten pounds of pro­duce that have grown in Cal­i­for­nia, trucked in an air con­di­tioned truck, brought here, dis­trib­ut­ed, put on the shelf — the car­bon emis­sions spent get­ting them on the shelf is actu­al­ly still less than what it takes to take a ten pound bag of gro­ceries, put it in your 6000 lb. car, and dri­ve it home.

In New York City, if you’re going to the super­mar­ket on your way back home tonight and pick­ing up a few gro­ceries, you’re not dri­ving a car. So it’s a ‘trip not tak­en.’ It’s a non-motor­ized trip. And that’s also a ben­e­fit that den­si­ty and pub­lic trans­porta­tion pro­duces.

So my oth­er job, the way I see it, is to point out this ben­e­fit, that is not rec­og­nized wide­ly. It is cer­tain­ly not com­pen­sat­ed. You pay a fare to go from A to B. You don’t pay a fare to go from point A to point B in a green way. Nor for that mat­ter should you. How­ev­er, when you go to a Hon­da show­room, and you see two Civics with iden­ti­cal uphol­stery, same steer­ing wheel, same wind­screen, and one of them is a hybrid, anoth­er is a reg­u­lar engine, you are will­ing to pay a pre­mi­um on the hybrid, often a greater pre­mi­um than would be war­rant­ed by just fuel sav­ings alone, and you do that because it moves you from point A to B in a green­er way. You see that as a sep­a­rate attrib­ute of it’s ser­vice, sim­i­lar­ly you can buy green pow­er from Con Ed, you can give Vir­gin Atlantic 40 dol­lars on top of 400 dol­lars when you buy a tick­et with a car­bon off­set. You can do the­se things in the oth­er sec­tors, but in the pub­lic trans­porta­tion cen­ter, you can­not do that pri­mar­i­ly because you can­not mea­sure it, you can­not quan­ti­fy it.

My first task is to green our oper­a­tions – but my oth­er, and in some ways more crit­i­cal task, espe­cial­ly in the Unit­ed States, is to try and make the case that pub­lic trans­porta­tion makes the region green­er. You can fig­ure out how much car­bon emis­sions were saved last year due to the fact that the MTA ran it’s oper­a­tions, and that should be worth some mon­ey. Either in the mar­ket­place of cap and trade, or some­thing like that, or as rev­enue from the gen­er­al funds – what­ev­er. But that deserves sup­port, and this is no longer parochial for the MTA – that sort of thing would help tran­sit com­pa­nies all over the US if such a struc­ture came into place.  Those are the two things that I do.

 

What you are work­ing on specif­i­cal­ly now?

I’m work­ing on an ini­tia­tive called Smart Fleets, where we are col­lab­o­rat­ing with Lon­don Under­ground. It turns out that it does not mat­ter whether you have three of us in a sub­way car or three hun­dred peo­ple dur­ing rush hour — because the sub­way car’s own weight, which is called dead weight or dead load, is so much greater than the live load that almost its entire elec­tric­i­ty con­sump­tion is a func­tion of how heavy that car is. Cars have got­ten heav­ier pri­mar­i­ly because they have got­ten fancier, they are now air con­di­tioned, they have all sorts of elec­tron­ics on them, they light up and tell you what the next sta­tion is, tell you what time it is…and that is called fea­ture creep. 80% of our elec­tric­i­ty con­sump­tion comes from what is called trac­tion pow­er, which is mov­ing sub­way and rail­road cars.

If you real­ly want to make a dif­fer­ence in elec­tric­i­ty con­sump­tion for the trains, you have to reduce the weight of the car. And, you have to make it so they regen­er­ate ener­gy when they brake, like the Prius does. You can try to increase this effi­cien­cy also through dri­ving tech­niques, through the geom­e­try of the track, etcetera.

Right now we’re work­ing on the smart fleets so that when our new, next gen­er­a­tion of cars, which will hit the tracks in about 5, 6 years  — we’re work­ing to make new cars lighter and more effi­cient. It’s a huge sub­ject; you can drill deep, deep, deep very deep into that sub­ject. And that’s one thing I am work­ing on right now.

In the oth­er broad area of my work — try­ing to get recog­ni­tion for the ben­e­fits of mass tran­sit – I work with col­leagues like myself from agen­cies all over – pub­lic trans­porta­tion agen­cies all over the US. San Fran­cis­co, Seat­tle, Chicago, Wash­ing­ton DC, LA, Port­land, etc. To devel­op a way to actu­al­ly quan­ti­fy our ben­e­fit in met­ric tons of car­bon so that we can have a pro­duct to sell and also to con­vince author­i­ty say, at the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion or the EPA that indeed, this is valid and can be mea­sured and audit­ed, and show how you can mea­sure it. So work­ing on that method­ol­o­gy, that also takes up a fair chunk of my time.

I want to show you some­thing very cool and neat.  So look at this. So you see that this is the new Sec­ond Avenue sub­way and that the­se are the sta­tions, 72nd and 86th, and the track kind of comes in a V shape down to a low point and then goes up. Now if you could get on and off a sub­way car fast enough then the best align­ment would be a roller­coast­er. You would start it once in the morn­ing and it would keep going because every time it would just climb up a hill [to a sta­tion, and stop…] and then fall down a hill again. But you clear­ly can­not. This track is – in the real world – a close sim­u­la­tion of that.

So when the train is pulling into the sta­tion – when it is hit­ting its brake, with tons and tons of steel com­ing to a halt, that’s ener­gy that you are just throw­ing away. Instead we can take that kinet­ic ener­gy and change it into poten­tial ener­gy. When the train leaves the sta­tion, it actu­al­ly rolls down a bit of a down­hill gra­di­ent and so – it is turn­ing the poten­tial ener­gy here, back into kinet­ic ener­gy there.

 

Sec­tion draw­ing of the Sec­ond Avenue sub­way, show­ing the dip between sta­tions.

 

 

That’s so cool!

Isn’t that cool? So, of course, you can’t do it every­where because of soil con­di­tions, some­times you can’t do it because of lega­cy rea­sons – there are cross town tracks that you have to, you know, cir­cum­vent, and going over is eas­ier than going under, etc. But wherever we can, we’ve one this all along Sec­ond Avenue, and this is some­thing we did not have in our old­er sys­tem. So it’s a very sim­ple, very effec­tive method.

A sec­ondary ben­e­fit of it is that the train, when it pulls into the sta­tion, it has not dis­si­pat­ed as much ener­gy as heat, and has instead con­vert­ed some of that into poten­tial ener­gy because it has slowed by rolling uphill while it is enter­ing the sta­tion. So it is a cool­er method, too. Less heat dis­si­pates into the sta­tion envi­ron­ment, and the station’s heat load goes down.

The new sta­tions on Sec­ond Avenue will be ‘air tem­pered.’ So they won’t be ful­ly air-con­di­tioned; it’s a new sys­tem and increas­ing­ly sta­tions all over the world work this way. And the heat load of the­se new sta­tions where the trains will roll uphill into the sta­tion, will be about 10, 12, 15% low­er than the heat loads of old sta­tions, so the air cool­ing sys­tem will have the ben­e­fit of that. We will be spend­ing less ener­gy to cool the heat that brak­ing trains used to put there in the first place. So it’s very inter­est­ing! Yeah.

What makes New York envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly, or liv­able for you?

 

New York is liv­able – it is more than liv­able, it’s won­der­ful — because of den­si­ty. And not just the den­si­ty of peo­ple, but I think the den­si­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty. The den­si­ty of enter­tain­ment – the den­si­ty of food – and the diver­si­ty that comes with the den­si­ty. You know, as you increase the den­si­ty of pink or blue dots, you get more and more pur­ple dots, so all of that is much greater in New York — which is what I love, and, it is found­ed on the fact that, that it brings many peo­ple togeth­er in essen­tial­ly such a small amount of space.

What is unprece­dent­ed about New York, what I real­ly like about New York, is New York bal­ances it all. There is great den­si­ty in many places in the world, includ­ing in the third world where there is den­si­ty out of neces­si­ty, out of pover­ty. But here there is den­si­ty out of choice.

In most oth­er places in the world, includ­ing almost all the rest of the Unit­ed States. If you are suc­cess­ful, your way of show­ing that you are suc­cess­ful is to build a huge house. Sta­tus equates to size. Your house has many more bed­rooms, it has a huge swim­ming pool etc. I think New York presents a mod­el, which I think, indeed, is the only mod­el for the rest of the world going for­ward, and for Amer­i­ca – is it allows you to be very suc­cess­ful and still live in, you know, a cou­ple thou­sand square feet. Which in this city is huge – if it’s well locat­ed, over­look­ing the park, the river etc. you can, you can show your suc­cess and so on, with­out, with­out basi­cal­ly hav­ing to, I don’t know, I’m try­ing to find a non-French word for it…but with­out out ah – um – use tremen­dous resources. That, I think, is a great mod­el.

I also like the fact that pub­lic trans­porta­tion is the com­mons of today, it’s the one place where the guy that made 2.5 mil­lion dol­lars last year, and the guy that made 25,000 dol­lars last year rub shoul­ders, hang on to the same strap, hang on to the same bar. You and I are going out to look at Grand Cen­tral after this inter­view, and there’s prob­a­bly half a dozen bil­lion­aires that prob­a­bly walk through that space every­day and they do so not because they can­not afford their own pri­vate car but because the Metro North rail­road actu­al­ly pro­vides them a con­ve­nient, fast and easy way home to Westch­ester, and they work in the city. So I think the fact that pub­lic trans­porta­tion holds – to that bil­lion­aire it offers con­ve­nience and speed; to the per­son at the oth­er end of the scale — they can get get to work too. At the bot­tom of the income lad­der, you can still get to your job with­out need­ing a car, the upkeep on a car, and a dri­vers license.

New York I think is inher­ent­ly friend­ly in that it allows any­one to move across the city eas­i­ly. I’ve found this is not just true to today but it’s his­tor­i­cal­ly been true. At Astor Place, down­town, the sta­tion has a pic­ture of a beaver in the tiles on the walls — because that was what the Astor family’s for­tune was based on. But also, there were lots of immi­grants that were trav­el­ing in the sys­tem and they could tell each oth­er “Get off at the sta­tion where you see the beaver pic­ture.” Because they couldn’t read Eng­lish.

Anoth­er great thing about New York City tran­sit is that it is a sin­gle fare sys­tem, as opposed to, say the Lon­don Under­ground which is priced by trav­el­ing across zones. Lots of places are zoned.

The poorest peo­ple typ­i­cal­ly live far­thest from the oppor­tu­ni­ty. So if you have a zone sys­tem, it’s essen­tial­ly a regres­sive tax, because low income peo­ple may have to trav­el the far­thest to get to jobs in the city cen­ter and their fares would be high­er. In New York City, the whole sys­tem is one price.

What would you like to see hap­pen in New York in the next ten years, twen­ty years?

Um, I’ll first give you a sort of, a real­is­tic answer. Then I’ll also give you a sort of hope­ful, buoy­ant answer.

The cyn­i­cal answer is that I just hope that good pub­lic trans­porta­tion sur­vives.

Pub­lic trans­porta­tion under­goes the­se cycles — I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “The French Con­nec­tion” – that’s New York in the ear­ly 70’s — graf­fi­ti every­where. Peo­ple that I’ve met, peo­ple my age, that lived in Westch­ester and Long Island, their par­ents would bring them to the city and they would nev­er go on the trains. I once gave a pre­sen­ta­tion to the Deputy May­or of Helsinki, who actu­al­ly lived in New York while get­ting his Ph.D at Columbia, in that era. He him­self gave a pre­sen­ta­tion about green and this and that. And then he said, “When I was in New York back then, we nev­er went down­stairs after dark.” And he meant he nev­er went in the sub­way after dark because it seemed scary. And the dry­ing up of finan­cial resources is hap­pen­ing. Again.

The MTA is caught in a bind. It has very lit­tle con­trol over its own finan­cial for­tunes. It’s almost all deter­mined by leg­is­la­tors of the state. And I think we are caught in a bind in the sense that – you can either think of pub­lic trans­porta­tion as a social good like you think of water sup­ply. You charge at least some­thing, so that nobody leaves the tap on — you don’t want some­body to leave their tap on and just drain all the water in the sys­tem. But at the same time, what they pay when they turn the tap on is actu­al­ly a very small frac­tion of what it actu­al­ly costs to get the water to them because we as a soci­ety believe that one of the things that we do from our tax rev­enues is get water – we get drink­ing water to peo­ple. You can think of pub­lic trans­porta­tion that way, and say, “we’ll charge you some­thing but you know, it’s essen­tial­ly a ser­vice that soci­ety pro­vides for itself, for every­one in soci­ety.” Or, we can think of it as a mar­ket-based thing – like in Lon­don at rush hour, where you could be pay­ing as much as 6 or 8 dol­lars for one ride.

Here, we are caught in the mid­dle. I don’t advo­cate the Lon­don mod­el at all, I don’t think it’s fair, but at least they can pay for them­selves, or pay more sub­stan­tial­ly for them­selves because they have this abil­i­ty to charge a lot of mon­ey for a ride.

We don’t have that, and again, I clar­i­fy, I don’t think we should be charg­ing a lot of mon­ey. We should prob­a­bly be doing the reverse, we should be charg­ing even less than per ride if it were pos­si­ble. But that would mean this has to be tak­en on as, you know, a social good, in the same way as pro­vid­ing drink­ing water. And so my cyn­i­cal answer to you, my hope is, we are able to break out of this finan­cial feast or famine, and the leg­isla­tive and the exec­u­tive pow­er that over­sees us, that they basi­cal­ly under­stand how impor­tant it is for the State of New York, for the peo­ple of New York, that this ser­vice is there and that this remain well fund­ed, and also fund­ed and resourced in more sta­ble ways.

One of the prob­lems is a lot of the sub­sidy mon­ey that comes to us from the state comes from things like the mort­gage record­ing tax, which is some­thing charged in real estate trans­ac­tions. It’s a very small frac­tion on trans­ac­tions, but when times are low, real estate trans­ac­tions dry up. There are no mort­gages hap­pen­ing or there are no big trans­ac­tions hap­pen­ing so there is no mort­gage record­ing tax. If you are run­ning Metro North, you have a train at 9:37 a train at 10:07, and a train at  10:37. You can’t say that we are in the mid­st of a reces­sion so you won’t get the 10:07 train any­more, it’s only 9:37 or 10:37. We have to provide a ser­vice that is invari­able. In fact, when reces­sion hits typ­i­cal­ly our rid­er­ship goes up because few­er peo­ple are dri­ving cars. Peo­ple depend on us because we provide a cheap­er way of get­ting around. So – yet and that is the time that sources of fund­ing dry up. So my cyn­i­cal and sort of small hope is, that I wish more sta­ble and bet­ter fund­ing can be orga­nized by the polit­i­cal lead­er­ship, because we serve peo­ple no mat­ter what the econ­o­my is doing.

But my buoy­ant answer would be that the pos­i­tive mes­sage about mass tran­sit will spread over a much larg­er audi­ence, and more peo­ple under­stand that pub­lic trans­porta­tion is key. It’s key to every­thing.

It’s key to pub­lic health. By sur­vey data, we find that the more pub­lic trans­porta­tion there is in an area, the bet­ter shape peo­ple are in. Con­verse­ly, in places that have no pub­lic trans­porta­tion, peo­ple are more like­ly to be over­weight — prob­a­bly because a strict­ly auto­mo­bile lifestyle means it is hard to walk or bike any­where, and so the less active peo­ple become.

It’s key to ener­gy secu­ri­ty – if peo­ple dri­ve less, then we are less depen­dent on for­eign oil.

It’s key to jobs: the con­struc­tion of a sys­tem cre­ates many jobs. It’s a shot in the arm for the local econ­o­my – typ­i­cal­ly large infra­struc­ture projects take 20, 30 years to real­ize from start to fin­ish, so there is steady employ­ment, and at the end the whole com­mu­ni­ty ben­e­fits from the sys­tem.

I just wish that pub­lic transportation’s pres­ence in the US increas­es a whole lot. That will be good for the US and great for the world.

Great answers, thank you. Also I love the word buoy­ant. So my next ques­tion is –

You like the word buoy­ant?

I do. [Laugh­ter.Can you describe a hap­py day – what is a hap­py day for you in New York City and what would you do and where would you go?

How do you mean hap­py day?

What is your ide­al day in New York and what would you do and where would you go? Would you hang out on the 6 train? 

Ah – hap­py day – in New York – um –

Enjoy the parks?

Yeah I, would say that a nice late spring sum­mer, late-sum­mer day, walk­ing around in the city, going to the parks, I have kids so we end up going to River­side Park a lot, I also like doing – last sum­mer for instance I walked the entire length of Broad­way, from the Bat­tery all the way to 215th or 221st street wherever it ends, in three dif­fer­ent sec­tions in three dif­fer­ent days, and it obvi­ous­ly changes. It’s a dra­mat­ic play of spaces — Broad­way touch­es all parts of New York in a way that few oth­er streets do, so that sort of thing I would say is very delight­ful.

Eat­ing out. Enter­tain­ment, I am always sur­prised by lit­tle things. One of the high points of the past mon­th or so, past cou­ple of months – I saw Mer­chant of Venice, which I had read as a text in school, in high school, many, many years ago. I saw it per­formed with Al Paci­no as Shy­lock, and it was an incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence, that sort of thing can only hap­pen in New York.

Why is it impor­tant to build the City Atlas? And what about the City Atlas inter­ests you?

I see this as a means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and as I said my buoy­ant view of the world, a way to get the idea across that I think New York­ers, are sit­ting on a car­bon pot of gold, on an envi­ron­men­tal mod­el that can accom­mo­date suc­cess and con­sump­tion with small foot­prints, yet stan­dards of liv­ing, life expectan­cies that are high, basic edu­ca­tion lev­els that are high, health lev­els that are high. Yet not in a tak­ing the earth’s resources kind of way. It’s absolute­ly unique, this kind of lifestyle that today’s New York has. And I think that the City Atlas presents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring that to the fore, and that’s why I like it.

So do you think our actions and deci­sions of today affect the future of the city? And if so, how?

Absolute­ly. They absolute­ly affect the city and they affect the city because many mod­els for liv­ing, includ­ing the cre­ation of a city like New York, take more than one gen­er­a­tion to accom­plish. Your grand­par­ents have to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in the devel­op­ment of the sys­tem and you have to do like­wise. What we do will impact our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren and not us.

And I think that, in con­tem­po­rary soci­ety, there is a sort of for­get­ting of that plan­ning, and instead, a liv­ing for the moment. For instance, for the longest time, for the past 400 hun­dred years, 300 years, sort of when­ev­er since they have kept records from, Amer­i­cans have saved sub­stan­tial por­tions of their income. So basi­cal­ly they have socked some­thing away for the future, for their own future, for send­ing their kids to school etc. etc.

But now, peo­ple on aver­age have spent more than they’ve earned, so sav­ings rates are, at times, in the neg­a­tive. It’s also not a coin­ci­dence that there’ll be sec­tions of today’s pop­u­la­tion that for the first time again, almost in human his­to­ry, will live for short­er life spans than their par­ents did. Which is also unprece­dent­ed.

Typ­i­cal­ly life spans have always increased. Peo­ple have lived longer than their par­ents and their par­ents lived longer than their grand­par­ents. And I think that’s an incred­i­ble con­ver­gence and ah – again, I don’t know if there’s nec­es­sar­i­ly a causal­i­ty, but there is cer­tain­ly a cor­re­la­tion. This is all a very long wind­ed way of say­ing that for over­all health and longevi­ty, we can wish for the mod­el of New York to be the mod­el.

Then we have to invest in infra­struc­ture to re-build the things that provide the under­pin­nings of our lifestyle, in big things that will often see their best day, or their best rid­er­ship or the most water flow­ing through them many, many years out in the future. And most of us involved in con­ceiv­ing it, design­ing it, con­struct­ing it, will not be around that day. But you still have to do it because you think of it as a sys­tem. It doesn’t take much to tear things down, after the Sec­ond World War good pub­lic trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture all over the US was com­plete­ly torn down in no time. It takes a long time to build.

So I think we have to take those deci­sions to some­times invest, know­ing that we will not ben­e­fit from that invest­ment our­selves. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wants to rein­tro­duce rail – and in state after state they’re reject­ing that mon­ey, they are basi­cal­ly– they are tak­ing a very short term view of the sit­u­a­tion. It is true that when that train is built, the day that train runs for the very first time, very few peo­ple will ride it.
It will still be the eas­ier option to dri­ve and there will be indeed more cars on the road. But sys­tems start coa­lesc­ing around back­bones. Once you put that kind of back­bone in place then along the route, devel­op­ment starts to hap­pen. Peo­ple start to move there. Val­ues of land go up, den­si­ty starts to hap­pen, and low and behold, in twen­ty years, it’s a very dif­fer­ent thing. To keep that twen­ty-year hori­zon in mind, plus the ten years that it took to build — you have to keep that 30, 35-year hori­zon in mind and go ahead. That is the stuff of vision­ar­ies, but I think there is not enough of that hap­pen­ing.

My last ques­tion is – what is best about New York City’s lifestyle and what would you most like to change?

So what do I like most and what do I like least?

Yes.

I like a lot about New York.

I think I like the stim­u­la­tion and the the inter­ac­tion with the peo­ple, and sit­u­a­tions that hap­pen in New York all the time. When you step out to get lunch and you walk past very inter­est­ing sce­nes, or you sit down to din­ner and there is some con­ver­sa­tion that you over­hear at the next table that is inter­est­ing. So, I like, I like that ran­dom­ness of enrich­ment. Sud­den­ly out of nowhere you get a stim­u­lus that you nev­er expect­ed. And it hap­pens every day. I love that.

Least. What do I least like about it — I think this dis­in­vest­ment that I was talk­ing about, in the pub­lic realm.  The cur­rent city admin­is­tra­tion, which, by the way, we are not a part of – we are part of the state admin­is­tra­tion – the cur­rent city admin­is­tra­tion has I think done a lot I think to keep the phys­i­cal infra­struc­ture up and turn it around and change things around in terms of parks and bike lanes and so forth. But not enough of that has hap­pened. For instance, even in our sys­tem – it is a hun­dred year old sys­tem. It’s a hun­dred and ten year old sys­tem in places. The­se things need major amounts of work. What oth­er hun­dred-year-old sys­tem are we still uti­liz­ing? This is like cross­ing the Atlantic – going to Lon­don — on the Titan­ic. And you know transat­lantic trav­el — for­mer­ly on the Titan­ic, now on an air­lin­er — did not trans­form itself with­out a large mea­sure of pub­lic fund­ing and pub­lic sup­port.

So I think so far there has been, out of neces­si­ty not choice, a lot of duct-tap­ing of the sys­tem and it’s way past due to do more than duct tape it. So that’s what I like least. The pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem, which is a foun­da­tion of this city, needs help from soci­ety, from the peo­ple that use it, and from peo­ple that uti­lize oth­er aspects of a city that is essen­tial­ly found­ed on it. So, there has to be a mea­sure of giv­ing back into the sys­tem.

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pho­tos: Mau­reen Dren­nan (top, mid­dle), Jes­si­ca Bru­ah (bot­tom)

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