City bus
(Photo credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York / Flickr)

In many cities, riding the bus can mean enduring a long trip and unexpected delays.

“We have to do a better job because better transit and better buses are essential to solving inequality in our cities … and confronting the climate crisis,” says Steven Higashide of TransitCenter.

He says improving bus systems could encourage more people to use mass transit instead of cars. And it would give non-drivers access to more jobs and opportunities.

But decision-makers often lack the political will to pursue upgrades like designated bus lanes and more frequent service.

“Bus riders are more often low-income people, people of color, young people – and for all those reasons, they’re discounted in the planning decisions,” he says.

Higashide says if riders and advocacy groups organize, they can push officials to prioritize buses.

And unlike hyperloops or self-driving cars, bus systems are here and now. So making them faster and more reliable could provide almost immediate benefits.

“We’re going to give people more mobility and freedom and we’re going to confront the climate crisis and inequality all at the same time,” Higashide says.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.