While idling at the light by the Walmart on Route 130, I glanced over to see the bus stop filled with trash and a shopping cart turned on its side. Someone crafted a bench from the cart so they could sit and rest while waiting. The trash accumulated because there was no receptacle at this bus stop. Some may say if you put a bench there, the unhoused population will set up shop and make a home there, however, I feel that people who take public transportation should be treated with respect and provided with a shelter from the sun and rain and provided with a basic bench along with a trash receptacle. Yes, someone would have to be responsible for maintaining it, emptying the trash, and keeping it clean, but isn’t that what we should expect as a society?
After spending some time as a tourist in Italy recently using public buses, trains, and boats to get around, I realized that our society is more invested in private than public transport – to our own detriment. Maybe if the experience of using public transportation was made more convenient and enjoyable, then we would want to leave our cars at home and take a short walk to a station, kick back and enjoy the scenery while getting where we want to go. I hope someday to see sleek, modern, high-speed rail lines like the ones in Europe running across the country and up and down the corridors so that instead of having to book a flight to go from New Jersey to Florida we could hop on a train and be there in three or four hours. Let’s start by adding some beauty to what we already have and at least provide a clean place to sit while waiting for the bus.