The Cattle Car Makes a Comeback

Do we really need any further evidence that high gasoline prices are causing more and more people to switch to public transit?

The Chicago Transit Authority has recently announced that all seats will be removed from some of the cars used on their commuter trains during rush hour. As many as 50 additional passengers can be crammed into each of the seatless cars.

Typically, in an eight-car train, two cars will be of the standing-room-only version, meaning that an extra 100 people can be accommodated on every train … although “accommodated” really doesn’t seem like the right word here.

Reaction from Chicago commuters has apparently been very negative but, according to CTA authorities, the alternative is that those 100 people would have to be left behind on the platform.

Meanwhile, back here in Hawaii, opponents of Honolulu’s proposed transit system have apparently been successful in getting a build-or-don’t-build question on the November ballot. There are signs of hope that clear-thinking will eventually prevail: A recent poll indicates that some 60% of Oahu residents are in favor of the project.