World Without Oil
The urban bicyclist rides out the oil shock
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WEEK 31: TRANSIT: Struggling to Make it Work in America

Putting trains back on the tracks; the urge to tell stories

It seems as though I was foolhardy. I thought I was exempt. Instead of having a shield rendering me impervious to the rigors of the oil shock (and random food fights), I seem to be surrounded by a mere soap bubble. Pop! Transit's a mess.

oooooh, pachinko's finally talkin' smack

There. I said it. The rails can no longer bear the mismanagement of the last twenty years or so. Steadily, the tracks have lead down underground into a terrible pit of debt. We, the citizens of the fair city of Chicago? We're climbing up from the derailment of the state budget, of under-funded maintenance scheduling. We are choking on electrical fire smoke, and the exits are not well-lit. We are dazed, confused, and perhaps a little surprised that no one's gotten hurt ... yet. It takes a lot of money to keep a transit system running. And, like it or not, it's not really the gate-jumpers and the homeless who are causing the fares to wobble upwards faster than the cost of living can keep pace. It's the management of the system coupled with a state government who is unwilling to fund quickly enough to keep the infrastructure intact.

let's go shopping!

I now have to recalculate my precious number. My glorious ~0.07%. See, I was merely taking my net pay per month, and dividing the cost of my monthly fare card of $75 into it. Math is hard, especially when you're talking about your own hard-won dollars. But now they're going to jack up that fare from $2.00 to $3.75, and I am not even sure this time that they're going to give pass holders a break anymore. Even before the crisis, online communities had been noticing the increase in specific and pressing problems facing public and alternate transit users.

famous last words

While I felt a sort of pang as I read it, I also experienced little surprise over dessum9's revelation today on the WWO blog. I had a feeling that it might come to this, that we might be forced to show our hand. Which is why the time for your stories is needed more than ever. I wrote a little earlier this evening about legacy, and about my need for some sort of record of my days. Even good ol' Chuckles has shown himself to be a big ol' softie as he finds himself looking towards the future with someone new at his side. Even if you're just a kid, or if you've struck out on your own in this big world, it's pretty difficult to deny the importance of the storyteller in all of us. The importance of passing along our collected knowledge and wisdom.

I haven't shared a lot of where I've been. I've felt pretty self-protective, and I've also felt pretty angry, that things got to this point. I worry that we're going to drown in the dregs even deeper than we've been, and this time, my city will come with it. I admit it -- I am addicted to your stories like so many of you have been addicted to fuel.

In fact, you are my fuel, a Greek chorus of dissonant dissent and communal harmony. What we experienced, though, never took a single day. There is no god out of the machine to save the day. It's just us. And our resources, built up through sharing, documenting, innovating. Before life itself pulls us from our purpose here, see what you can create that sheds light and love on the crisis we all survived together. Will we be ready for a next time? Have we made a difference? Send me your signal. Reflecting back by multiples of 8, we're saving the world. Right? Right??

mission so possible, man

Woo me, WWOsters. Gimme a call sometime, send an e-mail, light a signal fire, start the drums a-beating. I need to hear where you are, right now. More than you can ever know. Dial the number, give us a quick update on how you're doing now. Send us a video from this side of the crisis.

How have you changed?

Shout-outs are necessary for: the thinkers, the teachers, the journalists.

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