People older than I am usually consider cars to be freedom. People younger than I am often consider their cars to be necessary nuisances. It is important that the managers of Metro understand and listen to the youthful base of potential customers. They are the riders and voters Metro very much needs.
Participants in the Urban St. Louis website, many of them young and suspicious of their cars, proposed in 2006 that Metro consider using Google Transit, a free Google navigational tool that marries public transportation schedules to its popular Google Maps service. At that time, only one public transit agency in the country had collaborated with Google to provide the on-line service. Two years later, more than 60 US transit agencies including Atlanta, Kansas City, Denver, Portland, and Minneapolis have worked out agreements with Google for the planning service. Starting last week, Chicago residents who need help finding their way around Metra can use Google Transit, in addition to Metraʼs own proprietary trip-planning system. But, not Metro. Not yet.
Metro’s leader, Bob Baer, is a forward-thinking guy, though I don’t know if he reads blogs. I am going to suggest to Bob that Metro, which is likely to be introducing some major changes in its service soon, take this suggestion and earn some goodwill among its riders.