My 97 Seconds of Fame – The Public Transportation Interview

Public transportation has been a topic in the media lately here in Huntsville.  The main question that is being asked is, “Given the surge in gas prices, why hasn’t Huntsville seen the jump in public transportation participation that other major cities have seen?”  Great question.  Many current local political leaders and many candidates running for office (It is an election year) are discussing this question.  I wonder if any of them have tried using the Huntsville Shuttle?  


A few of the readers of this blog know that I have tried getting to and from work using public transportation on two separate occasions (Ride the Bus and Dump the Pump are previous posts that describe my past experiences).  A fraternity brother that reads my blog told a local news reporter about me and the bus.  They wanted to do a story.  I got a call Thursday from the news reporter, and she asked if they could film me riding the bus and interview me on Friday.  I agreed, and this is the news spot that was created.


Blog and Ride


Like all news reports, the whole story was not accurately portrayed.  The report makes it sound like I ride the bus all the time.  The truth is, this was only my third time in three months.  I hope that I have not disrespect those in the community that strictly rely on the bus to get around.  A more objective look at the bus system should also include interviews with regular riders – not just interested outsiders like me.  I hope my experiences have raised awareness to a problem that, if dealt with properly, could significantly improve the quality of life for many residents of this community.  I also have a message to the political leaders – Ride the bus.  Get to know the problem you are discussing.  Get to know the people that are regular riders.  Get their opinions, not just those of your removed-from-reality cohorts.


Like I said in the interview, the bus system is a good service provided by our community, but it really falls short of being an effective alternative to driving.  Huntsville can do better than this.


Other notes from the trip:

  • I got soaked walking home from the bus stop yesterday afternoon.  You gotta love the pop-up thunderstorms in the South.  I should have packed an umbrella.
  • Bennett and I had a great discussion on the ride/walk to work.  We discussed how the constraints and characteristics of this community are self-selecting to those that choose to move here.  We are a low-tax, high individual rights community (Our houses all have high fences and the majority of the people will not give up the freedom that comes with driving their own automobile).  So, when we have a big industry boom like we have now with BRAC, the ones that choose to move here will be the ones looking for low taxes and high individual freedom – not the urbanites looking to live more enmeshed in a community.  More on this topic later.
  • In the interview, I meant to say “living alternatively” not “living an alternative lifestyle”, which has its own connotation.  A lot of people picked up an that phrase and have had a good laugh about it – Including the wife of the associate pastor at church that emailed me and said she supports “Bennett and I in our alternative lifestyle living (with a J)”.  Lesson learned – when speaking to the media, keep your message simple.  It is kinda funny though. 


Filed under Community, Green Team, Huntsville Politics, Observations

8 responses to “My 97 Seconds of Fame – The Public Transportation Interview

  1. Sherill

    I can’t quit laughing about the “alternative lifestyle” comment!

  2. Bennett

    The media had me believing coming out of the closet would be so much more traumatic than it has proven to be. Seems like my idea to let you handle the interview yourself so you could stay “on message” didn’t really work out. I also hope this doesn’t dissuade people from taking public transportation for fear of being stereotyped.

    On a more serious note, I am glad that public transportation is getting a little attention. In my opinion, it isn’t one of the biggest issues facing Huntsville, but I might not have enough appreciation for public transportation. A healthy bus system may at least be indicative of folks being “enmeshed in the community”.

  3. James

    Great stuff Larry. I admire you for not only exploring options in public transportation, but making sure you have a first hand perspective.

    It just seems like we will have to undo the last 25-35 years. As people have moved out of the city in favor or suburbs, a realistic public transportation system seems unlikely. Few cities are set up for such use. However, if you step back and think about it, Huntsville should be on the cutting edge of a some type of light-rail, or train-like system.

    Do you see public transportation in Huntsville as something people could/should use for recreation, or primarily as a means for getting to and from work? Next challenge: the Lowe family takes the bus to see a movie.

  4. sigmugi

    Sherill, I am glad that I amuse you and the Stephens-Reeds.

  5. sigmugi

    Bennett, I am beginning to think the video was a total setup.

  6. sigmugi

    James, Good point on “undoing the last 25-35 years”. Do you take the bus in ATL? I guess you stay pretty close to home. You would think that Huntsville would be a little more technologically progressive, but a project like a light-rail takes coordination by many government, private, and public organizations. While we may have some forward looking engineers and entrepreneurs, we lack forward vision at the civic level. Maybe that will change some day.

    I will try to get to the Rave theater with the kids Thursday. Amanda will be in Big Sky for a conference.

  7. Younger Brother

    Is Huntsville progressive enough for a simple light rail North,South,East,West?

    That would get many riders to work, shopping, grocery, city hall, etc. efficiently and cheaply. Of course we are talking millions (billions) for the rail but it could be done. I hope the leadership of the United States realizes that there is a “buffer zone” of oil cost. A zone where innovation and thinking of different ways to travel must take place. If the cost of oil rises to quickly and remains elevated then there is economic depression which means no money for innovation.

    This is our generation’s version of WWII (how to get off the oil).

    The bus system is a start for Huntsville but unfortunately it is already antiquated and inefficient. Light rail is a pipe dream but a great answer to Huntsville’s needs. I would use it. I loved the rail in D.C. I used it weekly when we went into the city. It was liberating to be able to travel without having to worry about where you left the car.

  8. Pingback: Huntsville Houses – Latest Huntsville Houses news – My 97 Seconds of Fame – The Public Transportation Interview « From …

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