Tag Archives: public transportation

Episode 98: Tim Armstrong is a distressed human being (and gentrification in the Bay Area)

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We kick off the show talking about AOL — from digital prophets (that man you see above) to its CEO Tim Armstrong blaming “distressed babies” for the need to roll out a terrible new 401(k) plan).

But we actually spend the majority of the show talking about reinvestment, gentrification, tech companies and the Bay Area (particularly San Francisco). There is a lot all sides in this could do to make this situation better from more housing stock to tech companies that are more invested in the communities they are headquartered in.

Listen to this week’s show:

 

Download the MP3

Show notes:

More people would use public transportation if free wifi was provided

In our connected world, this is the one big advantage that buses, trains and planes can offer over cars:

According to a just-released DePaul University study, riders are more likely than ever to spend their commute plugged in, whether they’re traveling by plane, train or bus. All told, more than 90 percent of passengers use a digital device at some point during their trip. And more often than not, it’s a device with a screen, rather than a cell phone or iPod.

That in itself isn’t so surprising: the proliferation of handheld technology means it’s almost impossible to disconnect. More interesting is this little nugget, from a blog post by researcher Joseph Schwieterman:

A survey we administered to riders waiting at curbside boarding locations showed that almost half consider Wi-Fi important when they choose a travel mode, and about 55% plan to send texts or emails on their trip. The ability to freely use portable devices, while undoubtedly less important than the low fares, helps explain why so many affluent travelers now hop on curbside buses, even when travel times are longer. With more than 400 daily departures, this sector has grown by more than 25% annually over the past several years.

More people are getting smartphones, which makes public transportation more appealing. You can do work, surf the Web, go on social media, watch videos, etc. But not every device has a data plan. There tens of millions of wifi-only iPads. There are even more iPod touches and similar devices.

Will we see more people demanding public transportation because that will allow them to stay connected while commuting?