Free transit pilots are popping up around the world as the pandemic rages on — and so are heated debates about whether they'll stymie agencies' efforts to delivery the high-quality service that U.S. riders need. But what if those arguments are missing something fundamental about why we commodify basic mobility in the first place, and the many ways marginalized people are impacted when they can't afford a fare?
American culture, and particularly American transportation culture, is profoundly rooted in the idea that traveling fast is best — because if we don't, that culture insists, we won't be able to make or spend money efficiently enough to retain our position as a global economic superpower. But it doesn't have to be that way — and we don't have to live in a dromocracy. Here's why.