Posts Tagged: Margaret Thatcher



Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Failures’

Any man who finds himself on a bus over the age of 30 can consider himself a failure in life.

Image by flickr user Renée Turner.

The above quote is generally attributed to former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. And while the exact wording is up for debate, the sentiment remains: The use of public transit represents failure. It is a mode of travel for infants, children and students, nothing more.

The phrase captures almost perfectly the zeitgeist of the Reaganite 1980’s and the aggressive push for deregulation, reduced government and market forces that precluded the collapse of communism in Europe.

I suspect it’s also a sentiment still-shared by much of the western world, akin to renting a home instead of owning one in North America; there’s a stigma attached to it that suggests you’re a loser in the game of life.

It’s not a sentiment I share, but it’s a sentiment that exits.

The question is this: Why does the sentiment exit – indeed, why does it persist? – and how can it be changed? How do we make public transit desirable?

Maybe more important: How do we make public transit something to be coveted rather than something to be scorned?

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