Friday, September 17, 2021

Masked Not Masked

 RantWoman brain is full of Things Needing to be Said. RantWoman read BusChick's Everday Impossible and needs to add to the list. 

RantWoman is impressed by the description of the rider, her clothing, her presence, RantWoman is also attempting to untangle some assumptions about who is most likely to live on the end of the 27 route.

First, the assertion of personal standards (and judgmentalism?)

The woman described in the post commits two transit peccadillos: she pays no fare and she declines the driver's request to put on a mask.

RantWoman has complicated opinions about fare payment. 

RantMom, like RantWoman is white, college educated and mostly transit-dependent by choice. Well, there's that part about RantMom not wanting to figure out apps, but if RantMom can get life done on transit, she is happy. RantMom sometimes clucks about people who don't pay their fare. RantMom also has a hearing loss so she is not always aware of people's pleas about the topic. And the RantSisters are keeping our eye on the possibility that we might need to encourage changes in travel practices for a number of reasons. 

RantWoman once silently cheered on a Sunday morning ride to worship: two young presumably able-bodied African American youth got on carrying gigantic lattes and didn't have bus fare. The motherly African American bus driver gave them a good lecture about financial priorities and, as is the norm, let them ride. RantWoman expects a white driver should do the same thing to white youth in aparallel situation.

For herself, RantWoman gets WAY more out of the transit system than what she pays for a monthly bus pass.  This is true even in #pandemic times when RantWoman is travelling way fewer days than in the before times. RantWoman could in fact probably save money just using her ORCA wallet. Somehow though, this little bit of fiscal recklessness is both RantWomans's faith in plenty and part of the things RantWoman maintains just to keep her own act together.

RantWoman is familiar with the argument that financing transit primarily with sales taxes is extremely regressive so transit should just be free. RantWoman is not current about which "socialist hellholes" have both free transit and much less economic inequality than the US. RantWoman appreciates the existence of several different low-income and youth fares in Seattle. And RantWoman bloody well wants people with means not only to appreciate the value of transportation services but also to be invested in all the other planning and infrastructure decisions that, in an age of climate change and real estate bubbles help people live together well and compactly.

In short, RantWoman is not particularly distressed about this account of non-fare payment if only because it gives RantWoman another opportunity to state her own perspectives.

Now we come to mask-wearing. 

It's the law. It's also just a REALLY GOOD IDEA. And courteously doing  what a bus driver asks is also definitely preferable. Yes, and in this case at the end of a route when the bus is not crowded and social distancing is easy. So RantWoman thinks it was reasonable of the driver to ask, and also that this moment of mask non-compliance is WAY more tolerable  than some moments of driver fortitude RantWoman has observed. RantWoman also thinks precious moments of freedom like this are one reason keeping the ends of bus routes matters.

Then there's the E line and a driver one day trying to persuade a non-cooperative woman in a wheelchair both to wear a mask and to work at ways her wheelchair could be secured. Maybe the driver should have made her wait for the next bus because the bus was close to SRO and one of the wheelchair spots was already in use. The woman was large and one leg protruded more than for many wheelchair users. Articulating anything about how to judge turning radius was not going to be her thing. The driver worked for several minutes on loading her. The other wheelchair user got off at the next stop and positions got sorted out much better, but the whole situation left RantWoman thinking, among other things, that every driver on the system in times of #COVID deserves full medical coverage!

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