From point A to point B, passing through the transit

A bogus debate between two views on any city’s public transit system. It’s a bogus debate because both sides are right.

JON: Every transportation system exists for one purpose only: to transport someone or something from point A to point B. It’s as simple as that.

RON: Yeah, it’s as simple as that with some thingbut it’s not always so simple with some a. People are not commodities. They are curious. They want to know what they don’t know and go where they haven’t gone before.

JON: Lane Transit District has great tools for getting to almost anywhere in central Lane County. Their trip planner can show you how to get where you want to go.

RON: Their maps and schedules tell you a lot more than that. They tell you where others are going. If you’ve never heard the names “Gateway” or “PeaceHealth” or “Autzen” before, the system may be telling you that something big is going on there.

JON: People want efficiency. LTD schedules are designed to save people time.

RON: Yes, and if you have spare time, browsing the system for an hour or two will show you new places and new people.

JON: LTD’s RideSource can literally take you door to door. It’s almost as convenient as driving your own car.

RON: Convenience isn’t all that matters. Driving your own car can be a lot more expensive, worse for the planet, and only a little faster.

JON: Americans need speed. We like the open road. The car is king.

RON: Learning what the transit system can do gives us something else we love: options!

JON: The options are great, but sometimes people need simplicity. Google Maps can do most of what LTD’s Trip Planner does. And everyone has Google on their phone.

RON: It’s great for work or going to a particular store. I use Google Maps to discover new, faster ways to get somewhere. I like to learn new things!

JON: So you agree that getting somewhere efficiently is important?

RON: Not always. Exploration is important to Oregonians. You can see a lot of things along the way when someone else is driving.

JON: LTD does not operate tourist buses. No one is looking out the windows. They look at their phones.

RON: Try taking the LTD Route 91 bus to the McKenzie River. Sit on the right side to watch the river. Bring your bike. Get off at any time and cycle home, downhill.

JON: Well, I guess you can’t do that with your car.

RON: And it’s cheap. A full day pass to use the entire system costs $3.50. If you are a student or senior, it’s free. You can go anywhere the system can take you.

JON: You make a good point.

RON: I think of the transit map and timetables as the table of contents of a book. It’s not the town itself, but it gives you plenty of clues as to what you’ll find there.

JON: So we don’t agree on the transit because we open different books. You see a city as a bestseller. I see it as a dictionary or a phone book.

RON: Yeah, it’s true. If you just want to reach a destination, get an answer, your book is the right approach. If the destination matters less than the journey, use mine.

JON: Whichever way you approach it, the book or the city has no real ending.

RON: My version does. You can read a city’s index by walking through its cemeteries.

JON: Yes, that makes sense. Everyone who is important to the book or to the city ends up there – in the index or in the cemetery.

Don Kahle ( writes a column every Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

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