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Techno Travails


It would seem that the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District is operated by car-driving technophiles, with little empathy with the experience of the daily ridership.

For years now, loud two-way (driver-terminal) radios have been played. Recently, a new “ticker-tape” bilingual announcement system has been introduced. Rare is the 10-15 minute ride in which one is not requested to move to the back of the bus so other passengers can enter, even though the bus is usually far from crowded. At random times, one is admonished not to spit, to wear shoes and shirts, not to smoke nor throw things out the window — though in many years I have not observed such attempted conduct on the bus. In the past month I must have heard the “move-to-the-back-of-the bus’” announcement close to 100 times.

These intrusive technologies make it more difficult for riders to relax, read …



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