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Should Public Transportation Be Treated as a Human Right?

Throughout the world, public transportation is one of the most universal and basic forms of travel. Whether it be by bus, rail, or other method, public transportation makes getting around cities and regions much easier for those who don’t have a vehicle of their own.

With that said, the question of whether public transportation should be treated as a human right is complex and depends on context. Ultimately, the goal should be to provide equitable and affordable transportation options for all members of society, taking into account the specific needs and challenges of each community.

How Do People View Public Transportation?

Public transportation is an important part of certain people’s everyday lives, helping them in a variety of ways:

  • Getting to work
  • Commuting to doctor’s appointments
  • Running errands
  • Building community
  • Reducing traffic congestion

A poll from Pollfish tried to gauge how access to public transportation should be treated. Based on the results, most of those that were asked believed that it should be treated as a basic human right:

  • 73% yes
  • 27% no

However, not everyone views public transportation the same way, especially if they have to interact with buses and trains on their daily commute.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Transportation?

Like any form of transportation, there are both good things and bad things about public transportation and the vehicles involved. While they help a certain segment of the population, it also provides certain challenges for others. Here’s a look at the advantages and disadvantages of public transportation:

Advantages

  • Public transportation is usually much more feasible economically than owning a personal vehicle. It allows you to save money on fuel, maintenance, and parking.

  • Public transit can reduce the carbon footprint as it typically produces fewer emissions per passenger mile compared to private vehicles.

  • More people using public transport means fewer cars on the road, which can lead to decreased traffic congestion and shorter commute times.

  • Public transportation provides mobility options for those who don’t own cars, such as the elderly, disabled individuals, and those who can’t afford a car.

  • Trains and buses are generally more energy-efficient per passenger mile than personal vehicles, contributing to energy conservation.

  • Public transportation is statistically safer than private car travel, with fewer accidents and fatalities per passenger mile.

  • A well-developed public transportation system can boost the local economy by providing employment opportunities and improving access to businesses and services.

Disadvantages

  • Public transportation follows fixed routes and schedules, which can be less convenient for people with specific time or destination requirements.

  • At peak times, buses and trains can become overcrowded, leading to discomfort and longer travel times.

  • Some areas may not have adequate public transportation options, leaving residents in those areas dependent on personal vehicles.

  • The condition and cleanliness of public transport vehicles and infrastructure can vary, and in some cases, they may not meet the desired standards.

  • Passengers may have concerns about safety and security while using public transportation, especially in certain areas or during late hours.

  • Depending on the system, passengers may need to make multiple transfers to reach their destination, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.

  • Delays and service interruptions can disrupt travel plans, making public transportation less reliable for those on tight schedules.

Again, the attitude that most people have as it relates to public transportation usually depends on their needs and daily interactions with it. Like any other form of transportation, though, there’s always the chance of an accident with injuries. That’s why it’s important to understand what you can do legally to recover.

Options After a Public Transportation Accident

Depending on the type of public transportation you decide to use or interact with, various accidents may occur. Worse yet, there are a variety of different causes and potential injuries that result from these incidents. Regardless of the type, public transportation is held to the same liability standards as other vehicles in California. Operators and companies can be held responsible for accidents if they are negligent. The four elements of negligence are:

  • A legal duty to avoid causing accidents.
  • Breach of that duty by the operator or company.
  • You or someone else getting injured in an accident.
  • Showing that the operator or company’s breach of duty caused the injury.

Multiple parties can be liable in these types of accidents, potentially leading to more compensation due to involvement of multiple insurance companies. Parties that could be held liable include:

  • The driver or operator
  • Manufacturers responsible for defective parts
  • The company that leased the vehicle
  • Passengers who distracted the driver
  • Maintenance personnel

Additionally, if another vehicle driver’s recklessness caused the accident, they could be held liable. Improperly maintained roads could lead to the local government or responsible entity being found liable. Determining the liable parties is one aspect; the other is assessing your damages.

Recoverable damages in a public transportation accident claim may include:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future income
  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Costs related to disfigurement or permanent injury

As with any accident, what you’re able to ultimately get back in terms of damages depends on several different factors, from the extent of your injuries to the level of liability placed on everyone involved. One thing you can do to make sure you get the compensation you deserve is to work with experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyers.

Maison Law’s team of California personal injury lawyers have the knowledge and resources to make sure your case goes as smoothly as possible. If you or a loved one have been injured in a California public transportation accident, contact them today for a free consultation.

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