noun: highwayman; plural noun: highwaymen
a man, typically on horseback, who held up travelers at gunpoint in order to rob them.
When you get back on a sub-par metropolitan public transit system, especially after a brief respite, there’s sometimes new nuances and customs to learn. I’ve detailed the bad taste in my mouth Colorado’s Regional Transportation District has left after thirteen years of residency and service before, but my most recent return to this town’s buses and trains during arguably the hottest summer this city has ever seen has left me shaking my head in a puzzled, Kafkaesque bewilderment. As the city pushes more and more poor and working class people out, forcing longer commutes, RTD is pushing another fare hike and aggressively pursuing so-called “fare dodgers” on the light rail lines. I don’t know why I even let myself be surprised anymore.
I’ve prepared a graph.
Anecdotally speaking, the vast majority of people I’ve seen ticketed are either underage kids with expired transfers who would be riding on economically negligible fares anyhow, commuters who chanced it instead of missing a train because of slow ticket kiosks and validation processes, and regular, every day people who paid for the “wrong fare.” Armed men, sometimes uniformed security contractors and sometimes plainclothes city police, will board the trains from “random” stops and like hall monitors checking to make sure you’re allowed to be going to the bathroom, pace the aisles checking tickets. If you’re not squared away, they take your identification, take your picture, and put you in a database with a warning. If you’re already in there, you’ll get a ticket for more than $100.
Of course this happened to me.
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Writing about Boulder, Colorado without coming off like an alt-right douchebag is a tall order, doubly so if you’re trying to extrapolate the city’s recent unanimous council vote to ban all high-capacity magazines and so-called “assault weapons”. Really, trying to have a conversation at all about gun bans and private citizen’s access to firearms without sounding like a mouthbreather splitting hairs has become a doozy, thanks to a racist gun lobby that looks morally and ethically compromised as well as the general debating skill-level of your average online firearms enthusiast. I’d hope it goes without saying that listening to a milquetoast Facebook mommy of three with dishwater hair state “I want the boom-boom murder sticks to be put in HOT LAVA” is about as intellectually thrilling as dissecting the finer points of magazine terminology.
Boulder takes about six weeks off of my life for every three hour period I remain within the city limits. The stereotypes are true, South Park is right on the money: it really is a Trustafarian, Birkenstock-wearing NIMBY paradise. It’s both-sides-of-the-mouth liberalism at its finest, highlighted perfectly by its benches preventing the homeless from sleeping and vigilant camping ban while they promote an “entry and transition program”. Boulder is Colorado’s experimental gentrification-condo-hell microcosm, where they find out which new mixed-use developer concept could take root in other surrounding metropolises. Areas of Denver and Fort Collins have taken on eerie Boulder essences, radically changing the character of a variety of neighborhoods to an aesthetic only a sleazy Aspen coke dealer could find appealing. Smoking in public, particularly on Pearl Street, can get you a ticket and if CU is in session, every guy from Ohio that wore a Spiccoli sweatshirt and got into Bob Marley in eighth grade is roaming town trying to put molly in somebody’s drink. Boulder fucking sucks and everybody in Colorado that doesn’t live there or already think of it as some kind of hippie cultural Mecca hates it.
Unsurprisingly, Boulder loves virtue signaling. Maintaining a level of smug self-satisfaction and know-it-all moralism is a bipartisan pastime in this country, and nobody understands that better than Boulder. These are Kucinich voters, ladies and gentleman, but they all live in $1 million homes. Virtue signaling is all the political vitality these people have. That’s an empty tie-dye shirt. What the Boulder City Council accomplished by unanimously passing a blanket firearms ban only hurts their cause, costs taxpayers money, and ultimately usurps the oh-so-sacrosanct democratic process for a brief moment of bullshit political posturing. Continue reading →
As both a longtime Northwestern Denver resident and a self-sabotaging, economically disadvantaged proletarian, public transit development in Colorado is something I pay a lot of attention to. I’m on my second car and I didn’t learn how to drive until I was 19, which was almost ten years ago, and I didn’t own a car until I was almost 21. From about 15 on, I rode Denver’s buses and trains for work, play, and everything in between. One conclusion I think many of my fellow riders can agree on is that RTD, Denver’s Regional Transport District, is fucking horrible.
Much of my early usage with Twitter was primarily to antagonize the intern running the RTD account. Buses very rarely run on time or don’t come at all. More often than not, a trip with more than one transfer is going to get screwed up, and that makes using public transit as a way to reliably commute almost impossible. Unless you’re planning on leaving an hour earlier, which compounds how horrific RTD’s metro transit routing network actually is: an accurate anecdotal estimation is that for every 10-15 minutes it might take to drive somewhere, you can count on at least an hour on a bus. My commute is about a thirty minute drive. Once you factor in the walking, due to the fact that both my destination and my home don’t have have any direct bus service, using public transportation for my commute takes nearly three and a half hours. One way. Inclimate weather? Go fuck yourself. Continue reading →