A couple weeks ago the New York Times published an interview with Vincent Kartheiser, the actor who plays the character everyone loves to hate on AMC’s Mad Men, Pete Campbell. The article details a night in the life of the young star, a guy who just happens to be a big fan of mass transit.
“It’s wonderful,” he said. “Instead of driving and being stressed out about traffic, you can work your scene, you can do your exercises or whatever on the bus. Everyone’s got their own deal.”
While I’m interested in what kind of exercises he’s doing on the bus and how exactly he works that scene, Mr. Kartheiser goes on to discuss a topic of even more importance — the attitudes of younger people towards public transportation. He’s right to believe that fewer young adults are driving these days– according to Kiplinger’s, motorists aged 21 to 30 now account for 14% of miles driven, down 7% since 1995.
Reasons for the trend are probably a mixture of economic and social factors. Of course, young adults just starting out in the down economy often don’t have the funds required to purchase and maintain a vehicle, but the budget friendly bus also provides a safe haven for the ever-connected Generation Y to multi-task on their commute. For young people it seems, cars are starting to be seen as harmful to the environment and a waste of time.
All this is great news for fans of public transit. Now about those exercises…