With a population of 50,000 plus residents, Hattiesburg is seen as the fifth largest city in the state of Mississippi. It is also known as, “Hub City of the South” and is home to The University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University, Antonelli College, Pearl River Community College, and Healing Touch School of Massage Therapy. This population in itself consists of 24,355 college students which is not including the hundreds of faculty and staff members hired to assist.
Although Hattiesburg is mostly looked upon as a college town, it holds a number of family businesses and has numerous amounts of agricultural land. Locals (from Petal, Brookhaven, Jackson, Gulf Port) and even natives of New Orleans come to visit on a regular basis. The city of Hattiesburg is continuously expanding and many new innovative means have been created with its development for advancement. However, the city lacks an important element that can help make any town more modernized, which is an effective public transportation system.
Public transportation systems are said to be for a means of helping people make their daily lives easier at a low cost. Not only do these systems provide convenience to people in urban areas they also are designed to reduce the traffic congestion, or at least not increase the rate at which it already is. These benefits all sound great for advancing the productivity of Americans, however, when a person thinks about public transportation they automatically think that it is a way of helping everyone. But this is not true. Professor at University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Steven Dutch, says, “the mass transit really didn’t save much time, especially counting waiting time at both ends and the transfer from bus to subway. And it was impossible to do anything productive riding mass transit. Plus there was no privacy or peace and quiet” (Why Don’t People Use Mass Transit).
This is to say that what works for some does not work fall all. Some people might prefer public transportation methods and may see drivers as selfish while drivers might see public transportation users as lazy. Arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of public city transit have been bought to surface to be questioned over the years. These questions are predominantly dealing with how can the systems be perfected and how can businesses bring more attraction to them. In the article, “Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science,” Joseph F. Zimmerman points out many helpful opinions but he also says, “the transportation system is undoubtedly the major force among the dynamic forces that influence the rate and development of urban areas” (214). Which is saying that in order to improve a city, the means of public transportation must be readily usable for the people of developing cities. So, the questions that have been raised must be answered to bring success to public transportation services.
Apparently, the people with the most concerns about public transportation systems and their problems are the individuals who actually use the system for their own personal use. This is understandable, but can be seen as a problem. Many Americans have knowledge that public transportation systems are available in their area but still stray away from them. This act is what leads to systems failing due to the fact that not enough awareness is raised to support all of the systems maintenance and environmental costs. In many larger cities, such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Oregon, public transportation systems are known for being largely effective systems.
In big cities such as these, public city transit is not seen as a big problem because it is much easier to use this resource rather than finding parking in such a congested city. Another reason for its effectiveness is because the local government and federal government have developed a close relationship for the funding of public transportation in regards to creating an efficient, cheap alternative to driving for the people in these urban areas. Although problems do arise in these cities they are not seen as critical as the problems in rural, smaller cities.
In most smaller cities that have a running public transportation system, the problems that arise are problems with the money, the scheduling, the distance to and from bus stops, the number of bus stops, and the crowds that they do not attract. An example of a poor public transportation system is The Mass Transit Division in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The public transportation system for The Hub City is said to be here to create an advanced means for traveling, which is one step closer to modernizing the city. But, it only provides a limited amount of bus services for the people which are three fixed routes beginning at 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., running every hour, servicing Monday through Friday. Unlike any other developing city, Hattiesburg lacks railway systems and effective taxi services. It is said that America is trying to maintain a low income society, therefore, the service is only available for a limited amount of time. Along with this the geographical region is not developed enough to have running train and subway systems. These limitations restrict rural cities to having advanced technology comparable to the other up-to-date, more modernized, urban, larger cities.
With cars being symbols of status wealth, people that have them do not think about helping those without. An internet article says, “It is seen that Americans’ tilt towards driving cars is more than availing public transit. The price, pace, and power of cars render them images of social rank, and auto marketers have been quick to take advantage of this, deliberately manufacturing some cars as luxurious and others as costly” (Public Transit). In so many words, this is to say that some people are too prideful to ride anything less than what they can call their own that they have purchased from an over-priced dealership. Public transportation can be an effective way to help a society but the lack of support from the right political and social groups causes trouble with expanding the service.
The definition says that public transportation is, “buses, trains, subways, and other forms of transportation, that charge set fares, run on fixed routes, and are available to the public” (Oxford Dictionaries). This definition can be held accountable for when discussions about larger cities transportation systems come into conversations, but not so much for rural areas, such as Hattiesburg. Although the Hub City Transit has buses, three fixed routes, and set fares of $0.50 for adults, $0.25 for children (ages five-high school students), $0.25 for senior citizens, and $0.25 for the disabled, that is not enough to run an effective transportation system. With such a growing population, public transportation should be easily accessible for the people ready to use even if that means increasing prices to assist with the overall funding of the Hub City Transit.
Conversations about cars, from Chevy’s to Dodges to Fords, are more common than conversations about people using public transportation systems that are provided to help the people of communities. However, in some places people are forced to only have these conversations about cars because their public transportation resources are limited, as stated before. One reason that can be seen for this is poverty. Poverty can be described as, “the state of being extremely poor” (Oxford Dictionaries). This is helpful to know when discussing advancements for Mississippi because the state is seen as a poverty state by many Americans that have done studies and research regarding this topic.
According to Leonard Jack Jr. in “Thinking Aloud About Poverty and Health in Mississippi,” he claims “poverty in Mississippi is similar to or worse than poverty in some third world countries.” Jack’s article includes many insightful opinions that regard the health and public transportation dilemma across the nation, but most importantly in Mississippi. To accomplish this, Jack begins by quoting an article in the Washington Post that says, “A lot of people believe it’s got to be cheap to live there [rural area] and food has got to be more available. But cheap is relative to income. Your ability to move yourself around is limited. There is no public transportation” (A71). Jack does this to emphasize the fact that poor health, such as diseases, and lack of resources, such as a running bus system, are the main causes for poverty. In order to fix this problem, a major nationwide economical change must occur.
At the time of Jack Leonard Jr.’s article publication, he held the title as an Associate Dean and a Professor of Public Health. He has studied at Jackson State University and now has progressed to hold higher positions at Xavier University. He currently serves as Director, Center for Health Minority & Health Disparities Research and Education; Endowed Chair of Minority Health; and Professor in the Division of Clinical and Administrative Services in the College of Pharmacy at Xavier University of Louisiana. Further examination of his articles regarding Mississippi poverty can serve as a means of generating discussion about why Mississippians lack in getting ahead.
Research from Edward L.Glaeser, Matthew E. Kahn, and Jordan Rappaport shows that the poor flock to metropolitan areas and the rich look for cheap rural land because, “the poor live in city centers as long as the income elasticity of demand for land is greater than the income elasticity of travel costs per mile” (Role of Public Transportation). A reason for this accusation is that the poor will always have a means of traveling in bigger cities versus being in rural areas with no means of transportation unless they phone a friend. Whereas the rich have reliable means of traveling if they live far out.
With discussions about rural areas, agricultural lands come into conversations because for miles that is the only visible sight. Bill Bramwell and Bernard Lane address this in their article, “ Rural Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development” when they say, “the countryside is highly valued for its inherent variety of landscape, habitat, and human heritage” (Rural). Which is seen as another problem with the development of Mississippi. Although the landscape is a means for agriculture, there can be a limit set for how much is accessible for each side in order for them to both benefit. Both sides meaning, agricultural land and advancement for public transportation land.
In order to improve the poverty in the United Sates, preferably Hattiesburg, Mississippi, changes must occur. Yes, it is clear that there are many economical issues that may take time to fix, but they have been put off for too long. This is only making matters worse. Steps for reducing the health issues, chronic diseases, and teenage pregnancies all rely on developing an effective public transportation system. In the scholarly, peer-reviewed article, “Public Administration Review,” Naomi Bailin Wish argues that, “the kind of city we live in today is largely the product of our transportation to system” (Transportation).
This is saying that the means of travel is highly important in a society. This can also tie into the appearance of the citizens in a city. For example, Northerners vs Southerners. Northerners are typically more slim and fit while Southerners are thick and obese. This has to do with 1) the geographical region and 2) the ability of getting to and from places without having to travel far distances (time). These problems can easily be turned around by getting more agricultural land readily to use, decreasing the time the buses travel from an hour to every thirty minutes, expand the distance traveled, providing more taxi cabs, and pairing with the federal government to increase the budget for The Hub City Transit.
These improvements have seemed to work for other transit services as well. So, in order to get the best results when revamping the Hub City Transit it will be a good idea to incorporate methods that other cities, states, and countries have used to reconstruct their systems. An example of this would be using the concept of TriMet. TriMet is a public mass transit in a region that involves most of the Portland metropolitan area. This transit service replaced five private bus companies that operated in three counties. The same results can be possible for the city of Hattiesburg if the correct steps are taken to combine every public transportation system around to provide the best service for the city of Hattiesburg and surrounding areas. The process may not be the easiest, but with the appropriate amount of time, dedication, funds, and planning the Hub City Transit can develop into an successful, effective, and modern public transportation system to enhance the city of Hattiesburg, Misissippi.
Bramwell, Bill, and Bernard Lane. Rural Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development: Proceedings of the Second International School On Rural. Development, 28 June-9 July 1993, University College Galway, Ireland. Clevedon, Avon, England: Channel View Publications, 1994. eBook. Collection. Web. 23 Oct 2014. Dutch, Steven. “Why Don’t People Use Mass Transit?” N.p. 2 June 2010. Web. 23 Oct 2014. Glaeser, Edward L., Matthew E. Kahn, and Jordan Rappaport. Why do the poor live in cities? The role of public transportation. Journal of Urban Economics 63, no. 1: 1-24. 2008. Print. Jack, Leonard Jr. Prev Chronic Dis. 2007 July; 4(3): A71. Web. 23 October 2014. “Poverty.” 1 Def. Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford, 2014. Web. 23 Oct 2014. “Public transportation.” 1 Def. Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford, 2014. Web. 23 Oct 2014. “Public Transit Has A Serious Image What Can Be Done To Imorove This And Attract Choice Riders” 21 April 2008. Web. 13 November. 2014 Wish, Naomi Bailin. Improving Policy Making in Public Transportation. Public Administration Review, Vol 42, No. 6 (Nov-Dec, 1982) pp. 530-545 Zimmerman, Joseph F. Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, Vol.
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