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Airport bus, bags and the lessons we should be learning, but likely won't

Metro Transit should change its anti-mother stroller policy.

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Metro Transit's airport bus started today, which is welcome news. I doubt that many air travellers will use the bus---besides cash-strapped students travelling for the holidays, I think most people who can afford to fly (and all business travellers, who travel on someone else's dime) can afford the convenience of door-to-door transport that cabs provide. More likely, most of the riders on the airport bus will be employees of businesses in the airport business park, followed by Fall River commuters.

But still, cash -strapped students and other air travellers who find the bus convenient will benefit, and employees and commuters need transport too; simply pointing out that most air travellers won't much use the bus doesn't mean that I'm opposed to it.

I think it's important, however, to understand that this bus serves primarily as a subsidy to airport businesses, who now have to pay premium wages to attract employees, who up to now have had to shell out lots of money for gas and car maintenance to get to work every day. It'd be great if suddenly those employees effectively earned hundreds of dollars more a month, but more likely what will happen is airport businesses will adjust their wage scales downward.

That's precisely why the airport businesses have long advocated for an airport bus, and why the airport itself put up some of the capital costs of acquiring the bus. I can only hope that the broader business community learns the lesson: Transit is a benefit to businesses; a decent transit system lowers wage costs.

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