Nick makes a good point about public transit being improved by smart phones.
They’ve made it more fun! When I worked at Microsoft ten years ago, you would occasionally see some twenty-something male bus rider with a Game Boy Advance. But no self-respecting person who’s not a twenty-something male geek would walk around with something like that. The [sic] will, however, walk around with an iPhone or Galaxy Nexus, which they can use to read news, play games, do crossword puzzles, or get some actual work done.
It has long puzzled me why The Seattle Times (for example, but it’s not the only daily paper where it’s true) is so hostile to public transit. I mean I usually write for HA on my laptop (like I’m doing now) when I’m on public transit. But people are always on their phones and reading newspapers and books.
Maybe it’s different for me because of the stories of my grandfather riding into New York City from Connecticut for decades. He started the day with The New York Times, and ended each day with the evening paper. Nowadays, my uncle takes the same route. He reads the paper every morning, and writes letters to his elected officials most evenings. You can’t really do that if you’re in traffic.