On the Line: Mass Transit

 ========= Old Image Removed =========Array
    [_wp_attached_file] => Array
            [0] => 2006/11/bus.jpg

    [_wp_attachment_metadata] => Array
            [0] => a:5:{s:5:"width";i:1080;s:6:"height";i:723;s:4:"file";s:15:"2006/11/bus.jpg";s:5:"sizes";a:12:{s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-336x225.jpg";s:5:"width";i:336;s:6:"height";i:225;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:5:"large";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-771x516.jpg";s:5:"width";i:771;s:6:"height";i:516;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-140x140.jpg";s:5:"width";i:140;s:6:"height";i:140;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:12:"medium_large";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-768x514.jpg";s:5:"width";i:768;s:6:"height";i:514;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:13:"bus-80x80.jpg";s:5:"width";i:80;s:6:"height";i:80;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-800x450.jpg";s:5:"width";i:800;s:6:"height";i:450;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-600x600.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:600;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-465x311.jpg";s:5:"width";i:465;s:6:"height";i:311;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-396x265.jpg";s:5:"width";i:396;s:6:"height";i:265;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:28:"ab-block-post-grid-landscape";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-600x400.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:400;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:25:"ab-block-post-grid-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-600x600.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:600;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:15:"bus-125x125.jpg";s:5:"width";i:125;s:6:"height";i:125;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}}s:10:"image_meta";a:12:{s:8:"aperture";s:1:"0";s:6:"credit";s:0:"";s:6:"camera";s:0:"";s:7:"caption";s:132:"A TriMet MAX light rail train and bus side-by-side on the Portland Mall, on 5th Ave. at Yamhill St., in 2011. Photo by Steve Morgan.";s:17:"created_timestamp";s:1:"0";s:9:"copyright";s:0:"";s:12:"focal_length";s:1:"0";s:3:"iso";s:1:"0";s:13:"shutter_speed";s:1:"0";s:5:"title";s:56:"Bus and MAX on 5th at Yamhill. Steve Morgan photo, 2011.";s:11:"orientation";s:1:"0";s:8:"keywords";a:0:{}}}

    [_imagify_data] => Array
            [0] => a:2:{s:5:"stats";a:3:{s:13:"original_size";i:0;s:14:"optimized_size";i:0;s:7:"percent";i:0;}s:5:"sizes";a:1:{s:4:"full";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}}}

    [_imagify_status] => Array
            [0] => already_optimized

    [_imagify_optimization_level] => Array
            [0] => 1



Critics have called mass transit in Birmingham, a very little –
bit of both: mass and transit. Not many people use it, and for those whose livelihood depend on it there’s not much moving around. Why doesn’t mass transit have mass appeal? Join WBHM’s Steve Chiotakis and and a panel of guests for a two-hour discussion of the future of mass transportation in and around Birmingham.
This edition of On the Line was originally broadcast November 6th from 7-9 p.m.

John Archibald is metro columnist for The Birmingham News, with the job
of covering issues and uncovering mischief in the seven metropolitan
counties. He has worked at the paper for almost two decades as beat
reporter, investigative reporter, database editor and now columnist.
He’s been called a lot of names, but his favorite description came in a
recent letter to the editor: “John Archibald: Public nag.”


Marva V. Douglas is the former Chairman Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Advisory Committee. She has had a varied career as a writer, teacher, actor, model, public speaker and business owner. She is a native of Charleston, South Carolina and a graduate of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. Marva has done further study toward a master’s degree in public and private management at Birmingham Southern College. In 1991, Marva retired from South Central Bell Telephone Company where she worked as a writer in public relations for 18 years. Prior to moving to Birmingham and working for South Central Bell, she was employed with the New York City Board of Education 12 years.




Paul Vercher was named Public Policy Director for the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce in June of 2000. He was promoted to his current position in November of 2005. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Political Science. In 2002, he completed the four-year Institute for Organization Management program at the University of Georgia. He is currently in his third year of a four year Juris Doctorate program at the Birmingham School of Law. Mr. Vercher started his political career serving on the staff of Senator Richard Shelby. He has held governmental affairs positions with the Business Council of Alabama, the Alabama Rural Electric Association, and Governor Fob James.




David C. Hill has over 33 years experience in all phases of mass public transportation. David has served BJCTA as the Director of Operations & Maintenance and Interim Executive Director before being appointed Executive Director in October 2005. Prior to his employment with BJCTA, David held various positions with Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas, TX, and the City of Detroit, Department of Transportation, Detroit, MI. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Relations & Business and a Masters in Business Administration in Strategic Leadership from Amberton University, Garland, Texas.


What’s it like to ride the bus?

WBHM’s Rosemary Pennington – a fond user of mass transit in other cities – used MAX to travel from her home in Vestavia to the WBHM studios on Birmingham’s Southside. What did she find in her trip, and how long did it take? You could say it’s a flashback to her childhood, waiting for the bus – this one not so yellow – on a cold October morning…

Riding the bus

Hmmm…a ride on the thought train.

Take a ride on an ethereal train — built by WBHM’s Steve Chiotakis. It’s a train that’s not running right now, but could be years from now. One that stops in cities all across the Birmingham area, that serves its people, black and white and Latino, school age or elderly. Shoppers or workers. For leisure or mobility. Listen how people in different parts of town feel about mass transit. Would they take this train from one area to another? Is it feasible to construct such a system? And hear why Birmingham can’t (or maybe can) be like other major cities with sprawling suburbs and connect the dots?

Ride the thought train

Private Roads

So here’s a question: we get most of our products and services from private sector — water, electricity, telephones. How about having roads provided privately…would that make things better? You might be surprised to hear that privatized roads began centuries ago in the United States. Two-hundred years ago, there were ten thousand miles of private toll roads. But, by the early 20th century, progressive felt roads would be better run by the government and private toll roads fell out of popularity. They’re making a comeback, though – as documented in Gabriel Roth’s new book “Smart Street: Competition, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Roads.” Roth spoke with WBHM’s Tanya Ott.

Private roads?

Buses in Mexico

We often assume that everything is better in more developed countries. But when Mexico correspondent Conrad Fox recently visited the United States, he found himself longing for Mexican buses. And he wondered how Americans without cars get by. He sent us this reporter’s notebook.

Mexican busses


Court ruling offers temporary victory for Alabama birth centers

The preliminary injunction requires Alabama public health officials to license birth centers that meet certain national standards.

Judges aiming to give Black voters more influence in Alabama set to redraw congressional districts

U.S. District Judge Stanley Marcus, noting a ruling will be issued “shortly,” said the three-judge panel is aware of the time constraints posed by elections next year when the state's seven U.S. House seats will be on the ballot. The court could rule as early as this week.

What would a government shutdown mean for me?

If a shutdown arrives, millions of federal employees will be furloughed and many others — including those working in the military and the Transportation Security Administration — will be forced to work without pay until it ends.

In Alabama’s Paint Rock Valley, researchers count every tree thicker than a pencil

In an effort to better understand the biodiversity of north Alabama, scientists are conducting a “tree census,” with the goal of studying roughly 100,000 trees for 50 years.

State Rep. John Rogers charged with obstruction of justice

The indictment accuses Rogers, a Democrat from Birmingham, and his assistant of offering additional grant money as a bribe to persuade a person to give false information to federal agents who were investigating possible kickbacks that prosecutors said were paid to Rogers' assistant.

After 12 years and a pandemic, Jefferson County’s health officer steps down

Dr. Mark Wilson is well-known for leading residents through the COVID-19 pandemic, but his legacy includes a larger effort to expand the role of public health.

More News Coverage