Millennials love public transit, survey says
Millennials don’t just love selfies and emojis.
They love public transit, too, according to a new poll from the Urban Land Institute and MassINC.
Frank Ramsden, who is a part of the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leader Group, said he was struck by the numbers of Boston Millennials — defined in the survey as people between the ages of 20 and 37 — who were willing to take transit, even though they had access to a car.
“Transit is an enormous part of our daily lives,” said Ramsden, who spearheaded the poll.
According to the survey, 78 percent of respondents thought it was “very important” for their workplace to be near public transit (About 32 percent said they believed it was important to be near restaurants or bars, and 32 percent also said they cared about workplace amenities).
Millennials also care about transit near their homes. Asked to choose their top three factors in searching for a neighborhood in which to live, 81 percent chose the “ease of commute,” and about 80 percent also checked off “transit access.” Comparatively, only 25 percent said they cared about being close to on-street parking.
Asked about commutes, most said they didn’t use their cars regularly to get to school or work. About 49 percent of those surveyed said they usually take the subway or the Green Line to get to work. About 39 percent said they walk; about 26 percent said they drove alone; about 24 percent said they use the bus; and about 22 percent said they bike.
This crowd is also nearly as familiar with Uber as it is with taxicabs: About 89 percent have used a taxi, 84 percent have used Uber, and 39 percent have used Hubway. About 27 percent had used Lyft, an Uber competitor.
The online survey asked 660 young, college-educated professionals in Greater Boston about their views on housing, transit, and whether they can see themselves here in several years.
This poll isn’t the only recent report that has highlighted the Millennial affinity for the bus and subway. According to a 2014 report from the Frontier Group and the US Public Interest Research Group, millennials appear to take a shining to public transit. For example, the average number of miles driven by 16 to 34-year-olds dropped by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009.
Ads critical of Israel and US back on the MBTA
A pro-Palestinian group ran an advertisement on the MBTA that is critical of the Israel and United States governments this month, more than a year after the transit agency removed other ads from the organization.
Throughout November, the Palestinian Advocacy Project is running an advertisement in the Davis Square MBTA station that criticizes the Israeli military for killing Palestinian children and the United States for financially supporting Israel. The organization said it will run additional ads on the MBTA next month.
Three of the group’s ads were removed in 2014 due to complaints, but the group — previously called Ads Against Apartheid — contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts to challenge the decision. After the ACLU discussed the issue with the MBTA’s general counsel, the agency reversed course.
Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, hailed the decision.
“It’s important that public spaces be available for the exchange of ideas,” she said. “Even if those ideas offend some people, we’re better off as a free society and when there is debate and discussion.”
Robert O. Trestan, the New England Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, took issue with the ads, saying the group “may have the right promote their views, but these ads distort reality and do nothing to support peace.”
Joe Pesaturo, the MBTA’s spokesman, said the T accepted the advertisements because they complied with the agency’s advertising guidelines. But he also said the MBTA was rethinking its advertising policies.
The MBTA is currently embroiled in another free speech debate after transit officials rejected certain advertisements from an anti-Islamic advocacy group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
The T emerged victorious in recent appeals on the decision, but the American Freedom Defense Initiative is now hoping the Supreme Court will hear the case.