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Pedestrian sparks debate with photo of absurd advertisement plastered on side of bus: 'The irony...'

"That's such an American phrase."

The future of public transit systems in the country has fallen into doubt.

Photo Credit: iStock

A pedestrian on Reddit wryly observed an ironic advertisement on the side of a bus in Vancouver. The ad, which read, "The pursuit of happiness is more fun in a new car," immediately irritated fellow Redditors.

The poster captioned the photo of the bus, "F***** up ad I saw on the side of a bus this morning."

The future of public transit systems in the country has fallen into doubt.
Photo Credit: Reddit

One commenter summed it up succinctly: "The irony of this message being prinited on a superior form of transportation."

Other commenters were similarly skeptical. "That's such an American phrase," one person wrote.

"There's more joy found in driving when there's fewer cars on the road," another pointed out, "therefore they should support getting as many people off the road as possible with dense walkable neighborhoods and good public transit."

Others agreed, lamenting that transitioning away from car use can feel like an insurmountable challenge. It might be easier, one person wrote, if businesses and governments weren't "forcing cars as a sole method of transportation, making it impossible for anyone to not engage with cars, [and] attaching entire identities to cars."

Indeed, public transportation — particularly in the United States — has seen a sharp decline in ridership since the coronavirus pandemic. While the new Bipartisan Infrastructure brought over $108 billion in public transportation funding that was sorely needed, billions of dollars in other emergency aid are slated to expire in 2024, meaning some transit systems may fall behind.

The issues also extend beyond the U.S. According to the World Resources Institute, only half of the world's population had access to an affordable, accessible public transit system as of 2022. Of those transit systems, nearly all operate using diesel and traditional fuel, which has made the transportation sector one of the top producers of planet-warming pollution — and those rates are only continuing to climb.

Nevertheless, there have been developments in the sector — especially with the development of electric buses — that can encourage optimism for the future of the transportation industry. 

It's a worthy investment. Not only has riding public transit been shown to boost social engagement and improve mental well-being, but trading the drive for public transportation also reduces toxic, heat-trapping gases and keeps our atmosphere cleaner for generations to come.

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