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Transit enthusiast sparks important discussion about public transportation access: 'Kind of makes the rail pointless'

"This is a very densely populated area, and they deserve transit as well."

"This is a very densely populated area, and they deserve transit as well."

Photo Credit: iStock

In a viral video, TikToker Sean Chandler (@sean.chandler) called out what he perceived as a problem with the rail system in and around Los Angeles, pointing specifically to one arm of the rail that stretches well east of downtown.

The clip is captioned, "Why rail fails in America." Chandler's observations sparked a dynamic discussion in the comments section.

@sean.chandler Why rail fails in America #trains #publictransport #transit #walkablecities #cities #europe #america #subway #losangeles ♬ original sound - Sean Chandler

Chandler shows a transit map of the L.A. area that shows several rail systems meeting in downtown, calling it "pretty impressive." However, he zeros in on the E Line, which runs underground through Boyle Heights and stops in East L.A.

While following the route on Google Maps in satellite mode, Chandler explains: "If you look around, all you can see are single-family homes. I mean, that's the problem with the rail network. If you only have single-family homes, there's very few people who can utilize it, so people just end up driving … which kind of makes the rail pointless."

Indeed, if more people are driving rather than using the rail, or other forms of public transit, nothing is done to curb heavy traffic and carbon pollution caused by non-electric vehicles.

One commenter, however, pointed out that — despite appearances — many of the structures seen in Chandler's video are actually multi-unit residences, duplexes, or small apartment buildings, all of which are common in L.A.

"This line goes from East LA/Boyle Heights to DT …  From top view, it may look like only single-family homes, but nearly all of [them] are multi-unit," the commenter wrote, adding in a reply: "Duplexes, small apartment buildings, or have ADUs. A lot also house multigenerational families. This is a very densely populated area and they deserve transit as well." 

Multiple E Line users also chimed in. One of them commented: "That Soto station is SURROUNDED by low income apartments. It's a train I use on the daily."

Another said: "People from East LA can get to schools all around with these. I took it from Monterey park to Pasadena. Very useful. It's also always packed."

While it appears there was much more to this story than initially met the eye, many of the commenters appeared to be united in calling out L.A.'s car dependence overall, with many highlighting the more extensive planet-friendly and money-saving infrastructure in other U.S. cities and parts of the world.

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