Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Ski lifts best choice for Madison transit

Tennessee Williams might've written complimentary words on streetcars, but here in Madison it appears that there is nothing less desirable — save a couple more inches of snow, of course — than to have the railed vehicles become a new form of public transportation. And for good reason.

Trolleys are the worst form of mass transit invented since the Flintstones had to ride and power the bus with their feet — which might not sound too bad if you think about how the 80 at midday always runs 400 toes beyond capacity, but what about if you and the driver were the only ones on the stone bus? A podiatrist's worst nightmare.

Last spring while in Philly to cover the NCAA tournament, my colleagues and I were slowed to the pace of a three-toed sloth missing a limb — a three-legged, three-toed sloth if you will — on a daily basis, getting stuck behind a lumbering 3-ton waste of space. And I'm not talking about Monmouth's John Bunch at the lunchroom line. All the trolley will accomplish is to hold fewer people than buses, move slower than buses, incite road rage exponentially more than busses and generally be less effective than even Mr. Bunch (a bus masquerading as a center).


The best thing about a trolley? The favorite snack of Internet icon Homestar Runner is called a "Bronco Trolley" — a Triscuit with peanut butter and an orange slice (rind intact) on top.

Now, I do realize that public transit in Madison is in need of an overhaul, and while everyone else simply rips on Mayor Dave's stupid trolley idea, I have a few alternatives:

Clown cars

For those of you who remember your childhoods, clown cars are instantly recognizable from cartoons as being a seemingly compact unit that can hold an inordinate number of people inside. They also usually have a crazy horn, often that plays "La Cucaracha."

The clown car's best attribute would be to give students and Madison residents a smirk, smile and perhaps even a chuckle each time one city-owned Geo Metro pulled up and 15 people hopped out. The healing power of laughter derived from the clown cars would make Madtown one of the nation's healthiest cities, despite the fish frys and 2-pound bratwursts.


If Captain Planet was still around, I'm sure that the public safety announcement at the end of his next cartoon would be directed at Wisconsin's capital city for our environmentally unfriendly behavior — with all of frat row on Langdon vomiting in Mendota regularly and the constant killing of young woodland creatures for Ugg production. Instead of spending money on any kind of vehicle that would burn gas and further inspire global warming — as tempting as it may sound now with 70 feet of snow on the ground — we could make Cap'n P proud and take a green approach: hand out Razors.

The scooters were all the rage in middle and high school, but have since gone the way of Pogs. However, we could bring them back, along with pastels and the Backstreet Boys.

The city could even run a multi-person razor around the city. It would be like on "The Flintstones," but much less hazardous to the feet, and with less danger of a dino-related incident.


It would really clear up the roadways if we didn't use them at all. Sure, it would be something of a pain lugging around all that change you don't have to use on street parking meters anymore, but the vending machine will be your savior.

What? You say such technology does not exist?

Get with the times, brother (or sister). Anyone who has seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Star Trek or ever played Mega Man knows it exists.

But if the city refuses to unleash the power of WonkaVision for mass transit, we could always settle for conveyor belts and tubes, like those used on "The Jetsons" so effectively. A plus with that would be that driver's licenses would be a thing of the past. All the testing you would need to travel would take place at a McDonald's PlayHouse, and any plan that eliminates the DMV is a good plan.

Ski lifts

This is by far the best choice for Madtown. First off, it would be fun. The city would look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Secondly, whereas the bus system had to briefly stop with the blizzard this weekend, ski lofts wouldn't be affected, ever.

They would be faster than Speedy Gonzalez, not having to stop for traffic or pedestrians, or the awful biking community of Madison.

Overcrowding? Not an issue, as they are continuous, and run all the time, like "American Idol."

It would also be able to deliver to different floors of buildings. Sure, the bus can take you to Van Hise, but what if you want to go to the 15th floor? Better bring a donkey.

Anyone with wisdom can see that ski lifts are the way to go when it comes to building an expedient, reliable and planet-friendly mass transit system.

Similarly, anyone with wisdom can see that trolleys in Madison will bring nothing but slower traffic, a massive rail building effort that will close roads and an increase in trolley-by shootings.

Down with trolleys, up-up and away with ski lifts.

Dave McGrath ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in English and journalism. He is also the sports editor at The Badger Herald.

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