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Vancouver urban planner fights Elon Musk with transit-loving hashtag

Tech CEO Elon Musk recently characterized public transit as "painful" and a place where serial killers might be lurking.

Commuters board the 99 B-Line in Vancouver.

Jennifer Gauthier/For Metro

Commuters board the 99 B-Line in Vancouver.

A Vancouver urban planner is fighting back against the view that public transit is scary and uncomfortable.

Brent Toderian decided to start the hastag #GreatThingsThatHappenedonTransit in response to comments made by Elon Musk, the founder of electric car company Tesla.

Musk has recently become interested in the idea of building underground tunnels that he imagines will whisk commuters around cities in individual cars or “pods” that could carry up to 16 people. But Musk isn’t a big fan of buses and trains.

“I think public transit is painful. It’s sucks. Why do you want to get on something with a lot of other people, that doesn’t leave where you want it to leave, doesn’t start where you want it to start, doesn’t end where you want it to end?” Musk opined during a conference, as quoted in a Wired story.

He went on to say, “and then there’s like a bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer, OK, great.”

#GreatThingsThatHappenedonTransit sparked the sharing of stories about bus riders who fell in love, made friends and even delivered babies on public transit.

Toderian is critical of Musk’s tunnelling idea. In an interview for CBC, he pointed out that research has consistently shown that adding more roads — even underground — only increases car use and congestion. 

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