Here’s why pop culture features so little public transportation


Originally published at:



A guy steals a tram.





Well here’s another angle - according to Pew Research only about 11% of Americans use public transit on a daily basis.


How about Nighthawks (1981)? A film heavily featuring two forms of NYC public transportation:

The Subway


and the Roosevelt Island Tram


And features Rocky, Lando, Roy Batty, and the Bionic Woman. Truly a classic!


I suspect that if we counted up the minutes on film and video of people using public transport and private if we would see a similar breakdown or percentage spread as we do on our actual roads. Right now about 5% of us use public transport on the reg.


There’s always the movie ‘Speed’. But I always wondered if the buses in L.A. could possibly have actually been that crappy. Barely a step up from school buses…


How about “Mimic”? A surprisingly good Alien-clone set in the NY Subway.




I can see why filming on trains could be a hassle (or, in some ways, easier, if the operator has arrangements for filming). But it can’t be that hard to get hold of a bus for filming, and it’s surely easier to film people in a bus. I’m inclined to think it’s more about public transport stigma.



Albert Gunter.


I think this film said all that could possibly be said about train travel:


But not in a good light:


I was going to suggest the monorail episode of the Simpsons as another example of public transit in popular culture but then remembered that it was actually a scathing critique of mass transit; a dire warning of what could befall a community that is ensnared by its false promises. RIP North Haverbrook.


What’s that movie where Steve Carrell (I think) is on a bendy bus having a conversation with someone (love interest IIRC) in the other section who keeps moving relatively during the conversation as the bus goes around corners? It is a great scene.


Only one day off work and 10£ for a broken leg, sheesh!