In “Traffic Jam” (News & Features, March 4), David Napier claims that the perception of folks who ride the bus is that of “people who can't afford a car. … lower-class ridership.” I would pose this question: Whose perception is this? I have read other articles, one in Style, in which Mr. Napier has been quoted as saying that he is opposed to a city bus transfer terminal adjacent to his businesses because the element that rides buses is not desirable to those living and working in Shockoe Bottom.
What type of person does he imagine rides the bus? Many years ago, my car was totaled and it was some time before I could afford another one. Was I undesirable because I rode the bus in the meantime? I can assure Mr. Napier: I am well-educated, well-brought-up and well-cultured. I do not consider myself low-class. I am a city resident who lives in a neighborhood where many do ride the bus out of necessity
I am also a Shockoe Bottom business owner who shares a building with 20 other businesses and dozens of apartment dwellers who live over our offices, and during conversations about the potential hub, I have never — never — heard anyone else raise any objections, let alone the reasons Mr. Napier claims people have, to having the hub in the Bottom. To be sure, when discussing the possibility of the terminal there, my fellow building dwellers and colleagues, some of whom do not own cars because they are med students who are paying their way through school or entrepreneurs who have significant investments in their business, welcome a terminal close to where they live and work.
Do people who cannot afford cars deserve less than efficient modes of transportation? Do they deserve to be thought less of because they don't have as much stuff as someone else thinks they should?
The objections Mr. Napier has repeatedly raised seem to have more to do with a lack of understanding of, or empathy with, a racial and economic bracket different than his own. The intimation that this view is shared by the majority of residents is simply incorrect. Finally, I believe low class is not defined by how much education one has, how much money one makes, or what kind of car, if any, one drives. In my book, it is defined by someone who judges the worth of another by just those standards.