For some, public transportation isn’t an option — it’s a necessity. But in the Birmingham, Alabama, metro area, a region consistently ranked one of the worst in the nation for its public transportation access, it’s a necessity that few actually rely on. Butch Ferrell counts himself among those — he has had epilepsy since childhood, so driving a car was never an option. He describes the inefficiency of the routes, the decrepit condition of the buses, and his own attempts to advocate for a better public transit system. The condition of the buses is in many ways a relic of segregation-era politics to prevent support for a system that primarily served poorer, black citizens: the state of Alabama is one of only five states in the nation that does not fund public transportation.  As a result, cities like Birmingham have grown over the past several decades, built for cars and the people who drive them — leaving people like Butch with no other option but to rely on the unreliable.

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