Talking Transportation: Why Can’t They…?

Shore Line East at New London (CC BY-SA 3.0)


TwitterFacebookCopy LinkPrintEmail

Simple problems require simple solutions.  And when it comes to solving our transportation woes, we consumers always wonder whey “they” can’t fix things quickly by doing what seems obvious and simple.  

Consider the following questions I’m often asked…


  • Why can’t they make the bathrooms on the trains stink less?
  • Why can’t we have heat in the winter and AC in the summer, instead of vice versa?
  • Why can’t conductors enforce the MTA’s mask rules instead of hiding from passengers?
  • Why can’t they collect all tickets on the trains?
  • Why can’t the railroad treat us like valued customers instead of like cattle?
  • Why can’t we have competition among private carriers on commuter rail?
  • Why can’t we get the bar cars back?
  • Why can’t we have WiFi on our trains like Amtrak’s Acela?
  • Why can’t we get a rebate on our tickets when trains are late, service is cut or we can’t get a seat?
  • Why can’t they build more parking at the stations to cut the multi-year wait for annual parking permits?
  • Why can’t they put a map at every station showing the local businesses and how to get there without taking a cab?
  • Why can’t Metro-North enforce its “quiet cars” like Amtrak does?
  • Why can’t Hartford lawmakers all be required to ride Metro-North at rush hour for a week to know what their constituents endure all year?
  • Why can’t towns leave station waiting rooms open evenings and weekends, especially in cold weather?
  • Why can’t they improve security on our trains instead of making us do their job with “If you see something, say something”?


  • Why can’t they get disabled vehicles off the road faster, avoiding back-ups?
  • Why can’t town police direct traffic when back-ups on I-95 send cars pouring onto the Post Road?
  • Why can’t they fix the overhead lights on I-95 so our highway is illuminated at night?
  • Why can’t they keep trucks off the Merritt Parkway?
  • Why can’t they ticket trucks for using “Jake Brakes”, down-shifting noisily?
  • Why can’t they keep the truck-inspection stations open 24 x 7?
  • Why can’t we get reasonably priced gas on highway service areas instead of having to get off the road and into local traffic?


  • Why can’t they give us a human-sized seat with legroom at a fair price?
  • Why can’t the FAA improve safety by making sure pilots and air traffic controllers are properly trained, rested and supervised?
  • Why can’t airlines be honest with us about delays instead of always saying “it’ll be another 20 minutes” over the course of hours?
  • Why can’t they seat families with screaming babies in their own section, away from me?
  • Why can’t I take a car service to the airport for less than the cost of my flight?

What questions would you add to our “Why can’t they” list?  Send them to me and I’ll try to get the answers and share them in future columns: