Sustainability | Transit

Taxis and Payphones

Finding the nexus on old and new modes of travel

Dawn Nelson
4 min readOct 16, 2023

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A Monday Dispatch ~ October 16, 2023

The Amtrak train heading west out of the station. Photo by author, © Dawn Nelson.

For this edge series I call my dispatch, I write about sustainability, resilience, and opportunity. Sometimes more specifically on urban development, mass transit, connectivity, regional planning. I realize now I have yet to write about trees. Rather unusual, since I am a devote advocate for urban forests. I live in one, in fact.

Today, however, I write about travel and connectivity.

From this patch of urban forest, I can take the bus to the train station and take another train or bus to somewhere else in the USA. I don’t often do so, but it is an option. I do prefer ground travel, after all.

I could even consider traveling by train to another city for work. Although taking a daily commuter train in this region incurs a silly cost, there are trains available.

What is striking to me is that there is not a taxi stand at the local train station. Nor a payphone. Unless you are taking a bus from the train station, or walking, or someone is picking you up, you must have a cell phone to order car service.

Doesn’t this seem odd?

What if I just want to take a taxi to wherever I am going next?

You can call the taxi service, if you have the direct number, but again… you need a cell phone to do so.

I suppose this is a plea for public payphones and Wi-Fi at transit centers.

Here are some scenarios that unfold: someone does not have a cell phone, and so must rely on local businesses to offer their phone to make a call. OR someone has a cell phone but is traveling internationally, and they just need Wi-Fi to order a car or make a call to a friend.

Have you ever tried to order a taxi for someone you don’t know? It’s not particularly easy to do. I know, because I have tried several times, as I work in one of the aforementioned local businesses near the station.

The folks who cannot readily order a taxi are left to the kindness of strangers to direct them to the next possible place that has the…

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Dawn Nelson

Artist, writer, strategist ~ writing creative nonfiction, memoir, essay. WIP: 0100 Series & The Sunday Dispatch.