Public Transportation in the 26th Century
Already a fact of life in the 21st Century on Earth and other planets
Already in the early 21st century, the position of public transport in society was firmly rooted within local cultures. Public transportation was an important means of ensuring social equality and ensuring that everyone could get to the places they wished to go. For many, public transportation was also a means of protection from social exclusion.
Progressively, public transportation also became an important mean of combating pollution caused by vehicles that burned fossil fuels.
Many planets thus discovered public transportation as an essential part of their societal fabric. It was equally important to the individuals directly served as it was to the whole of society helped by the positive impact public transportation has on congestion, pollution, and more.
To varying extents, planets used vehicles such as trains, metros, trams, and buses often either owned by private companies or the government (especially of states who applied social welfare measures).
These were the building elements of public transportation - many states attempted to create as comprehensive a service as they could that benefited both their rural districts as well as their urban districts and meaningfully connected cities to cities.
The overriding principle of public transportation remained: faster service, more timely service, more frequent stops, and affordable service.
Impact of technological advancement on the concept of public transportation
Whilst in the past 500 years technological advancement has rid hundreds and hundreds of star systems of problems related to excess pollution and its impact on global warming, the value of public transport as a vital means of ensuring individuals remained connected to one another remained.
Technological advancement thus helped to modernise public transportation traditional diesel and electric trains gave way to high-speed hover-railroads who could clock anywhere from 700 kilometres per hour to 1000 kilometres per hour.
Some star systems were, before the war, experimenting with even faster hover-railroads lines that could go as fast as 1400 kilometres per hour on special dedicated lines usually destined for the inter-continental connections.
Hover-Trains, Trams, Busses... and even metros
Within urban districts, these hover-railroads are supplemented by sometimes equally fast hover-tram lines. What used to be potentially a "one-hour-ride across town affair" is generally a thing of the past. Many tram lines take twenty minutes to get from one end of the city to another.
For certain cities, the complexities of creating the necessary pylons for hover-railroads proved impossible, and thus metros also found a future for themselves. These tend to be slower in speed than their hover-tram, and hover-railroad counterparts.
In sparsely populated areas, hover-bus lines tend to be the norm, since the infrastructure is generally cheaper to maintain and adaptations to the geographical service can be made more easily than with tram lines. This is a continuation of the norm established some five centuries ago.
Similar, yet different across planets and cultures
Public transportation has evolved based on the traditions of the planet in question. Most planets over the 500 years saw first a process of centralisation of public transportation at the planetary level only to see later a process of partial decentralisation when it became clear that the rural areas or "special trouble spots" were not being adequately answered by a centralised public transport authority.
Whilst the shape, speed, and general feel of public transport has evolved sensitively - the general principles guiding public transportation hasn't changed. Certain planets have "a different way of running a public transportation" than Earth.
For example, certain planets see it as an abomination to charge a service fee for public transportation. Other cultures view it as a means of ensuring the elite stay connected to one another, and so on and so forth.
One thing is certain, public transportation has become a deeply embedded part of local society and it is very unlikely that it will disappear any time soon.
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