Kiss Me On The Bus(way): A Mass Transportation Playlist

Montage: Streetsblog (use of MTA logo is not meant to suggest endorsement of our musical tastes!)
Montage: Streetsblog (use of MTA logo is not meant to suggest endorsement of our musical tastes!)

Modern pop has had a long love affair with cars and driving: “I Get Around,” “Move Bitch (Get Out the Way),” “I Can’t Drive 55,” “Drive My Car” and “Automobile” are just some of the huge hits celebrating America’s love of the automobile. So much music romanticizes the private auto — though almost no songs dramatize the reality of driving: the traffic, the pollution, the inefficiency, the waste, the selfishness, the carnage. The Beach Boys had “fun fun fun” until Daddy took the T-bird away — but those crooners never seemed to worry that those behemoths were unsafe at any speed.

So how about some music to remind us of the joy, the efficiency and yes, the messiness, of the bus and the train?

The Streetsblog playlist below is a journey through diverse sights and sounds, including the laid back jazz of “Take The A Train,” the jittery punk of “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight,” the ’60s pop of the Hollies’ “Bus Stop” and the gravel-filled joy of Tom Waits’s “Downtown Train.” No one song could possibly describe the experience of waiting your bus or train, but “Waitin’ For the Bus” or “I Missed The Bus” can probably capture some kind of that frustration, in the same way that “Subway Joe” can totally nail the chaotic energy of a packed commute.

You’ve got rich preppies showing some love to the “M79,” and A$AP Rocky telling you that “anything is better than that 1 train,” and you’ve got metaphorical buses in “We Like To Party! (The Vengabus)” and “Double Dutch Bus.” People sing songs about riding the subway when they’re bored (“Ghost”) and there’s even a tribute to MetroCard in “My My Metrocard” (let’s see OMNY inspire that kind of loyalty). And there is of course, plenty of romance, thanks to the Replacements’ “Kiss Me On The Bus,” while Leikeli47’s “Hoyt and Schermerhorn” brings romantic longing to the train.

So give it a listen and throw your favorite mass transit music down in the comments (also be sure to make the playlist available to listen to when you’re offline for the inevitable moments when you’re stuck between subway stations with no service).

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Long Island's bus and rail networks are run as two separate and unequal systems. Photo: Adam Moreira/Wikimedia Commons

On Long Island, Transit Operates as Two Separate and Unequal Systems

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The Long Island Railroad is building some of the biggest infrastructure projects in the region -- even the world. The hugely expensive East Side Access tunnel and terminal at Grand Central and the construction of a third track for the LIRR Main Line will open up new possibilities for convenient, all-day transit that people can use for all types of trips. But not if Long Island continues to operate its rail and bus networks as a two-tiered transit system.