[Letter Talk] Mail Bag #21

Hi folks! In this mail bag you’ll hear a letter about a fantastic new technology, a postcard to a famous transportation mogul, and letter with a suggestion to improve a service in Baltimore.

Letter Talk is a short (~10 minutes), comedy podcast where a I () write letters to anyone about anything, and I’d be honored to write one to you.


Dear Paul Wiedefeld and the rest of WMATA,

I’m writing you today because I know that you’ve gotten a lot of heat in the last few years about the functioning of Washington, DC’s Metro service. For those who are not familiar, it’s the subway system, but as I looked up the distinction between metros and subways I found that “metro” seems to be the preferred term since sometimes the trains will run above ground. The search got a little convoluted on Google, and I also learned that the average Subway restaurant generates $490 thousand in sales annually.

Anyway, first of all, I wanted to just tell you a few things that are kind of nice about the metro. Popular thought on business synergy tells you that you should always praise before you criticize your employees, and that way they will ultimately work for less and never quit. Here’s a list of couple things I enjoy about the DC metro:

  1. That one driver on the red line who sounds like he’s high

    He has the most chill voice. He speaks slowly and calmly. It’s very soothing, like a late night radio DJ. I sometimes catch him on the way home. Once I was on his train and the air conditioning wasn’t working, and while announcing the next train stops he would pepper in affirmations: “It’s almost over,” “I appreciate you.” Naw, dude, I appreciate YOU. Once I hopped off the train and stood around for a second to see if I could see him pop his head out of the window of the train car, and sure enough I saw him. He was hella gangly and he wore Weezer glasses. If he sees this letter, please ask him if he plays hacky sack, because I’d like to hang out with him. He seems neat.

  1. The ceilings are high

    Considering how short I am, this usually isn’t a concern for me, but I have experienced other metro stations where I was disturbed by how low the ceilings were and I started to feel claustrophobic…which is wild because then I wonder how a normal sized person would feel about being there. It was like visiting the Philippines where my head almost hit the top of the motorcycle sidecar I was riding in. They had to fold my dad in half for him to fit in the other chair. I’m sure for him, it felt like we found a refrigerator box, put him inside, took half the box away, then duct taped it to the side of a Yamaha.

  1. Multiple Entrances

    I like that a lot of metro stations have more than one entrance, because even though this has never happened I am constantly thinking “what if someone is chasing me?” I like to have options.

  1. There’s a band named after you and it has Miley Cyrus’ brother in it? I think?

And now for my big suggestion. I know a lot of people are disappointed with the delays, how crowded the trains can be, and how some of the equipment needs to be updated. I think I have a solution: One word: CATBUS. … Or is it two words? CAT BUS.

I know what you’re thinking: we weren’t planning to launch public transportation exclusively for pets until 2025 along with the mag lev train! And trust me I’m not talking about that project. I’m saying as a supplement to the metro system you should introduce the CATBUS. If you’re not familiar, the catbus was invented by Hayao Miyazaki, and featured in his 1988 documentary My Neighbor Totoro. The catbus is revolutionary transportation technology that has yet to be implemented in the United States, much like the mag lev train. The way the catbus works is a giant feline, who also happens to be a large bus, picks people up at stops and flies through the air to other stops, avoiding the traffic of the ground or the delays of the underground. The average cat bus can hold about 20 people, depending on how large and whimsical that particular catbus is. By introducing the catbus you’d be able to alleviate traffic, and divert metro riders in order to fully repair the tracks in time to implement snaketrains.

Again, if you have not taken a look at this wonderful catbus technology, I implore you to look into it.




P.S. If you need to raise revenue for any of these constructions, might I suggest opening a few Subway franchises? I recently learned that on average they generate $490 thousand in sales annually.

I decided to send a postcard to Elon Musk.

On the front it has a picture of Grand Central Terminal.

I knew a guy who rode his bike drunk and fell over and broke both his arms and when they put his arms in casts, it looked like he was refusing to stop signaling that he was straight edge. Was that possibly a sign from God?

Dear Baltimore Bike Share,

First of all, I just wanted to thank you for introducing bikes into the community. I know this will sound crass, but I generally enjoy seeing people in suits wobble around on those things. I missed seeing that since I moved from the DC area.

But allow me to not beat around the bush here, I’m writing to you with a suggestion for your service. I think it would be a fabulous idea to add tandem bikes to your assortment of offerings. And there are many different benefits to having two people to ride a bike including the following:

  1. Baltimore has a reputation for being a dangerous city, so it seems like having a friend with you will help with safety. Like what my neighborhood safety group chat says, “The buddy system works even into adulthood!”
  2. I don’t know anybody who actively rides a bike who hasn’t been hit by a car. Now follow me here: if you get hit by a car but you’re on a tandem bike, there’s a good chance that only one of you has gotten hit by a car. You’d effectively reduce the injury rate by merely doubling the amount of people on bikes. It’s a legit way to cut a corner and use statistics to make yourself look better! Especially in circumstances where drivers are literally cutting corners and hitting people on bikes.
  3. Tandem bikes will help us compete with Virginia. I can hear you now, already: “You think Virginia is for lovers? Well get a load of our tandem bikes. Enjoy rolling on two wheels with your loved one as you try ever so carefully to not accidentally roll into the Inner Harbor. Baltimore Bike Share: More love than Virginia.”
  4. Fewer people will complain about there being no open bikes. If you increase the seats without increasing the capacity of the docking station, you’ll be able to service more customers. So maybe those who can’t get their own bike will just hop on to the tandem bike of someone else and they’ll make a new friend. See? Tandem bikes will bring people together.
  5. You’ll be able to spot all the twins more often. This reason isn’t as meaningful, but it sure is fun! I don’t know any twins that can resist getting on a tandem bike! I’ve also never asked anyone to confirm this.

As you can see there are so many wonderful reasons to introduce tandem bikes to your bike share program. I hope you take these suggestions and pop a wheelie into your boss’ office and let them know that the public has great ideas for Baltimore’s future transportation.

Sincerely yours in tandem,