Since its recent makeover by IKEA, the Kobe Portliner Monorail in Japan is now more stylish (and probably more comfortable) than my living room. The funky Swedish furniture manufacturer has redecorated the Monorail to celebrate last month’s opening of a new store in Port Island.
The train is bright with color, both inside and out, and is decorated with sofas (in lieu of subway benches) and mix-and-match curtains. If all transit were so chic, who wouldn’t want to take transit instead of the car?
Apart from the fun of real furniture on a train, there’s the more serious question: Would public transit be better if it weren’t public (as in, publicly owned)? The IKEA train is a perfect example of shameless advertising (which we see on subways and buses, as it is), but, moreover, of a private interest gnawing at a public service. And it’s a hit. Would privately-owned transit make for better, cleaner, more efficient transportation? At present, with the government in charge of funding for transit in most countries, we’re not getting very far.
Source: Pink Tentacle