Busing Blues

Transit mess in Birmingham

Jim Shaw, 40, lives in Birmingham and works across town at a flea market. Partly blind since birth, he sweeps floors for $2.75 an hour. Normally he pays 80¢ each way to take a bus, but last week he had to travel by cab. The cost: $13.35 round trip. Shaw was just one of about 11,000 commuters, most of them low-income blacks, who were stranded last week when Birmingham (pop. 285,000) became the largest city in the country to be without a public mass transit system.

Until the shutdown, the...

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