Often, the perception one develops about public transit is just as powerful as the availability of public transit itself in attracting prospective riders. Dubai has the peculiar problem of attracting passengers when the roads themselves are lightly trafficked. As a solution, the system offers “ gold cars” that mimic business class travel on airlines and “silver cars” for other travelers. By contrast, a recent transplant into Detroit offered a harrowing experience when using that city’s transit system for the first time, not the least of which includes an exchange with a surly bus operator. In San Francisco, a visitor discovers what happens when a gentrifying community, despite access to transit and other amenities, must still grapple with societal ills that remain entrenched in the neighborhood.