I have always loved riding on buses. So when Paul Comfort announced the upcoming release of his new children’s book on mass transportation due out on October 1, I was anxious to take a look.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: From The Tom Thumb Rail Road to Hyperlooop and Beyond is recommended for ages 5-15, but all ages will find its subject interesting.
We are introduced to this history with an event that happened here in Maryland. In 1830, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad started its passenger service from Baltimore, Maryland, for passengers. A much earlier beginning than I thought.
Younger eyes will widen when the “autonomous vehicles or AVs” are presented. A car without a driver? How can that happen?
The book’s illustrations are just right–colorful, stimulating, informative. Faces that become familiar through the book are portrayed absorbing the wonders of boats, buses, trains, planes– even space ships.
The artist, Sudip KP, lives in India. Comfort described working together on the images by Zoom. Picture the author and the illustrator, millions of miles apart, putting their heads together and pouring over sketches and concepts–capturing the excitement of speed, of space, of energy harnessed to deliver multitudes of people-on-the-go to their destinations.
Comfort is the perfect person to inform children around the globe about the history and evolution of the amazing people movers that have come and gone, and those in the works.
“I have six kids myself and five grandchildren and want to make it possible for as wide a distribution as possible,” Comfort said. “The book is being translated into several languages.”
In addition to being a longtime spokesman for public transportation, Comfort has held important positions in the industry–among which, he has served as CEO of the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA).
Currently, he hosts the popular podcasts on public transportation called “Transit Unplugged,” now heard in 99 countries. He is also the author of the successful book The Future of Transportation. As a younger man, his broadcasts on Chestertown’s own WCTR of “Comfort’s Corner” in the 1980s are well remembered, as well as the print column of the same name in The Pilot newspaper.
Known as the “Transit Evangelist,” Comfort’s endless travels researching, assisting and participating in advising mass transit systems have earned him rides on systems throughout the World. When we were first made aware of Covid-19, a warning was issued that the air in buses and subways might be contaminated. Comfort made it clear to me that allegation was not true.
Looking to the future, the author stated clearly that the greatest challenges ahead are to “clean up smog” and make changes that will “help lead to a clear environment.” He is committed to being a leader in ensuring that public transportation vehicles will be equipped and ready to function in a new world of cleaner air with such introductions as “electric-battery-powered buses.”
Next time you are looking for a fun read for a special youth, think of Paul Comfort and his new book Public Transportation: From the Tom Thumb Rail Road to Hyberloop and Beyond. It’s a winner!