Here are two tools for making the public bus service do more. Consider the consequences if a person could board the bus with a shopping cart.
The consequence: An entire class of domestic living activities would be possible without owning a car or hiring a taxi.
Now in thinking about why the bus systems I have studied don't carry shopping carts I finally conclude is because Americans have a mythology about individual automobiles as our primary mode of travel. The public bus system occupies a little corner of that mythology.
By mythology, I mean we have a set of shared values and ideas. For instance, here is a statement that we broadly share:
There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think ; what a saint has felt, he may feel ; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: History, paragraph 1.
Our shared mythology is continually present and interacting with our perception of what is reasonable, what is possible in the review and development of the public bus system in the new world moving toward a low carbon emission society.