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NUMTOT: Inside the Trendy Online Transit Community
October 20, 2020
There’s a Facebook group for everything nowadays. Want to share your unique thrift store finds? Join the group “Weird Secondhand Finds That Just Need to Be Shared.” Or maybe you found a snake in your backyard and want help identifying it. Join the group “What kind of snake is this? North Texas Educational Group.” But what if you really love public transit and urban planning? Well, there’s a group for that too.
Enter “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens,” or NUMTOT as it’s affectionally called. A once-hidden gem that now has more than 200,000 members sharing quality transit, cyclist and urbanist memes all day long.
The “teens” in the group name is a joke itself, as members vary in age from teens themselves to older transit-loving adults, but the “memes” part of the group name is absolutely accurate as the page is flooded with videos, photos and graphics of transit jokes in popular meme formats.
Below is a recent meme posted to the group with the caption “Very rarely does one see a herd of buses drinking in the wild.” Some of the humor like the below meme is pure, simple bus and train-loving memes, while other topics take a more serious look at issues in members’ communities regarding transit and accessibility.
The group was founded in 2017 by three college students and has been covered by The New York Times, Buzzfeed and even has its own Wikipedia page. But the group often goes beyond just making train jokes or hating on cars. Often, you will find posts discussing urban planning, how we can make our cities more pedestrian, cyclist and public transit-friendly and you will even find the latest transit news, such as the status of the Dallas to Houston high-speed train.
With hundreds of posts per day, it’s no surprise politics frequently finds its way into conversations. In January 2020, the page’s admins officially endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. Can a Facebook group that posts pictures of lomgbois (train cars) and constantly berates what they call “NIMBYs” (Not in my Back Yard) make an official presidential endorsement? Well, Sanders sure didn’t mind.
The candidate responded to the endorsement by joining the Facebook group to post his personal thanks, making what many would call “meme history.” While some members fully supported the endorsement, others found it inappropriate for the administrators of the page to make that decision without consulting the members of the page.
The group responded the best way they know-how, in memes. Below is a meme from the page comparing Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warren’s hypothetical responses to a NUMTOT endorsement in a meme format popular at the time.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has forced many of us to quarantine, which has made it particularly hard for a lot of NUMTOTs since they don’t spend as much time on public transit as they did pre-coronavirus due to work from home status or the need to reduce personal outings. But out of their sadness comes joy in the form of memes such as the one below.
Whether you agree with the group’s stances regarding housing, planning and politics or you just want to see some good videos of lomgbois doing what they do best, you will certainly be enter-train-ed by the NUMTOTs.
If you’re not a NUMTOT, you’re missing out. Join the 200,000 others and get a daily dose of train jokes. It just goes to show, you can find community anywhere. Are you a NUMTOT? Let us know in the comment section below!
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