expressed surprise that she would attempt a move by walking her possessions across the dusty blocks between her two homes. But like just about everybody else in this city of 6,000, they don’t have a car, so Boisvert, a librarian, walks with a trash can.
One of the strangest things about Bethel is that though it’s the government and transit hub for about 56 villages, there are almost no affordable transit options for its residents. The town has two shuttle buses, part of a public transportation system it launched five years ago. But ask just about anyone in town if they’ve ever taken the bus, and they laugh in your face.
No roads lead in or out of Bethel, so it’s prohibitively expensive to bring in cars or other vehicles. Cars cost about double what they would on the mainland. Janz referred me to the town’s unofficial used- car lot, where people park used old cars they want to sell. It’s essentially a dusty ditch by the side of the road. When I was there, the price for a 2003 Ford Focus, which the Kelley Blue Book says would sell for $1,833 in “good” condition, was listed for $3,500. A 2003 Toyota RAV-4 with 160,000 miles costs $6,000 in Bethel, while the Kelley Blue Book says it’s worth $3,900.