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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by super-douper
    If public transit were closer to the speed and convience of driving people would use it. Trouble is that the transit has to get much better or the drive has to get much worse. I'd like nothing better than to live in a city with a good public transit system. But I don't know if such a place exists..
    I was having a similar conversation with another person on the "Car Busters" forum. Becoming car free is more of a choice than anything else. You choose where to be car dependant because you're afraid to move or others will mock your car free life style. In the end, you have to make the decision on whether you're going to spend 20 or 30 percent of your lifte time income on transporation costs.

    I live in New Jersey which is not exactly the transit capital of the world. But I've managed to become car free by choosing to move several blocks away from a 1.2 billion dollar light rail. Furthermore, there are several bus routes that criss cross where I live with options of taking commuter trains in New York City.

    My brother who also lives in New Jersey moved to a location where there is no public transport forcing him and his wife to purchase new cars.

    Public transportation does work but you have to relocate as I did several years ago. Today, my total transportation costs per month is a whopping $93.00. That's every month! There are no monthly car payments, insurance, traffic/parking tickets, repair bills or tolls to pay. The state of New Jersey pays for my transportation and repairs the vehicles for me free of charge. That's the way it should be.

    Now if I can only get them to repair my bicycles!! ;-)

  2. #27
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanholio
    Exactly. Everyone would like to see more people on mass transit. Usually others.

    Living north of you, in Newark, I'm still waiting for someone to pull their cranium out of their anal orifice and get BART built to San Jose. Having just a couple of trains going down there is too unreliable. If I work late I'm stuck 25 miles from home. Taking buses would be about three or more hours to get home.

  3. #28
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    I was having a similar conversation with another person on the "Car Busters" forum. Becoming car free is more of a choice than anything else. You choose where to be car dependant because you're afraid to move or others will mock your car free life style. In the end, you have to make the decision on whether you're going to spend 20 or 30 percent of your lifte time income on transporation costs.

    I live in New Jersey which is not exactly the transit capital of the world. But I've managed to become car free by choosing to move several blocks away from a 1.2 billion dollar light rail. Furthermore, there are several bus routes that criss cross where I live with options of taking commuter trains in New York City.

    My brother who also lives in New Jersey moved to a location where there is no public transport forcing him and his wife to purchase new cars.

    Public transportation does work but you have to relocate as I did several years ago. Today, my total transportation costs per month is a whopping $93.00. That's every month! There are no monthly car payments, insurance, traffic/parking tickets, repair bills or tolls to pay. The state of New Jersey pays for my transportation and repairs the vehicles for me free of charge. That's the way it should be.

    Now if I can only get them to repair my bicycles!! ;-)

    You must not ride very far, or it's subsidized for that monthly cost. I checked with someone that takes the commuter train from "The Valley" here, and it would cost me just under $200 just for the monthly pass. On top of that I would have to pay the bus fare twice a day, or buy a monthly pass for that, also. If I moved close enough to work to avoid that, the rent would go fronm $1,395 a month to over $2,000.
    For $93 a month I'd be doing more than just looking at the change.

  4. #29
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    Traffic costs billions of hour each year while demand exceeded suppy by 30% since 1982! ...It's insane.
    One of my most memorable sights is cresting a tall hill on cool mornings on a quiet street under tall, green trees, to briefly pass over a bridge that crosses the "freeway." Looking down at the 8-lane marvel beneath, I was delighted that I was just as fast as the traffic there.

    No matter how cool they make the inside of a car, nothing can match the thrill of bicycling.

    Why waste time doing something you hate, when time is such a precious thing?
    No worries

  5. #30
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by super-douper
    If public transit were closer to the speed and convience of driving people would use it.
    Since public transportation is slower than bicycling for me, I almost always prefer bicycling.

    Sometimes public trans. is nice, allowing me to rest and think, or dream (or sleep.) Other times, it's crowded, hot and uncomfortable.
    No worries

  6. #31
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    Why waste time doing something you hate, when time is such a precious thing?
    People have deluded themselves into believing that they 'like' driving. Otherwise how could they justify the enormous amounts of money they sink into their rides? IMO, it has a lot to do with advertising (a.k.a. brainwashing).

  7. #32
    Pain Cleanseth Feltup's Avatar
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    Driving is fun, sitting in traffic isn't. If you don't believe me take a WRX to the Dragon.
    It is better to lose clean then win dirty. Don't ride dirty

  8. #33
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    I agree driving can be fun, 99% of the time it sucks though! That's why in car commercials there is only ever 1 car on the road, the one they're trying to sell. If they showed the car in grid locked traffic it wouldn't be much of an add would it?

  9. #34
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by super-douper
    Where I live (San Jose, CA) has a bad one. The light rail here is slow especially when it goes downtown....I'm still thinking of taking my bike on the train and getting off at the south end of downtown, and trying to catchup to the previous train at the north end of downtown. I'd make up 15mins on my time by doing that. I don't know about the busses though.
    This works. I used to take the light rail from Blossom Hill to the Orchard Station. At Children's Discovery Museum, I'd exit the my train, ride swiftly, but not too hard, up to Japantown/Ayer, and board an earlier train. Sometimes, I'd really push it and try to leapfrog up two trains instead of one. That was hard, and I usually missed, but I was on a mountain bike and out of shape back then.

    Quote Originally Posted by super-douper
    What about building new light rail systems, and having a multi-use path next to the rails for those that choose to ride/walk? What about tax breaks for bikes? You could issue a card to people and have them swipe at certain intervals on the multi-use path...then you have a record that the person is actually on the path using it for commuting, and you even have their mileage. Tax break could be based on annual mileage. Just think, when you do your centuries just ride on the path and you'd get a tax break! The tax break could even come from a public health coffer instead of transportation. As we all know, you can kill a whole lot of birds with the "bike commute" stone. (traffic, air pollution, health) Seems like funding for public transportation and alternative commute programs should come from more than just one of those places.
    This sounds complicated, again. How about reducing subsidies for roads, adding tolls or gas taxes for those who use them, and reducing the tax burden on everyone. Then, with the extra money they have from tax relief, they can choose to use the toll roads, or they can bicycle, use mass transit, carpool, or accept the full burden of the tolls themselves.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    I was having a similar conversation with another person on the "Car Busters" forum. Becoming car free is more of a choice than anything else. You choose where to be car dependant because you're afraid to move or others will mock your car free life style. In the end, you have to make the decision on whether you're going to spend 20 or 30 percent of your lifte time income on transporation costs.

    I live in New Jersey which is not exactly the transit capital of the world. But I've managed to become car free by choosing to move several blocks away from a 1.2 billion dollar light rail. Furthermore, there are several bus routes that criss cross where I live with options of taking commuter trains in New York City.

    But, what happens when everyone wants to live close to the light rail. The poor will be priced out of that market, and then only the rich will have easy access to public transporation. :-)

    Forgive me, as that was meant in good humor and I hope it was accepted this way.

  11. #36
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    I wanted to say, if you're going to make road transport expensive, you better invest in public transportation or mass numbers will be unable to afford it.
    Nature abhors a void. So does human nature, especially the entrepreneurial spirit. When road transportation becomes expensive, then someone will think of a solution and make money from it. Just like my parking example earlier. You probably won't be able to go from one end of the line to the other at 2am for $0.50, but it will be there. People in NYC use taxis all over the place, because the MTA doesn't go where they want to go.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    Europe is no better. They subsidize their lines otherwise rail roads would only operate Monday through Friday for 2 or 3 hours in the morning and evening.
    So you think it is a good idea to force taxpayers to pay for rail service which is rarely being used? As others have described it, if you use it during rush hours, the busses and trains are hot, smelly, crowded, and uncomfortable. We have a problem here in the Bay Area where the Caltrain bullets get full too early, yet there are trains running nearly empty late at night. How is this efficient use of resources?


    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    Quite frankly, I find nothing wrong with subsidizing bus and rail lines. Airports and highways get subsidizes but railroads are supposed to be profitable?
    I think is the fundament of our disagreement. I see everything wrong with the government forcing us to subsidize inefficiencies beyond that which is absolutely required.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanholio
    But, what happens when everyone wants to live close to the light rail. The poor will be priced out of that market, and then only the rich will have easy access to public transporation. :-)

    Forgive me, as that was meant in good humor and I hope it was accepted this way.
    I hate to tell you this but the poor are priced out already from living in just about most places. In many urban cities, the monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment will range between $1,500.00 - $1,000.00 USD. You can choose to live in the slums for about 4 to 6 hundred per month providing you qualify.

    The poor are also shut out from living in the burbs. It used to be that one could move 50 miles from the city and rent for bargain basement prices but that is not the case anymore. While you do receive more living spaces living further out, the prices do no go dramatically lower. Rentals in the burb average about the same as the city but whatever savings must be spent on motor transport.

    Where I live, there is an abudance of new luxury town homes and condo/coops under construction all the time around the lightrail. Unfortunately, the poor will not be able to afford living there including those considered middle class!

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanholio
    So you think it is a good idea to force taxpayers to pay for rail service which is rarely being used? As others have described it, if you use it during rush hours, the busses and trains are hot, smelly, crowded, and uncomfortable. We have a problem here in the Bay Area where the Caltrain bullets get full too early, yet there are trains running nearly empty late at night. How is this efficient use of resources?

    I think is the fundament of our disagreement. I see everything wrong with the government forcing us to subsidize inefficiencies beyond that which is absolutely required.
    What do you consider rarely being used?

    Every line in New York City is rarely used after midnight but the service continues to run anyway because people need it. The buses run empty after 9 o'clock but they continue to run because people need the service. It has been demonstrated that if you discontinue night service, overall passenger usage will drop. Many commuter lines run 70% empty during the weekends but it's important they continue to run or people will stop using the service completely and head to their cars.

    The lightrail in my city has been a tremendous success because you don't need a schedule as the trains run every 15 minutes 7 days a week!! The trains ran fairly empty for many years but now I'm noticing they are full even during the weekends! After 12:00 o'clock on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon, it's common to find 4 or 5 baby carriages inside and standing room only for those that want to board. The people are finally coming!

    You may not like CalTrain but it has been a success. Who would have ever believed that California would spend billions needed for rail transport after they raised their extensive trolley network years ago. One thing is certain, it's better to have crowded trains than empty ones because that is what the system was designed for. If the cars were always empty, it would have been an expensive boondoggle not worth starting. CalTrain continues to expand and more usage, crowded trains is a testament to it's success.

    Try boarding the #4 Lexington Avenue Express in Manhattan at 8:45 in the morning. You will be crushed like a sardine! Is this a failure?? Hardly. This is a success of mass transportation!

    Often times rail lines simply can't put more tains because they are running at capacity. This is often the case with many lines in New York City that are running trains right after the other and each car is full. I suspect CalTrain has limited funds since most of the money is being spent on further highway development. This is unfortunate but the train is coming back. Visit www.lightrailnow.com for the latest developement.

    By the way, do we close off highways to save money by sending the toll collectors home because there are not enough people using the parkway? How is it an efficient use of resources keeping all those employees working on our roads (Police, construction, toll collection etc) when very few motorists are using them?

  14. #39
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    We as a society in general (and cyclists in particular) heavily subsidize roads and other infrastructure for the convenience of motor vehicles and their operators. The more you drive, the more damage you do to the roads with your vehicle, the more heavily you are personally subsidized by the rest of the taxpayers and contributors.

    As taxpayers, we also heavily subsidize the the air transport system whether we use it or not.

    Yet public transit and rail in specific (not just intracity rail, but intercity rail as well) are for some reason asked to pay their own way. Personally, I am much happier seeing my tax dollars funding rail projects, than funding road projects. Modern rail systems are a much lower impact, more sustainable transport mode than a system which relies on private automobiles and associated infrastructure needs.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanholio
    This works. I used to take the light rail from Blossom Hill to the Orchard Station. At Children's Discovery Museum, I'd exit the my train, ride swiftly, but not too hard, up to Japantown/Ayer, and board an earlier train.
    AHA! so it CAN be done! I knew it!!

    That just shows you how slowly the train moves downtown, if you can makeup 15minutes by biking for 5mins or so.

  16. #41
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    I hate to tell you this but the poor are priced out already from living in just about most places. In many urban cities, the monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment will range between $1,500.00 - $1,000.00 USD. You can choose to live in the slums for about 4 to 6 hundred per month providing you qualify.

    The poor are also shut out from living in the burbs. It used to be that one could move 50 miles from the city and rent for bargain basement prices but that is not the case anymore. While you do receive more living spaces living further out, the prices do no go dramatically lower. Rentals in the burb average about the same as the city but whatever savings must be spent on motor transport.

    Where I live, there is an abudance of new luxury town homes and condo/coops under construction all the time around the lightrail. Unfortunately, the poor will not be able to afford living there including those considered middle class!
    Often times this is directly caused by rent control. Rent is low, so more people can afford to live alone, and therefore they do, since that is preferable. In the meantime, the owners of the rent-controlled buildings are losing money since they typically have to pay more in maintenance than the building is worth. Luxury condos and such have no such limitations on them, so those are built, to attract a profitable clientelle.

  17. #42
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=randya]Yet public transit and rail in specific (not just intracity rail, but intercity rail as well) are for some reason asked to pay their own way./QUOTE]

    I don't know about everywhere else, but in Dallas, TX there is a special gas tax that subsidizes the mass transit system (DART).

  18. #43
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    What do you consider rarely being used?

    Every line in New York City is rarely used after midnight but the service continues to run anyway because people need it. The buses run empty after 9 o'clock but they continue to run because people need the service. It has been demonstrated that if you discontinue night service, overall passenger usage will drop. Many commuter lines run 70% empty during the weekends but it's important they continue to run or people will stop using the service completely and head to their cars.

    The lightrail in my city has been a tremendous success because you don't need a schedule as the trains run every 15 minutes 7 days a week!! The trains ran fairly empty for many years but now I'm noticing they are full even during the weekends! After 12:00 o'clock on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon, it's common to find 4 or 5 baby carriages inside and standing room only for those that want to board. The people are finally coming!

    You may not like CalTrain but it has been a success. Who would have ever believed that California would spend billions needed for rail transport after they raised their extensive trolley network years ago. One thing is certain, it's better to have crowded trains than empty ones because that is what the system was designed for. If the cars were always empty, it would have been an expensive boondoggle not worth starting. CalTrain continues to expand and more usage, crowded trains is a testament to it's success.

    Try boarding the #4 Lexington Avenue Express in Manhattan at 8:45 in the morning. You will be crushed like a sardine! Is this a failure?? Hardly. This is a success of mass transportation!

    Often times rail lines simply can't put more tains because they are running at capacity. This is often the case with many lines in New York City that are running trains right after the other and each car is full. I suspect CalTrain has limited funds since most of the money is being spent on further highway development. This is unfortunate but the train is coming back. Visit www.lightrailnow.com for the latest developement.

    By the way, do we close off highways to save money by sending the toll collectors home because there are not enough people using the parkway? How is it an efficient use of resources keeping all those employees working on our roads (Police, construction, toll collection etc) when very few motorists are using them?

    I generally consider empty busses to be rarely used, and a waste of resources, both financial and environmental. How can you state that people need these busses and trains when they are empty?

    It sounds to me like your lightrail had a ramp up time, like any other service, and is now successful. Except for one thing: It is likely bleeding dollars like crazy. Your #4 would be a failure in my book because the quality of service presented to the end user is poor. If you are stuck between an armpit and a hipbone with your right leg jammed up against the door, something needs to change. So, it is successful in that it moves many people from where they are to where they need to be, but I think it could be better.

    As far as your question as to tolls, who needs people to take tolls? We have a FastPass system here in California, which allows an electronic device to automagically handle your tolls. If those were to become universal, toll collector salaries would be negligible.

    Highway Patrol is not a budget I touch or complain about, nor are Fire or EMS.

  19. #44
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    We as a society in general (and cyclists in particular) heavily subsidize roads and other infrastructure for the convenience of motor vehicles and their operators. The more you drive, the more damage you do to the roads with your vehicle, the more heavily you are personally subsidized by the rest of the taxpayers and contributors.

    As taxpayers, we also heavily subsidize the the air transport system whether we use it or not.

    Yet public transit and rail in specific (not just intracity rail, but intercity rail as well) are for some reason asked to pay their own way. Personally, I am much happier seeing my tax dollars funding rail projects, than funding road projects. Modern rail systems are a much lower impact, more sustainable transport mode than a system which relies on private automobiles and associated infrastructure needs.
    Randy, I think you miss my point: I don't think the highways should be subsidized from the general taxes, either. I don't think the airports should be subsidized from the general taxes. If taxes were lowered, since we're no longer subsidizing all these things that people don't necessarily use, then people get to see the real cost of what they're doing, rather than the subsidized cost which encourages them to use more without regard for the hidden costs.

  20. #45
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    I don't know about everywhere else, but in Dallas, TX there is a special gas tax that subsidizes the mass transit system (DART).
    At least Dallas is getting something right! IMO, the justification for using gas taxes to fund public transit is probably based on the congestion mitigation aspects of public transit and the avoided cost of widening existing roads or building new roads, and is probably a good idea. Plus, those local gas tax dollars going towards public transit are probably matched 1:1 by federal transit dollars. IMO, they should probably also be charging a 10% tax on the sales of all new vehicles, with the money earmarked for transit / bike / ped improvements!


  21. #46
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I love the buses and rail lines because they make transportation cheap, which is totally against the system.

    On the other hand, I've often taken off on my bike in the a.m. with the idea that (being late) I'd hop the train, only to pedal past the station and ride the bike all the way to work.

    I need help. Can someone recommend some "self-control" seminars?
    No worries

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanholio
    I generally consider empty busses to be rarely used, and a waste of resources, both financial and environmental. How can you state that people need these busses and trains when they are empty?

    It sounds to me like your lightrail had a ramp up time, like any other service, and is now successful. Except for one thing: It is likely bleeding dollars like crazy. Your #4 would be a failure in my book because the quality of service presented to the end user is poor. If you are stuck between an armpit and a hipbone with your right leg jammed up against the door, something needs to change. So, it is successful in that it moves many people from where they are to where they need to be, but I think it could be better.

    As far as your question as to tolls, who needs people to take tolls? We have a FastPass system here in California, which allows an electronic device to automagically handle your tolls. If those were to become universal, toll collector salaries would be negligible.

    Highway Patrol is not a budget I touch or complain about, nor are Fire or EMS.
    All rail lines are bleading dollars like crazy. Then again, all highways are bleading dollars like crazy especially those that have no tolls. Our city streets are bleading dollars like crazy resulting in higher property taxes for everyone. Did you know that Amtrak was unprofitable? Did you know Chicago's metro was a huge money pit?

    I've said it before there can be no middle ground when it comes to public transportation. If it's not being used like Amtrak, people call it a waste of tax dollars. If it loses money like the New York City MTA, people still call it a waste of tax dollars. You can't win.

    I feel the same way about highways. If a new interchange gets backed up with traffic, it does not mean the constuction was a failure. If that's the case, every highway ever constructed would be a failure. Just like every Railroad in New York, Boston, London, Japan etc would be a failure because they all get loaded with people.

    The Republican attitude is that trains should have plenty of seats and make loads of money without having to depend on government. It's a dream. Public transit can never make money because the fares do not come near to covering the cost. The actual fare of a New York City subway ride would be close to $7.50 per ride but charges less than $2.00 bucks.

  23. #48
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    That's the whole point, and I think Steve and I agree - I don't think the fares on public transit need to or should cover the full cost...if collectively we think having train service is a good idea, same as roads, we should be willing to pay for it with our tax dollars; I certainly am. I just wish I could tell the tax man how I want my money spent.

  24. #49
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    I think you should be taxed on how many miles you drive each year. Take some of the tax off gas but apply it to individual use. When you go to renew your tags you report your miles and pay the tax. But offer a tax credit to those that stay under a certain amount of miles. Basiclly there would be a set milege allocated each year, say 10000 miles. So anyone over 10000 would pay more anyone under would get a tax cut.
    It is better to lose clean then win dirty. Don't ride dirty

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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feltup
    I think you should be taxed on how many miles you drive each year. Take some of the tax off gas but apply it to individual use. When you go to renew your tags you report your miles and pay the tax. But offer a tax credit to those that stay under a certain amount of miles. Basiclly there would be a set milege allocated each year, say 10000 miles. So anyone over 10000 would pay more anyone under would get a tax cut.
    Drivers are already taxed based on miles driven. Gas taxes are directly related to the number of miles driven. so are taxes on tires, highway tolls, repair parts and labor, etc. you could even argue that the more miles you drive, the more often you are likely to buy a car and pay sales tax on it.

    Implementing a direct mileage based tax would likely lead to widespread fraud as people find ways to underreport their mileage.

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