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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-18-14, 06:12 PM   #26
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The bus service where I live is marginal and it serves the people that live on the margin. If you have a job that works a normal 7:00-3:30 shift, like several of the manufacturing facilities do, or even hospitals you are SOL first bus doesn't run early enough to get you to work. If you work closing shift at the local mall you are SOL the last bus leaves the mall half an hour prior to closing time. They also only run once an hour on the more populated routes, some are only a couple of times in the morning and a couple of times in the afternoon. No wonder people drive.

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Old 03-18-14, 06:45 PM   #27
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How does reading a schedule make the next bus come any sooner?

In regards to selecting a housing location, apparently your personal situation does not include any other consideration but proximity to a transit line. Many people, especially those with a family, have other considerations such as location of suitable employment (and the time required to commute,) housing costs, quality of housing, schools and neighbors, noise, etc.
Reading the schedule doesn't make the bus come sooner but it's far better to time it than waiting at a bus stop. I disklike having to wait outside in cold weather for a bus so timing makes it far easier. One of the saddest places you can be at a shopping mall is the bus stop. Trust me!

I happen to believe if the city or state provides a bus line with excellant service, you'll see good schools and suitable employment. A bus line with a 15 minute wait time during rush hour did not come about by happenstance. It jobs that's creating the need for the service and not the other way around.

I find that housing costs can vary along the bus line so while one may not be able to live "downtown", that does not mean you can't take advantage of the service by living further out. Housing costs can drop dramatically 1 mile or less away from the bus stop.

I will say that schools can be tough in any city but having the bus can give you choices when you can afford to send your children to private school. However, it becomes harder if you don't have the funds and need to use pubic schools. In my town, we have Section 8 housing and a pretty good public school so you can have both.
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Old 03-18-14, 06:58 PM   #28
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If the bus ran door to door, every ten minutes, a lot of people would still not use it.
I have a book at work called Time of the Trolly by William Middleton. You'll see scores of pictures where passengers are hanging on top of the tram including the sides. The cars would run every 5 minutes during rush hour so you didn't need a schedule. I know this because that was the situation in my town. After midnight, the trams would cut back service and run one every 15 minutes! LOL.

Granted, cars were expensive back then but can it happen again? I really think it can but only if it's lightrail running every 15 minutes, will attact more passengers with added service. An argument can be made that lightrail will deplete the need for other bus lines.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:00 PM   #29
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A slightly different take on what you refer to with late connections. I catch a ferry to and from work. A bus service is supposed to co-ordinate with the ferry service. It would get really frustrating to see the bus from the ferry 100 yards from the dock, and for the bus then to negotiate the roundabout, and head off to the city before the ferry has even docked.

The ferry is owned by the state government but operated by a private company that simply doesn't have a clue nor care about customer service and running to published timetables when they are supposed to link with other services. I don't think I have ever seen in the past four months anyone get on the bus at the ferry terminus.
And therein lies part of my problem. The first bus arrives at the transit center at 6:40 and the second bus, which runs every 45 minutes, leaves the transit center at 6:45. Of course, a person could take the bus that arrives at 6:04 and sit for 40 minutes to see when the bus they really wanted to take arrives and whether they would have made their connection had they taken that one. (Kind of a one-person transportation study.) Or they can take the chance that the 5 minutes to transfer will be enough, miss the transfer, and arrive the end of the line 5 minutes late with still a 3/10 of a mile walk ahead of them.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:52 PM   #30
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I have a book at work called Time of the Trolly by William Middleton. You'll see scores of pictures where passengers are hanging on top of the tram including the sides. The cars would run every 5 minutes during rush hour.....
......Granted, cars were expensive back then but can it happen again?
No it can't. Time is totally linear it doesn't circle back around. The old trollies represent a time past. Buses, newspapers, wrist watches, phone booths, public library's, broadcast TV and radio..... all are great things that worked faithfully and near flawlessly... in their time. But it isn't practical or even honest to romanticize sweet old fashioned technologies. Time marches on and so does progress.

No one is emotionally attached to the future... how could they be. But we all develop soft spots in our hearts for the simple old ways. It's only human. Yet the new times and ways will be some future generations old simple ways.

Mass transit and centralized living is an old dream that stemmed from the time of horse drawn carriages with streets and sewers filled with horse manure. It had a brief time in history that many still romantically and emotionally cling to... and there is nothing wrong with that. But that time is passing.

Like Stephen Hawking is fawn of pointing out: If mankind doesn't learn to travel through space and repopulate other worlds we die out with Earth. Certainly no one thinks we are going to pedal our bicycles or ride our busses into space.
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Old 03-18-14, 11:16 PM   #31
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No it can't. Time is totally linear it doesn't circle back around. The old trollies represent a time past. Buses, newspapers, wrist watches, phone booths, public library's, broadcast TV and radio..... all are great things that worked faithfully and near flawlessly... in their time.
Just curious, what has replaced the public library in your neck of the woods for reading free books (to include recently released, best sellers and children's books) especially those that are NOT classics in the public domain? Same question applies for free use of DVD movies and audio books.
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Old 03-18-14, 11:25 PM   #32
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No it can't. Time is totally linear it doesn't circle back around. The old trollies represent a time past. Buses, newspapers, wrist watches, phone booths, public library's, broadcast TV and radio..... all are great things that worked faithfully and near flawlessly... in their time. But it isn't practical or even honest to romanticize sweet old fashioned technologies. Time marches on and so does progress.

No one is emotionally attached to the future... how could they be. But we all develop soft spots in our hearts for the simple old ways. It's only human. Yet the new times and ways will be some future generations old simple ways.

Mass transit and centralized living is an old dream that stemmed from the time of horse drawn carriages with streets and sewers filled with horse manure. It had a brief time in history that many still romantically and emotionally cling to... and there is nothing wrong with that. But that time is passing.

Like Stephen Hawking is fawn of pointing out: If mankind doesn't learn to travel through space and repopulate other worlds we die out with Earth. Certainly no one thinks we are going to pedal our bicycles or ride our busses into space.
Maybe you're correct about some/all of this. However, when I lived near Sacramento, CA they added several trolley lines to their bus mix and it transformed who was using public transportation. Portland, OR has been adding to their trolley lines even longer (and more extensively). While neither city has anywhere near the number of lines/runs they did at their peak, the trend is clearly established and growing. Even Marin and Sonoma Counties are starting to put in a train line.

I see it this way: In the past, we were restricted in our ability to harness energy and so we had limited amounts that we could use for transportation. At some point, our ability to supply power became MUCH greater, so we were free to use less efficient transportation systems. Now we are facing the consequences of all that energy use (less cheap oil, climate change/ocean acidification, pollution issues). These issues are likely to move us to more efficient transportation systems. Thus, we are seeing a resurgence of public transportation, a resurgence of bicycle use and a bit more walking as people are choosing to live in more urban settings than was the norm over the past sixty years. (People our age generally purchased a suburban house by the time we were thirty. Do you see the thirty-year-olds doing that today?)

We should get some humans off the planet (in a good way), as Stephen Hawking urges. However, such an endeavor is not precluded by being more efficient in our use of our resources. In fact, such efficiencies are likely to help.
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Old 03-18-14, 11:48 PM   #33
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Just curious, what has replaced the public library in your neck of the woods for reading free books (to include recently released, best sellers and children's books) especially those that are NOT classics in the public domain? Same question applies for free use of DVD movies and audio books.
My library is busier now than ever, even though fewer books are checked out. The free public computers attract people, and so do free DVDs and so forth. But it's the classes and activities that also draw people in. There's also an excellent used book store.

Libraries that adapt to the times and are patron-centered seem to be doing ok. I imagine it's the same thing with bus companies.
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Old 03-19-14, 01:52 AM   #34
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Buses, newspapers, wrist watches, phone booths, public library's, broadcast TV and radio..... all are great things that worked faithfully and near flawlessly... in their time. But it isn't practical or even honest to romanticize sweet old fashioned technologies. Time marches on and so does progress.
Where in the world do you live that these things are gone?
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Old 03-19-14, 02:21 AM   #35
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No it can't. Time is totally linear it doesn't circle back around. The old trollies represent a time past. Buses, newspapers, wrist watches, phone booths, public library's, broadcast TV and radio..... all are great things that worked faithfully and near flawlessly... in their time. But it isn't practical or even honest to romanticize sweet old fashioned technologies. Time marches on and so does progress.

No one is emotionally attached to the future... how could they be. But we all develop soft spots in our hearts for the simple old ways. It's only human. Yet the new times and ways will be some future generations old simple ways.

Mass transit and centralized living is an old dream that stemmed from the time of horse drawn carriages with streets and sewers filled with horse manure. It had a brief time in history that many still romantically and emotionally cling to... and there is nothing wrong with that. But that time is passing.

Like Stephen Hawking is fawn of pointing out: If mankind doesn't learn to travel through space and repopulate other worlds we die out with Earth. Certainly no one thinks we are going to pedal our bicycles or ride our busses into space.
You haven't travelled anywhere to Europe, have you? At least recently?

If you had, you would see that trolley buses have been reborn in modern form in several cities we visited.

Then in Hong Kong the old rattler trolley cars that run on rails are still, well, rattling along as an integral part of the transportation system there.

And if you come to Melbourne, Australia, you will see that trams also are an integral part of the inner city and close suburban transportation system.

Even just looking out your office window you will see people employing the oldest form of transportation of all... their legs.

You show a large lack of awareness of what is happening in the rest of the world which has accepted that just sometimes, the old way -- such as walking -- is still better than anything else you can suggest.

Oh and if, by extension of your argument, space travel is the way to go, why is it that the US no longer sends manned space craft to service the international space station? Why is it that since the man first landed on the moon in 1969, space travel hasn't extended beyond that? And that even private space travel for the very lucky few is so limited and costs so much?

Yeah, we sure are making progress, aren't we?
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Old 03-19-14, 09:22 AM   #36
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No it can't. Time is totally linear it doesn't circle back around. The old trollies represent a time past. Buses, newspapers, wrist watches, phone booths, public library's, broadcast TV and radio..... all are great things that worked faithfully and near flawlessly... in their time. But it isn't practical or even honest to romanticize sweet old fashioned technologies. Time marches on and so does progress.
San Diego's trolley system was started in 1981 and it's thriving. They are planning on expanding it further north of downtown in order to service more areas.
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Old 03-19-14, 09:28 AM   #37
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You haven't travelled anywhere to Europe, have you? At least recently?
Yes... I actually lived in Europe. Many of "old world" folks seem mired in their past glory and long gone ways. I understand... I really, really do. There once at one time long... before this life... was a need to live in tiny compact cities with stone walls around them. But those days... as romantic as they were... as lovely an idea as it is... are long gone.

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You show a large lack of awareness of what is happening in the rest of the world which has accepted that just sometimes, the old way -- such as walking -- is still better than anything else you can suggest.
Apparently living in "the old ways".... gives one psychic abilities huh?!?!? You can somehow sense my awareness? That would be impressive. I think I'll stay here and live in the present without stone walls erected around my city...... or my thoughts.

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Oh and if, by extension of your argument, space travel is the way to go, why is it that the US no longer sends manned space craft to service the international space station? Why is it that since the man first landed on the moon in 1969, space travel hasn't extended beyond that? And that even private space travel for the very lucky few is so limited and costs so much?
Yeah.... new ideas aren't for everybody are they. But... I am not Stephen Hawking. Technology and human advancement isn't MY idea. I just pointed at the obvious... I didn't expect argument.
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Old 03-19-14, 09:41 AM   #38
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San Diego's trolley system was started in 1981 and it's thriving. They are planning on expanding it further north of downtown in order to service more areas.
That's great.... right? Being able to "dash" when working downtown makes those conditions more pleasurable. At least... that's been my experience.

We used the old "dash" trollies back 25-30 years ago. It was a great idea to try to save a dying downtown. It helped a little. A lot of federal funding helped a little bit too. But little by little people around here (and most places I am aware of) have just learned to accept the shrinking downtowns. Things change... people come around to the changes.
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Old 03-19-14, 09:52 AM   #39
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That's great.... right? Being able to "dash" when working downtown makes those conditions more pleasurable. At least... that's been my experience.

We used the old "dash" trollies back 25-30 years ago. It was a great idea to try to save a dying downtown. It helped a little. A lot of federal funding helped a little bit too. But little by little people around here (and most places I am aware of) have just learned to accept the shrinking downtowns. Things change... people come around to the changes.
The trolley goes all the way out to El Cajon in east county and down to the Mexico border. It's not just downtown.
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Old 03-19-14, 09:56 AM   #40
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..... I see it this way: In the past, we were restricted in our ability to harness energy and so we had limited amounts that we could use for transportation. At some point, our ability to supply power became MUCH greater, so we were free to use less efficient transportation systems. Now we are facing the consequences of all that energy use (less cheap oil, climate change/ocean acidification, pollution issues). These issues are likely to move us to more efficient transportation systems.
Yeah.... not really. Michael Faraday and his "Faraday disk" changed the world. Eventually electric made the world a much cleaner, less polluted, and far more energy efficient place to live. I don't know if your "predictions" of a horrific future will ever happen..... but I doubt it. I don't fear the future.

I really don't think Michael Faraday, Werner Siemens, or Thomas Edison were the only inventors to ever live. I think brilliant people with wondrous ideas are alive today. I have faith in mankind.
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Old 03-19-14, 10:15 AM   #41
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The trolley goes all the way out to El Cajon in east county and down to the Mexico border. It's not just downtown.
San Diego is a beautiful city. It's been ages since I've been there. That would certainly seem like a perfect area for a cyclist.
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Old 03-19-14, 10:26 AM   #42
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I have a book at work called Time of the Trolly by William Middleton. You'll see scores of pictures where passengers are hanging on top of the tram including the sides. The cars would run every 5 minutes during rush hour so you didn't need a schedule. I know this because that was the situation in my town. After midnight, the trams would cut back service and run one every 15 minutes! LOL.

Granted, cars were expensive back then but can it happen again? I really think it can but only if it's lightrail running every 15 minutes, will attact more passengers with added service. An argument can be made that lightrail will deplete the need for other bus lines.
If you read the history section at the beginning of Robert Hurst's excellent book "The Art of Cycling", he describes trolley usage and how delighted people were when they had cars and the ability to get out of the smelly, crowded, and filled with poor people inner city and could move further out to where trolleys didn't go and there were lots of trees and fewer members of the "huddled masses".

I live in a town across the river from a city in which they keep expanding lightrail whether the people are excited about it or not. Over here, it has been consistently voted down because whenever the politicians say "Look how fast you'd be able to travel from here to there" the voters say "And so can the undesirable elements from that area travel from there to here."

Part of the Portland lightrail system has been unusable this morning because some idiot decided to drive his/her car not across the tracks, but actually on them. I'm guessing alcohol, lack of coffee, or both are responsible. Why it happened really doesn't matter though to the people who are being moved about by shuttle buses, will probably be late for work, and are almost definitely wishing they had driven in.
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Old 03-19-14, 02:45 PM   #43
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If you read the history section at the beginning of Robert Hurst's excellent book "The Art of Cycling", he describes trolley usage and how delighted people were when they had cars and the ability to get out of the smelly, crowded, and filled with poor people inner city and could move further out to where trolleys didn't go and there were lots of trees and fewer members of the "huddled masses".

I live in a town across the river from a city in which they keep expanding lightrail whether the people are excited about it or not. Over here, it has been consistently voted down because whenever the politicians say "Look how fast you'd be able to travel from here to there" the voters say "And so can the undesirable elements from that area travel from there to here."

Part of the Portland lightrail system has been unusable this morning because some idiot decided to drive his/her car not across the tracks, but actually on them. I'm guessing alcohol, lack of coffee, or both are responsible. Why it happened really doesn't matter though to the people who are being moved about by shuttle buses, will probably be late for work, and are almost definitely wishing they had driven in.
.

I wonder what would happen if some idiot decided to park his car across a couple lanes of the freeway during rush hour. You'd probably have thousands of motorists wishing they'd taken the train to work!
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Old 03-19-14, 03:06 PM   #44
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...I have to arrive by 8am. Google Maps says that if I drive it will take me approximately half an hour...take the bus... will entail me leaving the house at 6:02am, transferring once, walking nearly a mile, and arriving nearly 45 minutes early.
So, drive is 30 min from your door. Bus means you have to leave 1 and 1/2 hour earlier, and takes 75 mins, with added walking.

I think it is pretty obvious why some people do not take buses in your area.
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Old 03-19-14, 07:23 PM   #45
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I volunteer three days a week fixing up and repairing bikes to give to people in the local homeless shelters or those on the street. Chances are any members of that slice of humanity I meet on the bus will be people I already know and we'll have a good talk.
Great answer!! Most people are initially shocked when they confront this "slice of humanity". On the route I travel on, there's a guy with Tourettes who spends a lot of the time grumbling and cursing. But actually he's a pretty nice guy, the other passengers like him... but when you first arrive, it takes a while to get use to it.

Tourette's syndrome is pretty common, but you won't run probably if you are driving a car down the freeway every morning.

I have to say I prefer riding my bike to work, but I am really grateful the bus is available.
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Old 03-20-14, 03:48 AM   #46
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Yeah.... new ideas aren't for everybody are they. But... I am not Stephen Hawking. Technology and human advancement isn't MY idea. I just pointed at the obvious... I didn't expect argument.
You post provocative material and don't expect an argument? Good one.

You actually lived in Europe? When?

The most entertaining part about your dismissal, though, is that when all else fails -- all the new technology, all the new ideas -- walking still remains the oldest and most reliable mode of transport.

But the way society is going with its reliance on motorised transport, walking has lost its appeal in the broader population. Maybe it will be reintroduced to new generations as the new transport fad. How quaint will that be?
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Old 03-20-14, 04:27 AM   #47
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I have orientation for a new job on Tuesday. I have to arrive by 8am. Google Maps says that if I drive it will take me approximately half an hour using an interstate highway and a state route. As I'm traveling by myself, I would prefer to take the bus. According to Google Maps, this option will entail me leaving the house at 6:02am, transferring once, walking nearly a mile, and arriving nearly 45 minutes early. This would give me time to drink a cup of coffee and knit several rounds on my current sock and I would feel better about myself as a person and a citizen of the earth, not to mention happier with the folks around me, but you can see why more people don't make this choice, can't you? (Riding a bike is predicted to take 1 hour 19 minutes- probably much longer at the rate I ride lol- and at this time of year that would mean doing so in drizzle or pouring rain most days.)
Personally I don't take the bus if I can help it because riding the bus is so unpleasant.

I'm taller than most and on my local buses there are maybe three seats I can sit in with any semblance of comfort. The rest don't have the leg room. The trouble is, of the three seats I can fit in comfortably two of them are designated priority seats for those less able to stand, so if I want to be reasonably confident I can stay in my seat for the entire journey there's one seat available on the whole bus. Last night I went into town (two miles, along a bus route) and walked in preference to taking the bus.

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Much of this is a chicken-and-egg problem - people don't take the bus because there aren't enough bus routes and the buses don't run frequently enough; and the number of routes and frequency are limited because not enough people take the bus to justify better service. Unfortunately the method I've seen that's most effective in curing this problem is a negative one. Make driving so much less convenient and/or more expensive than it is now and it will get substantial numbers of people to use alternate transport. Not a popular political stance to propose.
It would need to be a two-pronged approach, making one easier while making the other harder. Otherwise you end up with a mess like we have here in London where public transport is often slow and inefficient (and overpriced) but people are pretty much forced onto it anyway because driving is even worse. It would be really nice to have at least one mode of transport that is reliable and at least reasonably comfortable.
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Old 03-20-14, 06:18 AM   #48
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You post provocative material and don't expect an argument?
No, no, no. There is nothing provocative in my posts! YOU post that [in your imagination] I am not well traveled or aware of the world (although I am) and you call MY posts provocative?!?!?!?

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The most entertaining part about your dismissal, though, is that when all else fails -- all the new technology, all the new ideas -- walking still remains the oldest and most reliable mode of transport.
Literally.... I'd give my right arm to live in your imaginative world! I can still bicycle (and drive) without a right arm. But since I am an old man.... MANY of my peers have lost that "most reliable" mode of transport you mention. Yes... one arm would be a small price to pay even to just get my older brother and my daughter's boyfriend.... out of their chairs (the kind with wheels)... and walking again.

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But the way society is going with its reliance on motorised transport, walking has lost its appeal in the broader population. Maybe it will be reintroduced to new generations as the new transport fad. How quaint will that be?
Maybe! I was a little surprised when I read that the big fad among celebrity's is raising chickens. Never can guess what the next "fad" will be. But centralizing a decentralized society.... that's a bigger job than moving mountains. You don't have to kill millions of people to move a land mass. Forced migrations however have always involved.... force.

People don't like to ride busses! And... trying to force people to do what they don't wish to do.... has never ended well.

I apologize if my pragmatic dismissal of wishful thinking is offensive to you. A lifetime of finding real world solutions... to real world problems has hardened my edges. But I truly don't mean to offend anyone. I do believe in the power of dreams.. and the power of inspired ideas. But I can not see power in wishful thinking.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 03-20-14 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 03-21-14, 04:31 AM   #49
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.

I wonder what would happen if some idiot decided to park his car across a couple lanes of the freeway during rush hour. You'd probably have thousands of motorists wishing they'd taken the train to work!
Happens with great regularity around here only thing is I don't believe it is a conscious decision to park, more like a total lack of physics. They routinely have wrecks on the main interstate and it will shut down traffic for several hours causing commutes to go from 35-40 minutes to 3-4 hours. Add something like snow or ice and it is even more insane.

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Old 03-21-14, 07:02 AM   #50
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A slightly different take on what you refer to with late connections. I catch a ferry to and from work. A bus service is supposed to co-ordinate with the ferry service. It would get really frustrating to see the bus from the ferry 100 yards from the dock, and for the bus then to negotiate the roundabout, and head off to the city before the ferry has even docked.
Hopefully a few letters to the company and the newspapers would get their attention.
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