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City Buses: Time to Go Out With the Old?

Future Cities
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 00:00 EST

23 comments
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Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
12/27/2014 3:03:31 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: How about a new poll?
I'll second the call for a new site poll. Can we get a third? Anyone?

NewDream
NewDream  
12/27/2014 10:24:30 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: How about a new poll?
NEW POLL! NEW POLL! NEW POLL!

Oh, was I shouting that out loud?

It really is about time for some new topic in that right sidebar though, don't you think?

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
11/3/2014 11:25:22 PM
User Rank Blogger
How about a new poll?
How about a new poll that looks at the ability of cloud services to address cities' toughest technology challenges?

Something like: What's the biggest impediment cities face with respect to cloud adoption?

--Price

--Inability to customize

--Security and manageability

--Too political, especially if it meant reducing internal IT staff

--Other (please specify in comments below)

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
3/31/2014 3:36:42 PM
User Rank Blogger
What kind of buses, then?
The verdict from this poll is not the least bit ambiguous... seems we're pushing for more city buses. I know this issue has been raised at least in part in other blogs, but where are folks with their thinking around diesel/natural gas/electric motorization/hybrids? Projjal Dutta turned a lot of my thinking on its head with his blog and comments last month. 

The5thHorseman
The5thHorseman  
3/19/2014 3:22:26 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Sometimes, older is better...
I agree with you that not everything should be privatized. A good example is law enforcement. I don't believe that private companies, like Blackwater or Haliburton should be in law enforcement roles. Police departments are an example of an organization that should be actively monitored by elected leaders and judicial branches, in order to ensure that they are serving the public, and not intimidating us. This ensures that there is transparency and insight into their activities, and a level of control. Another example; prison systems. If we are going to jail criminals convicted of crimes against society by the judicial system, then those prisons should be operated and maintained by those entities, that there is a measure of public control over the facilities and their operation. The difference between operating a transportation system and operating one of these examples, is that there is a societal responsibility associated with operating law enforcement agencies and penal facilities, to ensure they operate within the society's laws and standards. The transportation system is not a service that requires this type of oversight, and is not a function of the government. We, as a society, need to return to entrpreneurism and provide services for ourselves, that our local economies can thrive again, create jobs and prosperity again for local communities. It's not the only answer, but it works... and it makes us do things for ourselves and for our neighbors. Wouldn't it be cool to know your neighbors again? 

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
3/19/2014 2:34:06 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Sometimes, older is better...
What you're describing sounds more like abdication than governing, which is understandable given the despair over the lack of creativity among elected leaders, lifelong bureaucrats, and the thinktanks that are paid to study and propose wacky new stuff. I don't think government's the solution to all society's challenges, but the "privatize everything" argument isn't either.

The5thHorseman
The5thHorseman  
3/18/2014 7:59:00 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Sometimes, older is better...
Government has a purpose... to govern. They should not build roads, they should govern; provide oversight, set standards, building codes, develop the laws and rules that apply, provide enforcement, etc. The actual building of roads to meet the standards is the job of engineers and licensed contractors. "Schools are also enormously costly; privatize them too?"   ... Absolutely. Under the control of the federal government, the American public education system has been in a free-fall. In fact, ever since President Lyndon Johnson implemented the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, federal involvement in education has led to zero improvement in student outcomes, and instead has led to quite the opposite. The 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranks U.S. high school students 36th in the world... Shanghai is ranked number 1. Government, it seems, is not good at this either... because they are politicians, NOT teachers. You're right Terry, government, society and business all have a stake in various infrastructure throughout our nation... an infrastructure that is crumbling down around our ears because government has been overwhelmed by having to do it all. Society has to take responsibility for itself, and stop expecting the arbirtary entity of "The government" to solve all its problems... because they aren't solving your problems, they're making them worse. You mentioned you live in L.A. ... Let's see how "The government" handles the absence of fresh water this summer. California only received 32% of it's average rain and snowfall this winter, and the resevoirs are already empty... Do you think the people will solve the problem, or will they look at the government to save them? What do you think will happen  when the central valley farmers get no water for crops? The federal government has already layed claim to all water coming from up north through federally owned aquaducts... what happens when there is no food or water because science was ignored by "The government"? It's gonna be an interesting summer...

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
3/18/2014 6:51:43 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Sometimes, older is better...
Hmmmmmm... should government also get out of the business of building roads? Charging for their use? Schools are also enormously costly; privatize them too? Seems like government, society and certainly businesses all have a stake in various kinds of infrastructure that benefit the users and the community at large. I'm actually okay with more funding or more budget devoted to public transportation, especially in L.A. where I live, but also in any city where movement is inefficient, costly and bad for the environment.

The5thHorseman
The5thHorseman  
3/18/2014 6:19:47 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Sometimes, older is better...
Hi Terry,

"... I don't know of any public transportation system in the world that's self-sustaining or not subsidized by local and/or federal dollars. Do you?" ... Well, that's really my point Terry, that's the direction we need to go and no, there are not a lot of examples of this in the U.S. Austin Texas recently privatized their bus system, but it is not yet self sustaining. In Detroit, where public transportation has essentially collapsed, new small companies are starting up to fill the gaps; see http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/alternative-fuel/biofuels/a-private-bus-company-debuts-in-detroit-8657656  ... These startups are encouraging. Government should never have gone into this business in the first place, or into any other service provider activity... it is not their purpose. And undoing this will not be painless or easy. But I can say this... there is not enough taxpayers in the workforce to sustain the astronomical costs associated with our current "the government provides all" model. The baby boomers are retiring, and the taxpayer base is shrinking at an alarming rate. We have to do something about it. Cut the cost of government or watch services collapse over the next 20 years. I hope we can reassign services to businesses to the mutual benefit of the government and taxpayers, to find the balance in between, and grow new businesses and opportunity for employment.

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
3/18/2014 4:05:12 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Sometimes, older is better...
Interesting perspective, 5thH... I appreciate not wanting to add to the tax burden and city budget. But I don't know of any public transportation system in the world that's self-sustaining or not subsidized by local and/or federal dollars. Do you?

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