[LMB] OT: Cars, independence, and haut bubble

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Fri Sep 3 02:39:34 BST 2021


Buses, at least outside of high-density population areas, don't seem
capable of supporting themselves.  The fares they'd have to charge merely
to break even are more than people wish to pay; given how relatively
inflexible and inconvenient they are, the decision to use personal
transports like cars instead makes perfect sense.

The town I live in has extensive bus routes, but the buses are heavily
subsidized by the local university, and the company that runs it seemingly
has no interest in attracting new customers or encouraging more use.  It
doesn't even offer a discount if you purchase tokens or a use plan, both of
which involve giving the company moderate to substantial amounts of money
well in advance of service use.  If running the buses were profitable,
they'd work to get people to use their services.  Instead, the only
attempts to find new customers I've ever seen them make involve special
runs between distant parking locations and the stadium on football game
days, and their fares for such trips are significantly pricier than normal.

On a somewhat tangential note:  self-driving cars initially sound more
convenient.  But I suspect that after such things become viable it will be
increasingly difficult to drive a vehicle ourselves.  Computer-controlled
cars are easy to control and track.  And simple to redirect.  A healthy
paranoia suggests that we should consider the motivations of people trying
to introduce such things, just as with those who have been pushing hard for
data to be stored in clouds and the re-centralization of computer
mainframes.

Matt G.


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