How about gov't as persuader?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bluegoatwoods, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    We'll have to be careful about getting political with this. I'm almost over the line already.

    There's all sorts of scenarios to use as examples. Here's one. I was just looking at a website called "mopedbus". The concept is a small passenger bus with a trailer. Suburban commuters catch this bus at, say, the walmart parking lot. They then ride into the city. They have their mopeds with them when they are downtown plus to and from the bus in the morning. Now I'll bet that many people, even some Escalade commuters, would gladly take part in something like this. Even while fuel is low in price. They'd do it for the same reason that we still like to ride our MBs.

    So how do we raise public awareness of possibilities like this? Television comes to mind, since everyone pays attention to that. How about if the Dept of Transportation used some of those fuel taxes we all pay to buy some commercial time and point out this type of alternative. And not on late night reruns either; make it prime time. Maybe during football games and such. Pay the going market cost. And it need not be a lecture. They could describe the idea and then pose the question. "Do you think this is a good idea? Or not? Please tell your people in Congress and in your state legislature."

    I'll bet we could get a lot more done this way than by regulating us to death.

  2. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    Most 'muricans won't downgrade their status until they're forced to. Just wait until the engineered economic collapse deepens to desperate levels and people will be resorting to mopeds by the masses with or without government mandate just because the Escalade is repod or impossible to maintain. Honestly I don't understand how anybody thought any of those land yachts were a good investment in the first place. The vain will get exactly what they deserve.
    As far as government goes I think we should IGNORE them as much as possible. The only time we should deal with that corrupt enterprise (in the form of protest) is when they try to f--k us once again.
  3. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Any vocational school or community college could outfit a city's fleet of buses with bike carriers, probably at a cost of less than $200 per unit.

    Metro-trains usually have one big "park and ride" for every 5 standard quick stops, and a similar routing setup could be easily designed, using buses outfitted like this one I saw in fact, if bike people were advising, even better/quicker/more secure carrying platforms could be designed.

    So, all sorts of bikes congregate at one or two "big loading up" sites, then are transported to a couple of central "debiking" stops.

    There would be two ways to facilitate bikes at metro/subway systems: have one specific car with half the seats taken out, replaced with racks, or having "burglar proof" bike lockers at the stations, like they are putting on college campuses nowadays.

    Attached Files:

  4. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Yup, Peoria has those same bike carriers. And it's a great idea.
    Only two drawbacks; they wont' accept bikes that have any kind of fuel and they immediately filled up when fuel got to four and a half bucks a gallon.

    And I think they outfitted their entire fleet using grants from Washington and Springfield.
    One example of an actual benefit we get from those guys. So they deserve a pat on the back for trying. It's just not quite enough.

    The moped bus would be an extension of this idea. And it could be done with existing infrastructure. It could even be done privately. But it might be done much more effectively with our transit authorities. What's needed is public awareness of alternatives like this.
  5. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    And thinking about it a bit, Sir Jakesus, I'm more optimistic than you are about one thing; I think Yanks would be somewhat willing to cut back on auto use if there were only some decent alternative. While we champion bicycles, we shouldn't forget that we're a minority. An odd minority, too, to most people. I think most people would enjoy bikes more than they think if only there were more of them out there and they didn't feel, with some justification, that they were taking their lives in their hands.

    I even think that most Americans would be allright with spending their money on, say, subways rather than enriching medieval people who hate our guts if they'd only give the matter a bit more thought.

    And I'm willing to believe that most people would be happy with MBs, mopeds, golf carts,etc if they only also had something useful for those times they had to go further.
    So maybe our two car families could get along with just one. But maybe zero if, say, Amtrak were more available for those trips of a hundred miles or so.

    We might well be a lot more cooperative than we've been in the past except most of us don't seem to think about alternatives very much. Often the President will say the equivalent of "we gotta do something". but then nobody really debates just what needs to be done.

    And that's my point; if these proposals were floated during, say, "The Sopranos" then the public at large would start discussing and thinking about these things. And if gov't simply paid the going rate for these times, then I suppose the networks would be happy to oblige.

    and if we started debating the best way to keep our society sustainable,then I'd say that this is tax money well-spent.
  6. hillofbeans

    hillofbeans New Member

    Perhaps our mouthpieces in Washington need to hang a definition of 'DUB' over their desks as reminders. " A person who dosen't actually know what they're doing, but does it anyway". To paraphrase you, I believe. They have an advantage, as many of them are clueless as to what they are doing. Once again, it might be up to us as an example to ride that thing publicly, and talk it up everywhere we go. My MB garners as much attention as my KMA OPEC licence plate. Upcoming kit advances from EZ Motorbikes featuring a 4-stroke with silent drive train will also help in giving our bikes a greener and more durable footprint. I encourage all to write their representatives, and include specs, photos, miles travelled, and expense. Maybe it will at least inspire them to a little research of their own.
    Happy New Year to you, et all.
    Tom Hill
  7. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    So you don't want the government to "regulate us to death", but you want them to promote a "moped bus" program for city commuters with public funding. Either way, you've got the government involved and that means it'll cost more than planned, and when it is failing, more money will be dumped into the program rather than canceling it. Thanks, but no thanks.

    If the "moped bus" concept is a good idea, then some entrepreneur should develop a business plan and get a loan or investors based on that sound business plan and make it reality. (and hopefully get rich doing so) If you truly believe in such a program, then maybe YOU should be that soon-to-be-millionaire entrepreneur! Why do people always look to the government for the solution? Government is funded by me and you, and all that money gets puts in the hands of benevolent government officials that promptly "plug-in" all of their family and political contributors into the feeding trough. If the concept is truly viable, then it should not need any public funding for advertising to be successful. If it does, then the idea did not have a sound business plan.

    As far as Escalades and two car families, I could care less what you drive, why you drive it, or how many you have. To scoff at people because of their choice of vehicle is more elitism in action.

    I have three cars between me and my wife, got a problem with that? One of them is a SUV. Oh, and theres another collector car in the garage. (a real guzzler too) Why should anyone care what I have? I have to keep them running and pay operating costs, not you.
  8. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    You ought to chill out, Arceeguy.

    I mentioned the Escalade as an example in my post. Did I make any moral judgements about Escalades? No, I did not. You're hallucinating.

    And whether you like it or not you have a government on your back which is taking your money. Calculate the fuel taxes you pay on your prized guzzlers sometime. They're taking your money. I'm proposing what I believe to be a good way for them to spend that money. Would you rather they kept it for themselves? Maybe they could legislate your MB right off the roads, too, while they're at it.

    Why don't you spend a bit of time pondering what merits my proposal might or might not have instead of just being outraged at the thought?

    And if you just can't bring yourself to do that, then keep out of my posts. I don't need them filled with garbage.

    When I said, "we'll have to be careful about going political" it was you I had in mind. It's too bad I have to point that out specifically. But I had a feeling I couldn't trust you to keep your cool.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  9. mabman

    mabman Member

    Most of the reason that folks don't use public transport is because of the inconvenience of the scheduling and what to do on both ends to get from your home to and your ultimate destination from. Then what do you do during the day at that destination to do your specific errands and such?

    They make those bus bike carriers right up the road from me. The are a good idea but as was mentioned they fill up fast as they only hold a few bikes. Plus they make more sense for pedal bikes as MAB's can easily get from point A to B on surface streets within city limits faster than a bus anyway at less cost.

    What I would like to see is a revival in train travel. If trains would accept MAB's then you could get some serious traveling done between cities or in to cities? It doesn't happen here but aren't major metro areas served by some sort of light rail? If so then you could ride to the station, put your MAB on the train and ride it to your stop for work etc.. This would save congestion on both ends of the line and save time and energy.

    We need to utilize the infrastructure that we already have in place. It will be the cheapest and fastest way to travel sustainability. The idea of putting in Monorails and piezo electric road systems is all well and good but will put too much strain on our already overloaded economy and take too long to implement. There are plenty of roads and rail to satisfy our needs that just need to be restructured slightly if at all and people educated in how to quit doing only for themselves for a change and pay more attention to what they can do for others too.
  10. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    The "mopedbus" answers a few of your concerns, Mabman. People ride their mopeds to and from the pickup point and they also have the moped with them downtown or wherever their destination is. They have their personal transportation with them at all ends of the equation. It also has the advatage of using existing infrastructure. Roads, bridges, etc. This is the main reason, actually, that this particular idea could be done privately.

    Also I'd agree with you that improving light rail, subways, etc would be a very good idea. I'd rather spend money on these things than on oil. That money goes into the hands of people who are shaky friends at best and downright hostile to us in many, many cases.

    If you add in the fact that the oil has to run out sooner or later, then keeping up the auto as our main source of transport would appear to be suicidal.

    So how do we convince our neighbors and fellow taxpayers of this? My proposal would seem to point in that direction. Are there other ways?

    Of course there are those who might say that government has no business being social engineers. But I have a hard time seeing just why that should be. And are there alternatives?

    Some would point to the free market. But I look at the dismal condition of the American auto industry and American public transportation and I don't feel all that optimistic about the free market's ability to keep us self-sustaining. In fact, that ability has maybe already been lost for good.
  11. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Me chill?
    I am not angry or outraged, I am just voicing an opinion, that's all. I'm keeping my cool, are you?

    Your moral judgment on Escalade owners was implicit, why else would you say "even Escalade commuters". I am not hallucinating. You judge me and my "prized guzzlers" as you call them, yet you know nothing of how I use my cars. The SUV only gets driven when I need the capabilities of the SUV. We own a compact car that gets over 30mpg, and that is the one that gets used everyday. I also own a motorcycle which gets almost 100mpg and I use it whenever the weather is nice. The collector car is used less than 1000 miles a year.

    My point is why the government needs to be involved here at all? Your argument is that they are taking our money, so why don't they spend it on something YOU think is worthwhile. My opinion is that they shouldn't be taking so much of my money in the first place! You accept the thought that government must take our money and spend it, and you think of ways for them to spend our money.

    So can the moped bus concept be a profitable business without government involvement? If so, let's hear more! If not, then why bother?

    Don't mopeds and scooters (especially 2 stroke models) pollute a he11uva lot more than a modern "gas guzzling" SUV?
  12. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Oh boy, where to start with something like this.....You would have seen that there was no moral judgement in my mention of Escalades had you given any thought to it. I was picturing in my mind a commuter with an Escalade or a Hummer or even a Prius, if you'd prefer, and thinking that even those folks, mostly, would probably like to ride a scooter or an MB , or even a pedal bike, if they had safe, clean roads to do it on. They would like to do so for the same reason that you and I like to do so; it's fun. I was not condemning anyone over what they drive. Just the opposite; I was expressing something like sympathy. The feeling that they only need a little bit of encouragement in order to join up with us. That should not have been too hard to figure out, so, yes, you were hallucinating. Or something like it. Maybe something a bit more willfull?

    And my mention of "prized" guzzlers was, I'll admit, a bit of a jab right at you. "Yeah, I've got a gas guzzler. You got a problem with that?" That's not opinion. That's not honest debate. That's rancor. You're only a little bit younger than me. Haven't you grown up more than that yet?

    And "why does government need to be involved at all?" You know, government really does have legitimate functions. Maintaining roads, communications, defense. Only hard-core anarchists would deny that. Are you one of them? It seems possible, based on many of your posts. If so, you should say so. But maybe not. People who think a bit can figure out where you're coming from. But back to the point; if government does indeed have legitimate functions, then where should the line be drawn? Should they be limited to only hard infrastructure? Or should they be encouraging us to be looking further ahead and trying to circumvent some of the dangers looming on the horizon? Some of the dangers ahead are truly deadly. Shouldn't we be concerned? Most of the people I know are either not concerned at all or they refuse to acknowledge it. They sit slack-jawed in front of the TV. The whole point of this thread is my hope that we can use that very same self-destructive behavior to maybe fix some, maybe most, of these issues.

    To repeat myself again, which should be unnecessary; whether you like it or not you have a government that is taxing you. Don't you want them to use that money for something good? "My opinion is that they shouldn't be taking so much of my money in the first place." Okay, fair enough. If I can interpret that a bit further, then I'd guess that you feel they should be held down to the bare minimum. Roads and stuff like that.
    But if that's the case, then do you have some sort of alternative to our society heading, headlong and heedless, into a brick wall? Energy depletion would be one example. Pollution would be another. And there are others. Can you propose some mechanism that would steer us into a better course? How about the free market? You'll forgive my skepticism, but the free market doesn't seem all that well suited to the task. I worked beautifully during the twentieth century when raw materials and energy were still cheap and plentiful and there was a hungry world just dying to purchase anything and everything we could produce. But those days are over. And even then, "beautifully" is too nice a word when you consider that the price paid was the depletion of a good chunk of our "capital".

    So, if I can speculate a bit, you feel that government has no business persuading us to do what's right. And there is reason to think that free market capitalism is not up to the task. Do you have alternatives to offer? Or are you just a nit-picker?

    Arceeguy, your MB centered posts are of the highest quality. Grade A. You have terrific knowledge of these bikes. You're light-years ahead of the likes of me. There are others around here who are pretty knowledgable, but I can't think of anyone who is clearly your superior in these matters. For that, I thank you and I, very honestly, value your contributions to this forum. I mean that absolutely.

    But on matters of social policy you become, simply, a Rush Limbaugh wannabe.
    You ignore the actual issue being discussed and you seek to inflame the discussion.
    It's exhausting.

    One other thing; two stroke engines are relatively dirty. You won't get any argument from me on that. But just for kicks why don't we see if we can calculate how much pollution is generated by two strokes and compare it to how much pollution is generated by automobiles? You can probably see where this is going. Both sides are going to be able to come up with numbers that "prove" they're right and the other side is wrong.
    Surely we've all known this for some time. What's the point, really, in even bringing it up?
  13. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    I dunno bluegoatwoods, if you would have written "even Prius commuters" your statement would not have had the same impact smacking down SUV owners. I know what you meant, SirJakesus knew what you meant, we all know what you meant. Do you really want honest debate? You lifted one sentence from my first post here (the Escalade comment) and seem to be dwelling on it, yet you fail to debate the real point, which is whether a ped-bus is a viable business venture without government involvement.

    A "hard core anarchist"? Hardly. A fiscal conservative and a constitutionalist - yes. Of course government has essential functions. National security, infrastructure, and yes, overseeing our financial markets among other things.

    You want government to force people to "do the right thing". The problem with that is what you define as "the right thing" may not be someone else's definition of "the right thing". So who decides what really is "the right thing". Now some things are common sense, like laws against dumping mercury or PCB's into lakes and rivers. Funding a ped-bus might be a good idea to you, but maybe srdavo's idea would be electric cars with charging stations all over the city, and bamabikeguy's idea is a fleet of segway scooters. Everyone can lobby government for the funding and present their ideas. My point is that if the idea needs government funding because it cannot get private financial backing, the idea is not a good one. (By the way, srdavo got the grant money because his sister-in-law is the daughter of a state senator - this is how gov't works, oh well.....)

    Free markets work, we saw a great example this past summer when the price of fuel skyrocketed. People stopped buying large vehicles, and started buying small economy cars. No government mandated CAFE standards needed. We will transition off of oil when other energy sources are cost competitive. But for now, you cannot tell someone to eat a $10 plate of oatmeal (solar/wind power) when a $5 Prime Rib (oil/coal) is available. If you personally want to eat the $10 oatmeal because it is "the right thing to do", then you are free to do so. But government should not tax the $5 prime rib so the oatmeal is more price competitive. And, after all, it is still oatmeal and many people will pay the extra NOT to eat oatmeal. Gov't knows this and that's how they get their "windfall profits" to start new social programs and buy votes.

    Thanks, I do try to share any relevant knowledge I have of small engines, etc.

    But there's always a but...... :rolleyes7:

    I would rather be a "Rush wannabe" than a Carl Marx protégé any day!

    I do not seek to inflame, but I seek to make others think. Someone's got to play devil's advocate here, and lemme tellya, it's not an easy job! You knew your title was controversial when you posted, and the title caught my attention. You didn't think that someone would have a different opinion than your own?

    Remember this, nothing I write should be taken personally as I don't take anything personally on internet forums. This is an exchange of ideas, an online debate. You get some zingers in, your opponent gets some zingers in. Everyone sits back with some popcorn, or they can jump in and state their opinions.

    Little utility engines, either two stroke or 4 stroke are very dirty when compared to modern automobiles. As far as emissions goes, even a diminutive 50cc four stroke is no match for a modern car engine with sophisticated electronic fuel management. I really don't care that these little engines spew out more hydrocarbons and NOx, the primary reason for me riding cycles is conservation of fuel. (Very un-Rush like) If/when the motorcycling/scootering/motored bike population becomes a significant number, then I would say that tighter EPA regulations would be necessary. But for now, why are we picking on HT engines and whether or not they have a stupid sticker?

    In closing, let's see some numbers that show the ped-bus and other similar concepts are a sound business idea and how they would save the commuter money. (With no gubmint cheese)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2015
  14. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    Dude.....SHHHHHHHHHH. geez! How am I spose to get in on the $10 oatmeal grant, if you tell everybody. (illegitimate daughter, to be exact!!)

    right on!!

    (I got a tub of "Trail's End" caramel popcorn, with nuts, for keep the zingers coming!)
  15. mabman

    mabman Member


    Acree, Acrimonious. Get it?

    As frustrating as it is to know that there are people out there that disagree with your personal thoughts, especially those that twist them in to a pretzel, the best thing to do is ignore them. This works for both sides.
  16. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Of course it's a good idea. That's supposedly why we elect leaders, to lead and persuade through leadership offering informed choices and vision.
    Unfortunately, we don't have that nationally. Will it ever come? It will have to be a grassroots groundswell, like much significant political change, start local and grow.
  17. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    You know, some years ago I rode my bicycle to the park n' ride lot nearest where I lived (3/4 of a mile), and would board an express bus to about a mile from where I worked - with my bicycle in the rack on the side of the bus. The driver would hang it from the fork tube, put a rubber "mitten" on the left pedal, and hook a bungee cord to the hook at the bottom of the body side panel. Both sides of the busses on those routes were so equipped, and would carry about 25 bikes per side (never needed to). I had my bike at work, and I could go to the supermarket on my way home for any grocery shopping I wanted to do. Ride each way was about 35 minutes.

    Local service busses would NOT accept bicycles, but they would pick me up literally outside my apt door, and drop me about 150 feet from my workplace door. Unfortunately, that routing took 3 changes each way, and used up 2 1/2 hours each way. I got really tired of the lack of any intermediate level of service - riding a pedal bike on city streets in Houston is an exercise in terror, daily.

    So, early 90's, I started attending transportation district hearings and committee meetings every chance I got. Many others were doing similarly, and we pushed hard for a re-routing of the entire system, adding additional centralized major stops and "circulator" busses that never went downtown at all - they travelled the major arterials between major stops, and there you would transfer to a local. Plus, they added front racks to most local busses that would accomodate about 5 bikes each.

    It all helped, but was still far from perfect. There is one simple administrative requirement change that would rationalize and improve bus service in any city which implemented it within at most 2-3 years. Simply make it a requirement of employment - at every level bottom to top - by the bus company/transportation district that you MUST ride the bus to and from work not less than 3 out of every 5 shifts worked.

    Bus drivers, mechanics, supervisors, transit cops, admin personnell, elected governing body members - doesn't matter. Do that, and bus service WILL improve.
  18. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Here's an example perhaps.

    In the current issue, 1/09, of National Geographic magazine there is mention of the federal Bike Commuter Act explaining as of January 1 2009 employers can give a $20 monthly tax-free credit to employee cyclists for bike related expenses.

    It's in the short piece about Portland Oregon's "bike boxes" at street intersections. The article goes on to state the significant bump recently recorded in bikes on bus racks commuter use in various locales:

    Houston, TX: + 235%
    Hartford, CT: + 159%
    Charlotte, NC: +71%
  19. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Maybe I didn't make my point really clear. Sorry about that. But "mopedbus" was what got me thinking in this direction. Actually some of the comments on mass transit have been interesting. But I was thinking about something else.

    Let's imagine the President directs his Secretary of Transportation to stimulate debate within our society over the best way to prepare for the day when autos are no longer as common as they are now. One might argue that there's no need for this; we can wait until fuel costs 9.95/gallon. Then this particular problem will fix itself. But I can't help thinking that the fix could be a lot less painful if we start preparing early. If nothing else, the hurt that would put on our economy might well make it much more difficult to implement alternative transportation. That almost happened this past summer. So if it's agreed that we should start planning for troubles ahead, then how do our leaders get us all thinking about what we should do?

    My proposal is that they should purchase commercial time on the television networks. To paraphrase myself; "We think this is a good idea. And here are a couple of alternatives. What do you think? Good idea? Bad? Please let your people in Congress know." We, on average, don't really pay enough attention to what our leaders are up to.
    But we, on average, pay a lot of attention to Hollywood. So shouldn't our leaders speak to us from that direction?

    And this technique needn't be limited to transportation issues. We could use it to determine almost any matter of public policy.

    One way or another, we'll continue to pay taxes. Does it sound like a good idea to use some of that tax money to determine the public's consensus on a particular issue?
  20. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    In a word - "no".

    Maybe if people stopped thinking of creative ways to spend tax money, we could all enjoy lower taxes.