SILICON VALLEY: Hey, you know how we could fix transportation?
ME: By decisively shifting towards mass transit instead of having massive concrete jungles based on the premise that every single person will have their own $40,000 deathtrap of pollution?
SILICON VALLEY: No, we're gonna have the deathtraps, just without any drivers!
ME: ๏ฝ๏ฝˆ๏ผŽ๏ผŽ๏ผŽ

ยท Tusky ยท 6 ยท 101 ยท 128

Have a friend whose a civil engineer for a large metro traffic department say last week:

"nothing makes me smile like when someone complains about forty single occupant cars having to wait for a two hundred occupant light-rail to pass and I get to smugly reply, 'workin as intended'. "

@_cr0_tab @dnannann The assumption pushed is that the train/bus is always full and the cars are always single occupant. But then the train/bus has to do a return trip almost empty with the same smug fu to other commuters.

And did you ever ask yourself why people in cars don't take the train/bus. Usually because it's so demeaning they'd rather endure the delay, parking cost, etc.

It's about forcing the working class to be cattle.

Oh, I often have to take the NYC subway. I have three lines I could use yet often none are even close to providing decent service. Ride a bike, like I do.

@Silversalty @_cr0_tab The idea that public transport is something inherently demeaning is something that is both completely hogwash and restricted entirely to the United States. Any notion that public transit is a demeaning experience is solely because of personal prejudices against public transit and institutional measures which make public transit the only viable option for disadvantaged people in the U.S.

@Silversalty @_cr0_tab Europe, Japan, and honestly most other countries, developed or developing, lack the sort of disdain for public transit the U.S. has, and as a result public transit networks in those regions are much more comprehensive, efficient, and widely-used

@Silversalty @_cr0_tab If that disdain didn't exist in the first place, much more investment into mass transit in the U.S. could be effected - most of the faults in American transit are due to that prejudice and the fact most U.S. cities are sprawling, unlivable suburban hells

@Silversalty @_cr0_tab Honestly, if you don't want the working class to be treated like cattle, don't try and shame them for their choice of transit - mass transit is the most practical choice for cheap and clean movement of large amounts of people in large cities

Undo the preconceived and uniquely American notion that public transit is shameful and that any *real* individual has to drive

@Silversalty @_cr0_tab Saying "mass transit makes people feel like cattle, you people should just bike" is honestly like saying "just getting a civil wedding at a courthouse is dehumanising, go get married in Greece" because it ignores a lot of factors, like how bicycling is really only a viable option for people living in city centres with ample biking infrastructure

@Silversalty @_cr0_tab Last point - Honestly, I've lived in both the US and Europe, and European transit has made me feel more free than I ever did in the US

The "mass transit makes people feel like cattle" notion is something that's self-perpetuating - it only seems that way because the perception of mass transit as being like that makes it seem that way and prevents any actual improvement, and ultimately it does a lot more to harm than help


Indian here. From the capital, Delhi.
Can assure you that disdain for public transport is not restricted to America. In fact I invite you to stay for a few months here and who knows you might find a new respect for 'deathtraps' that you speak of.

In my adult life, I have been mugged some 5-6 times - each and every time while on public transport or while walking on road. Last time was as recent as November 4, 2017.

@Silversalty @_cr0_tab


Since 5 years now, I generally commute by motorbike, but I also own and drive a car. So I have been safe while driving these, no matter where I go.

I use public transit only when it is prohibitively inconvenient to drive.

@Silversalty @_cr0_tab

@Wraptile Taxis can, at most, hold about 8 people per ride while using the same amount of fuel as regular cars for the same journeys

It would be sliiiightly better than before, sure, but actual mass transit, ideally rail-based mass transit, beats driverless cars on almost every metric, and that's assuming somehow driverless tech gets used for cabs and not just gets proliferated and we have the same thing we have now

@Wraptile Even electric would still not work, just because the issue isn't just with environmentalism, the issue is also the fact that city living based on the automobile, and the accompanying suburban sprawl, is inherently unhealthy and alienating and demonstrably has a negative impact on human development

@Wraptile Honestly, even discounting studies, we already have our own version of these electric AI taxis - they're called regular taxis

All electric AI cabs would do is fill the niche regular taxis already fill while doing nothing to fix unlivable urban conditions, charging standard taxi rates, contributing to instead of displacing traffic, and generally doing nothing except be a new novelty

The idea of them being the transport of the future is the domain of self-indulgent Atlantic writers

@Wraptile The idea that a service that's basically just regular taxis but more complicated, displacing a pre-existing field of labour, and charging rates exactly the same as those we already have (rates beyond the reach of most working people for everyday travel, by the way) is a classic example of Silicon Valley overengineering for basic societal issues

@Wraptile A taxi, definitionally, is a small vehicle transporting small loads of people for pay, with fares being usually being about 10 times larger than those for rail or bus. Whether or not a human or an AI is driving that vehicle makes no difference, because the same niche is being filled. The fact that these (assumedly) privately-owned taxis would charge around $10 per ride is just the first issue - no average person would be able to afford that constant daily expense for travel.

@Wraptile That fact alone precludes the very idea of AI taxi services somehow displacing buses/rail, but it's not all - when you account for the energy needed to power a massive fleet of these taxis, electric or not, environmental impact just can't compete with buses or especially trams/rail, who can carry much more people with a comparative amount of energy as about two electric cars. This eliminates the alleged environmental advantage.

@Wraptile Then there's the fact that this plan would do nothing for the real issue at stake here - the fact that surburban living based on automobiles, electric or not, AI driven or not, is inherently wasteful, unhealthy, and environmentally unfriendly. Would overall traffic be reduced if these taxis somehow become the only form of transit? Sure, but I've already demonstrated that the high upfront fares just wouldn't be appealing versus personal car ownership or mass transit.

@Wraptile Hence, there wouldn't be any attraction for this except in the same niche regular taxis fill, which is basically journeys for people who, for whatever reason, cannot use buses and do not have access to a private car. So essentially, the same overall structure of urban living would be the same, the AI taxis fill the same niche as regular ones, and things essentially stay the same.

@Wraptile My point here is this - I'm not going to deny that some form of car-like road transit is going to be a part of any future urban planning, because there are always going to be niches mass transit can't fill, but this seems to me like an attempt to shift the burden of paying for social change from the government, which has vast reserves of funds, to average people, who have little - and in the process, solving nothing

@Wraptile I mean, considering how I live in Dublin for most of the year, and even Dublin Bus's inflated fares at about โ‚ฌ2.10 cost immeasurably less than Uber's โ‚ฌ20 fares there...

@Wraptile @dnannann Basically, are you suggesting that public transportation needs to go and taxi should take its place? Does it include complete removal of privately owned cars as well? Because otherwise I don't see it working at all.


ME_2: Huh. Well, while there's no one in the cars, they'll be paying parking rates on a Shoup system, even if they're moving. Wouldn't want to add perverse incentives!

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