Tuesday, December 30, 2008


A hat tip to the Peak Energy Blog for helping me to find this gem of arrogance. Someone told me about this advertisement in Vancouver back in 2003, but I could never trace the original down as it was advertising. A Vancouver GM dealer arrogantly advertised that our transit system serves "creeps and weirdos".

Interurban trains across North America were replaced by sleek GM cars and buses. It was considered progress at the time, and even our very own BC Electric Chilliwack to Vancouver Interurban (that ran PROFITABLY from the early 1900's to the 1950's) was also replaced in the name of progress.

I fail to understand why people love automobiles so much. My vehicle is a utility (like a tool in my garage) and it is no more than that. If there was reliable and convenient transit I would park my vehicle as I did when I lived in Vancouver. My 2001 Honda Accord had only 6,000 km. on it when I sold it to a friend in 2005. What is this love affair all about? Why must half of The Province newspaper contain car advertising and all of these domestic firms are going broke?

The Big 3 are always fighting for market freedom and reduced government emission and other standards. But suddenly government is a big piggy bank and is needed. None of these companies shed any tears for the loss of great transportation systems like our interurban and now we have come full circle. The days of the one person per car ARE NUMBERED and we should be bombarding Ottawa and our local municipalities to get LIGHT RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE on the list of priorities for our cities. If we don't do it now during this time of massive infrastructure upgrading, then we will never see our transit needs met any time soon. Forget bailing out the Big 3 and let market forces take their course. Survival of the fittest. It's time to revive Light Rail Transit.

Along these lines I found this really neat account of Tacoma Washington's history and mention of their Interurban and the current Sounder trains. The author talks about looking to the past to find what the future may hold for us. He seems like a very wise man.

"In celebrating 125 years over the past 12 months, The News Tribune has shown, among other things, that the past is sometimes a harbinger of what will be. In 1898, city commuters rode 17 private streetcar lines – and now there is talk of streetcars once again. In 1902, the first Interurban train traveled from Tacoma to Seattle. Closed in 1930, 70 years would pass until a train called Sounder would once again deliver riders between the two cities."

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