Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How ‘I Won’t Ride’ Morphs into ‘Nobody Will Ride’

Those of us who follow Honolulu rail issues closely come across this anti-railer assertion over and over again: “Nobody will ride this train.” The Human Transit website, which also bears watching closely, discusses today (the 27th in Australia) how a personal preference or dislike can become a mistaken belief that everyone shares that particular view.

Jarrett Walker, Human Transit’s host and author, writes:

“Watching the larger mass of transit debates, it’s always striking how quickly ‘I would never ride a bus’ turns into an unverified claim that ‘most people would never ride buses.’ Most of us want to feel that we’re part of the majority, however invisible or repressed. At another point on the spectrum, you’ll hear the same pattern, ‘I feel x, therefore most people feel x,’ in claims that transit is an effete distraction from real people’s needs because real people (like the speaker) want to drive their cars.”

We don’t doubt that people are accustomed to driving their own cars. It’s what Americans are used to after decades of “car liberation” first enjoyed by our parents or grandparents. Gasoline may be in our DNA by now, but there’s no legitimacy in the “nobody will ride” argument just because rail opponents are convinced they never will.

In the end, we suspect they’ll jump aboard as readily as anyone else once they (begrudgingly) appreciate rail transit’s convenience and money-saving possibilities.

Gas Price Dips!

One day after this site proclaimedGas Hits Record Each Day….,” the statewide average for regular gas in Hawaii fell today – by all of one-tenth of a penny to $4.536. Honolulu stayed true to the trend, however, and added half a cent to set a new record for regular’s average price in the city -- $4.436.

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