After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern – i.e., for those who could afford it: owning and driving our own cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles, getting into taxis by ourselves, riding in streets that are designed for cars and not much else — there is considerable evidence accumulating that we have already entered into a world of new mobility practices that are changing the transportation and city landscape in many ways. It has to do with sharing, as opposed to outright ownership. But strange to say, this trend seems to have escaped the attention of the policymakers in many of the institutions directly concerned. Continue reading
* Click for 4 minute video: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/video/2014/03/17/gender-public-transport-in-nepal
If I live outside of a city — say, in a classic spread suburb, rural area, commuter town or other hard to serve low density area — and if I happen not own a car, or on days when my car is not available, I am going to have an extremely hard time getting to work or wherever it is I need to go this morning.
In principle I have a few choices, for example: (a) Get down on my knees and beg for a ride from family or neighbors. (b) Try to find (and somehow get to) a bus or local pubic transport (in a period of ever-decreasing public services and budget cuts, so good luck!). (c) Search out a taxi if you can find one, call, wait for it eventually to show up and then pay a hefty amount. (d) For work trips, and if I am lucky, there may be a ride-sharing scheme. Or, for many less comfortable but still possible, (e) the hitchhiking option. (f) Or do like an increasing number of my fellow commuters and buy a cheap motorcycle. And perhaps most likely of all (g) be obliged to reschedule or forget the trip. But at the end of the day, and all things considered, I am forced to conclude that the reality of life in suburbia and rural areas today is: no car = no mobility. Harsh!
But stuff changes.We are entering a new and very different age of technology, communications and mobility, and as American writer Josh Stephens reminds us in the following article, things are starting to look up.
The purpose of this first exploratory workshop hosted by the European Citizens Mobility Forum (ECMF) is to solicit peer reviews, critical commentary and action recommendations on the part of the expert participants on the ideas and proposals set out for the group by the invited speaker. Observations and recommendations both from the vantage of their specific organizations, and more generally to the ECMF as a major organization responsible for collective land passenger transport. The complete text of this working presentation follows.
All of the protests taking place at varying levels of violence in different parts of the world against Uber and Uber-like taxi and shared-transport services are definitely not just an example of a one-shot phenomenon that will resolve itself in different ways in different places, and then shortly go away, leaving things largely as they always were in our sensationally inefficient mobility arrangements in and around our cities. there is a revolution going on in our world’s streets, and once this has advanced far enough, it is going to change the paradigm for mobility in and around cities forever. No less!
The following article by the international expert Richard Darbéra makes this point clearly and from opening shot in which he announces no less than “taxis as we know them are expected to disappear “. We invite you to have a look at this posting and to share your comments and/or challenges either here in world streets or on the associated Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/WorldStreetsOnline
There is a revolution going on that is going to change the face of transport in and around cities in a way that no other has in the last century. The starting point is that humble taxi that you cannot always find when you need it most — that is to say a rolling metal box with rubber tires, a human being at the wheel, and some kind of engine propelling it along, with or without human cargo. But this thing, this taxi as it is called, is in the process of being reinvented as a rolling, pliant always-on 21st century information system. And of course we are looking into this closely in the pages of World Streets.
“Regulations that prohibit shared taxis are an example of worst practice.” – Ann Hackett
In eleven short words Ann Hackett has put her finger on one of the most egregious “Worst Practices” in our field. And, as it happens, one that we know enough about to easily resolve.