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Monday, November 23, 2009

The Need for Efficient Public Transportation System

I remember the time when hurricane Katrina hit the coast of New Orleans in 2005. Besides loss of lives and properties, the devastating effects of the hurricane forced thousands of people to abandon their homes and run for their lives.

In the meantime, forecast about another possible hurricane Rita to hit Houston, Texas, made headlines in the news media and the major media carried video clippings of people flee their homes. Although hurricane Rita never made it into the city but turned away, the most bizzare thing about it was to see around 3 million people taking on to the Interstate highway , which was turned to a giant 16 lane oneway. The swarm of cars, were moving at snail's pace, like 9 km in 30 hours or so. People were pushing their cars to save gas as the gas stations ran out of gas. There were even news about people flocking at the airports which in any probablity could not have operated during a bad weather like that. This triggered some of the scariest thoughts in me and in fact triggered some of the flaws in a North American society.

In a scenario like this, a good and efficient public transportation system would have been the most ideal solution to mass rapid transportion. For instance, the availability of an efficient railroad system or even bus service could have transported hundreds of people to a safer destination at the same time taking hundreds of automobiles out of the road. This would drastically cut down the need for gas in individual cars as well.

Wouldn't this be a simple solution to the growing concern about fossil fuels and green-house gases. If a reasonably cheap and efficient public transportation system that could cater to the needs of the public be provided, it would take hundreds of cars out of the streets. Couldn't the richest country on the face of the Earth able to do this?

It's said that the giant automobile companies like the Ford and GM bought the rail roads and gradually disintegrated it to the sate of oblivion, in order to promote the sales of their vehicles. Today, Americans are obsessed with driving big cars, pick-up trucks, mini vans and SUVs. I don't understand the need for a man to drive any of this large fuel consuming cars, with the exception of families having a few children or members. But families with more than 2 or 3 memebers are a declining commodity or a vanishing group in the post-mordern culture of US. Every Tom, Dick & Harry wants to move their ass around in a big fat car to show they are proud members of a phony 'American Dream'. It is this greed for more and more and the senseless consumeristic mentality that pushed the greatest nation of America into a big fu*king shopping mall.

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