Comment 94881

By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 14:22:20 in reply to Comment 94874

1) It’s certainly not inadmissible to think that fossil fuels are going to get more expensive. No one can claim that fossil fuels will not eventually become costly- they are finite, so of course they will. Whether that it is within the span of a human lifetime or not is questionable. That isn’t what you originally argued, though: you said that energy will become expensive, which is wrong. Other forms of energy are becoming dramatically more affordable, and there are reasons to believe (particularly with solar) that this will accelerate to the point where energy is genuinely abundant. Whether or not you think new extraction techniques are bona fide innovation is beside your point- cheap energy will make the private automobile untenable. Not so at all.

2) I agree when you say “the key is to decouple vehicle ownership from social status.” But I’m not sure how you’re doing it when you say “cities cannot favour automobile owners at the expense of the less financially able members of the community.” When you say that, you are expressing a belief in the notion that transit users are “less financially able,” which is not necessarily the case. You think that very few people are taking transit out of altruism, which is fine. But I’m telling you that taking transit makes one more financially healthy than owning and operating a private automobile. When you say “the truth hurts,” I think that you are trying to say that I am poor/disadvantaged, and offended by your statement since I take the bus. That’s not exactly what hurts: just that my belief is that taking transit is a beneficial economic decision, no matter your income level, and it adds no value to call transit users poor. To repeat: no one who takes the bus is “less financially able,” but rather MORE financially able (than if they had been had they insisted on maintaining and using a car).

3)“The middle class is a shrinking demographic.” Nonetheless, it is by far the largest demographic, so where else should we focus? I’m not positive what you’re trying to say. If the middle class is in decline, and that’s a bad thing, supporting public transit is part of the way (I would say a big part of the way) we can arrest that decline. Isn’t it obvious that the best way to convince someone of something is to explain to them why it’s better? But, anyway, if the term “middle class” doesn’t appeal to you, we can say it this way: reducing dependence on the private automobile will help any Canadian, regardless of income, to be better off. Is that okay?

You think that the culture of the car has to end for a variety of reasons. I don’t think it necessarily “has” to come to an end, but I think we should try to reduce its hold, so that the middle class (the majority of people) can be better off. You don’t like when I say “middle class” either because the “comfortable fantasy” is offensive to you; or because you think it’s crass that I would suggest we do something that benefits the majority of the population, instead of just the poor. Nonetheless, we both want the same thing: stronger investments to public transit. What do you think is the best way to convince other people that what we want is a good idea?

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