Monday, January 21, 2008

Boycott Economics

Being Dr. Martin Luther King Day, I began to reflect upon the Montgomery bus boycotts and todays busing system. If you have ever seen one of Racine's buses, you know that we have our own boycott well under way. Hypothetical riders can sit anywhere they want so segregation is not the problem. From whom would you segregate the lone rider anyway? The Racine boycott has been years in the making and has had absolutely no impact politically. The reason is quite simple. The purpose of the bus system is no longer to transport people from one location to another but rather to employ bus drivers. And technically speaking, bus drivers don't really need passengers. They do need to get paid though. That's where you, the non bus passenger comes in. Anyway, I was wondering whether Dr. Martin Luther Kings boycott would work today in Racine and I suspect not. The few passengers that ride obviously do not fund the bus system. As such, they would be unable to bring the system to its knees via a boycott. Only paying customers can boycott.


colt said...

Yes a good idea would be to study the BUS systum to see if it should go away,there is very little ridership.
The one route that was well used to the I -94 Busness parks was ended.

Caledonication said...

My understanding is that the vast majority of public transportation (metro bus services) are a financial drain on the cities for which they provide service to.

Pariah Jeep said...

Leaving for work soon (4:45 or so) - you know, that thing I need to do to pay for the things I need plus road salt, plowing, police, solar panels, rain gardens and buses (yearly budget for salt - $200,000; yearly budget for new trees - $110,000). Of course no plow or salt truck has been near my house even though the storm was mostly over hours ago. My 1989 non-SUV rear wheel drive car may get stuck in the middle of the street but then "I shouldn't be on the roads anyway". I can't wait until the new choo-choo solves this problem for me.

Holy One said...

I'm Dennis Navratil. I make enough money to own a car. That makes me awesome. All of my friends also make enough money to own cars. We're awesome. People who ride the bus are poor and unimportant. This is their fault. The government is stupid.

Denis Navratil said...

Well that was pretty snotty holy one. You read alot into this small post, much of it mistakenly. Mostly I was musing about the changes in public transportation since the days of Dr. King and I assume that the only way a boycott was effective was because the riders fare in Montgomery was sufficient to pay for the busing operation. But if you want me to weigh in on busing today, I will. Clearly the operation is very inefficient or largely unnecessary because people very few people are using the bus. At the very least, if serving carless people was the priority, a different model should be considered. This could potentially benefit the poor, you know, those people you think I think are unimportant.

Nemo said...

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average public transit vehicle in the U.S. operates with more than 80% of its seats empty. Energy consumption per passenger mile is now greater for buses than for private cars, and much greater than for car or van pools. It's good that gas and diesel prices are currently so low now, or the anti-bus, pro-sanity types might have a very compelling point.

Urban Pioneer said...

HOLY.......toledo. Now let me understand this, if I can wrap my head around this. Denis and his "rich" friends are paying the freight for you to ride around in an empty bus, at tremendous cost to the non-users. And you have the audacity to call us selfish, because we might suggest downsizing????
How many of the 3 other people on your nearly empty bus, are smokers Holy 1? At $5.00 per pack a day. You could buy a cheap car?
Or most of the places you need to get, you could walk to, people in Union Grove and Caledonia that are poor don't have a bus, and yet they survive.
The same people who support this expensive, nearly useless Bus system, are the same ones who believe the Choo-Choo will be effective.
Tell me Oh Holy 1, as soon as U can afford to get off the bus, you will.
I realize some people have medical reasons and can't drive, but those people could be serviced with a bus service 1/3 to 1/4 of the price.
Take the savings and cut taxes for the people of Racine, WI and the US, and the money will be better spent by the people who earn it.
Not cold-hearted, just tired of the wasted $$$

Anonymous said...

I think more 15 MPG cars is the answer.

Anonymous said...

Turd alert.

I think more 15 MPG cars is the answer.

Nemo said...

Anonymous said...

"I think more 15 MPG cars is the answer."

Typical Liberal response to facts, ideas, and solutions. Oddly enough a 15 MPG SUV with 8 people in it gets 120 people miles per gallon (15x8). Much better than a bus with just a drive and a few well subsidized passengers.

Anonymous said...

Why not read conservative columnist David Brooks today. He explains well the conservatine 'absurd' contrarianism that is the norm today.

He is a right winger, to boot!

"...An oppositional mentality set in: if the liberals worried about global warming, it was necessary to regard it as a hoax. If The New York Times editorial page worried about waterboarding, then the code of conservative correctness required one to think it O.K...."

The Voters Revolt
January 22, 2008

The Reagan administration had its pragmatists and its so-called ideologues. It had James Baker as well as Ed Meese. Reagan carried moderate states like Connecticut, Wisconsin and Washington, as well as conservative ones like Wyoming and South Carolina.

But then a great tightening occurred. Conservative institutions and interest groups proliferated in Washington. The definition of who was a true conservative narrowed. It became necessary to pass certain purity tests — on immigration, abortion, taxes and Terri Schiavo.

An oppositional mentality set in: if the liberals worried about global warming, it was necessary to regard it as a hoax. If The New York Times editorial page worried about waterboarding, then the code of conservative correctness required one to think it O.K.

Apostates and deviationists were expelled or found wanting, and the boundaries of acceptable thought narrowed. Moderate Republicans were expelled for squishiness. Millions of coastal suburbanites left the party in disgust.

And still the corset tightened. Many professional conservatives do not regard Mike Huckabee or John McCain as true conservatives. “I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party,” Rush Limbaugh said recently on his radio show. “It’s going to change it forever, be the end of it.”

Some of the contributors to The National Review’s highly influential blog, The Corner, look to Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney to save the conservative movement. Their hatred of McCain is so strong, it’s earned its own name: McCain Derangement Syndrome.

Yet a funny thing has happened this primary season. Conservative voters have not followed their conservative leaders. Conservative voters are much more diverse than the image you’d get from conservative officialdom.

In South Carolina, 34 percent of the Republican voters called themselves “very conservative,” but another 34 percent called themselves only “somewhat conservative” and another 24 percent called themselves “moderate.” Only 28 percent of the primary voters there said that abortion should be “always illegal.” This, I repeat, was in South Carolina, one of the most right-wing places in the country.

While various conservative poobahs threaten to move to Idaho if Huckabee or McCain gets the nomination, the silent majority of conservative voters seem to like these candidates. Huckabee has done very well among evangelical voters while loudly deviating from conservative economic orthodoxy. John McCain leads among Republicans nationally. He has a 71 percent favorable rating and a 23 percent unfavorable rating. He has a 63 percent favorability rating among Huckabee supporters, 66 percent favorability among Romney supporters and 81 percent favorability among supporters of Rudy Giuliani. These are much higher second choice ratings than any other candidate.

McCain’s winning coalition in South Carolina was pretty broad. He lost among the extremely conservative but won among the somewhat conservative and the moderates. He lost among those who go to church more than once a week, but won among weekly churchgoers. He won among those who strongly support the Bush administration and among those who are angry at the Bush administration, among those who strongly support the war and among those who strongly oppose it. He won every income group over $30,000.

Even among people who want to deport every immigrant, McCain only lost to Huckabee by 34 percent to 26 percent.

The fact is, this has been a bad year for the conservative establishment. Fred Thompson was supposed to embody the party line, but he has fizzled (despite being a good campaigner the past month). Rudy Giuliani proposes deep tax cuts that do not seem to excite. Mitt Romney ran as the movement candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire and grossly underperformed. Now he’s running as a nonideological business pragmatist for the exurban office parks, and his campaign has possibilities.

The lesson is not that the conservative establishment is headed for the ash heap. The lesson is that the Republican Party, even in its shrunken state, is diverse. Regular Republican voters don’t seem to mind independent thinking. There’s room for moderates as well as orthodox conservatives. Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and James Dobson have influence, but they are not arbiters of conservative doctrine.

In his South Carolina victory speech, McCain defined a more inclusive conservatism: “We want government to do its job, not your job; to do it better and to do it with less of your money; to defend our nation’s security wisely and effectively, because the cost of our defense is so dear to us; to respect our values because they are the true source of our strength; to enforce the rule of law that is the first defense of freedom; to keep the promises it makes to us and not make promises it will not keep.”

And McCain’s success has raised an astonishing specter: Republicans may actually have a shot at winning this year.

Anonymous said...


You mean those bits of TRUTH constantly ignored by the right?

Again, read David Brooks on republican/conservative absurd contrarianism...

Nemo said...

Facts, those bits of REALITY constantly ignored by the Left.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average public transit vehicle in the U.S. operates with more than 80% of its seats empty. Energy consumption per passenger mile is now greater for buses than for private cars, and much greater than for car or van pools.

As for the Brooks column, when Conservatives call Liberal ideas and foolishness (one in the same really) not Conservative,’s not. What does Brook’s somewhat obtuse observations have to do with underpopulated buses in Racine? Do you have some inside knowledge about McCain applying for a bus driving job? In Racine? Don’t you think he would be happier driving buses in Madison?

Caledonication said...

Denis, may I submit to you a request to delete that long, off-topic post someone made at 10:29am? It gets in the way when trying to read the actual contributions to the thread.

Denis Navratil said...

Caledon, you are exposing my entirely subjective deleting habits. You are correct, the post is too long, is merely a long quote, is not original, and is off topic. However, people are now responding to it si I might as well leave it. Now had I caught it earlier...

Caledonication said...

Understood. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The relationship of the Brooke's column to this post is that you will, as Brooke's points out, of course, take a contrarian position with regard to public transit and the market and matter what

Denis Navratil said...

I read your Brooks post anon and the connection to the topic is zip. But let me ask you something. Forget about Brooks for a second. Is the bus system in Racine delivering a good service in Racine at a good price? If not, how would you improve it?