Hybrid cars blah blah, biofuels yada yada, public transport ...
At least that's what it feels like here in Sydney. Buses are particularly bad here. In their attempt to be seen to encourage public transport the State government "encourages efficiency and punctuality" by fining transport companies if a certain percentage of their buses or trains are late according to their own timetables - sounds good right? In theory maybe, in practice not so much. Because transport companies are also rewarded for having a good number of services running per day, and I assume also because idling buses cost lots in petrol, buses are timetabled according to how much time it takes the bus to get from terminus to terminus WITHOUT PICKING UP PASSENGERS. The up shot is, in order to get a bus to stop, one has to risk life and limb jumping about on the road to flag them down or else they will pretend not to see you and whiz right past you and heaven forbid you don't know what ticket you need or have exact change. The harassment older people get when getting on a bus (if it's stopped at all) because they are slow is simply ridiculous. "Come on, come on, I don't have time for this!" one bus driver complained on a bus I was on (that's how I got the above information about timetables, I had laughed lightly and said "You don't have time to pick up passengers? What else is a bus for?")
So what would happen if you were standing at a bus stop with a bike (which frankly would be needed to just get to the ridiculously positioned bus stops in The Shire)?? According to Michael MacKinley who's blog came onto my radar while hunting for Japan posts (stand by for post on Nagoya airport), this is what happens in Calgary:
And just think, it snows a good deal of the time in Calgary so either people are biking through the snow or these contraptions are not used at least 40% of the year - such waste!!
It would take a re-education of galactic proportions to implement something like this in Australia but oh my there's a lesson in what happens when people who are truly committed to doing something put their minds to it!