Thursday, December 26, 2019

2019 Highlights

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays.  Time for our annual round-up of the best posts of 2019.  Looking at the list, I think it was a very good year relative to most of my others.  Hard to believe we're coming up on the 15th anniversary of this blog. I'll have to do a big retrospective post in March for that.

These posts have been chosen with a particular focus on significant ideas I'd like to see kept alive for discussion and action, and they're mainly targeted at new readers who want to get caught up with a quick overview of the Houston Strategies landscape. I also like to track what I think of as "reference posts" that sum up a particular topic or argument; and, last but not least, they've also been invaluable for me to track down some of my best thinking for meetings or when requested by others (as is the ever-helpful Google search).

Don't forget we offer an email option for the roughly once/week posts - see the Google Groups subscription signup box at the bottom of the right sidebar. An RSS feed link for newsfeed readers is also available in the right sidebar (I'm a fan of Feedly).

As always, thanks for your readership.
And don't forget the highlights from the first few years. For what it's worth, I think the best ideas are found there, often in the first year (I had a lot "stored up" before I started blogging) and most definitely in the best posts from the first dozen years and million pageviews.

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4 Comments:

At 5:21 PM, December 26, 2019, Anonymous Rich Robins said...

Should riding Houston Metro become "free", like some are proposing? NO. The harassment on buses and trains by thugs is hazardous. Think of gang initiations, for example. Or those who zealously take up a scarce seat just because they want free air conditioning or heat for hours at a time. At least if irritable and even violent thugs and parasites have to actually pay a little something to get to ride and remain on the bus or train, there's a barrier to entry and also a legitimate justification for evicting the thugs when the fare's due. There's also a greater chance of tracking them down when they commit violent (or otherwise illegal) acts while on board or nearby.

Free public high school attendance has not helped reduce bullying, harassment and violence there, has it? Free access has instead met with greater migration by quality students from such schools and geographical regions, often to nonpublic schooling alternatives... This is the case even as such "free" public schools have some barriers to entry (such as student registrations).

If someone isn't willing to pay $1.25 to ride all over the county, are they worth forcing the taxpayers to pay the other 90% (or more) of the costs that they impose per each (nearly free) ride? It's been said that public transport facilitates theft in otherwise clean neighborhoods. Public transport's financing-taxpayers don't desire paying so that loiterers can travel from hub to hub and do nothing while already living off of others' entitlement expenditures, do they?

Even if free transport in some parts (but not others) of Estonia has been credited with a favorable outcome that (by the way) may have resulted from other factors, what (if anything) in the following demographic statistics suggests that Estonians have significant segments of the population which are inclined to ride buses all day to panhandle, get free air conditioning (or heat), harass other passengers and drivers who won't give them money or listen to them rant and sufficiently agree with them in order to avoid a conflict?

"Estonians are Finnic people who speak Estonian, which is closely related to Finnish. The ethnic breakdown is currently 69% Estonian, 25% Russian, 2% Ukranian, 1% Belarusians, 0.8% Finns and 1.6% other."

SOURCE: http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/estonia-population/

A symbolic fee to ride public transport is a means of teaching riders that there are no free rides in life, by requiring that riders have "skin in the game". Besides which, without evidence of monetary transactions involving each rider, how can we adequately know that ridership statistics aren't being faked to try to boost budgets for ride-providers (and the Metro executives who pretend to care about them)? How can we justify the removal of unruly riders for lack of payment? How can we track down those who commit violent crimes on buses & trains if there’s no transactional evidence available? Facial recognition software performs erroneously at times, especially in major cities such as Houston. Free rides would open a can of worms and make public transit about as appealing as taxpayers typically consider inner city public schools to be...
Seeing is believing so here's a metro violence video from our Dallas neighbors:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGyUrkLm7DM

Meanwhile, some think Metro's just a source of nearly free heated or air conditioned temporary housing...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mILn34d8DbM

 
At 8:32 AM, December 27, 2019, Blogger George Rogers said...

On Atlanta that is a reason to be thankful for beltway 8.

 
At 10:55 PM, December 27, 2019, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

And the Grand Parkway!

 
At 9:48 AM, December 28, 2019, Blogger George Rogers said...

Of course.

 

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