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111People, performance and public transport deregulation - and, oh yes, truth

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  • Eric Britton
    Jul 2, 2002

      Paris, Tuesday, July 02, 2002


      Dear Friends,


      It’s very good indeed to see such a range of ideas and positions coming out of the wtpp woodwork on this, and it is beginning to look like we will have the stuff of a major special edition on the topic.  One small wrinkle that might be important will be to ensure that while we may want to take Britain as our main straw person on this, that at the end of the day perhaps no more than half the content should be aimed at your blessed plot, your earth, your realm, your… It’s my guess that things become real interesting when other country experiences and lessons are melded in, so that we can then stand back and say with some authority and perspective what it is we may then have to say.


      It should also be fun (my position) if we stand back and let one or two of the folks who think that ‘lightly fettered market competition’ is the way to go also have their say.  Let’s give them an opportunity tell us about the successes and the right way to do this.


      One quick point though, when it comes to buses, if I may (and rail to while I’m at it).  I must confess that I always get a little antsy when the city transportation discussion is phrased in terms that suggest that the only choice is between the poles of a binary universe, with good old (or bad old, depending on your position in all this) cars at one end, and then standing there sullenly at the other what might possibly from now on be known as GUT (Group Unrapid Transit), by which I mean stuff that we expect second class citizens (no more honest term for it) to slog over and then stand and wait (to be repeated at the other end of the slog).  After all we are already a big bite into the new century and there is a huge armory of technologies and enterprise arrangements that we could be inventing and bringing on line to provide truly first class non-private car transport.  After all, moving people and goods in and around cities is above all a question of logistics.  And logistics is something that the 21st century is really very good at.  So all we need to do is start to act our Age, and in the face of our inventiveness a lot of these barriers and problems can be broken down.


      But that of course is an issue for another day (for another Issue, actually).  Now on to the topic that we are beginning to define in these exchanges, and for which I hope that we can shortly begin to scratch out a list of topics, authors, and perhaps ever a brave and able Guest Editor to run the whole show. 


      Perhaps it will be a good moment now to suggest that future correspondence of detail on this topic be directed to our editor in chief, John Whitelegg at ecologic@..., with if possible a copy to me at eric.britton@....  We can then keep the list apprised of progress at key intervals.  Which should prove very interesting indeed.


      Eric Britton


      (PS. If the above does not read quite like proper English, it is because it has been translated directly from the original French.  Sorry.)


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