Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Tranquil public transport

Expand Messages
  • Telfer
    Travelling to work by train, underground or bus, even if sometimes crowded has always bestowed the benefit of being able to relax with a book, newspaper or
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 2, 2001
      Travelling to work by train, underground or bus, even if sometimes crowded
      has always bestowed the benefit of being able to relax with a book,
      newspaper or your own thoughts.

      Not for much longer if the market researchers, PR and admen have their
      way-which of course they will given the shape of society as it is now and
      becoming more so.

      I have often been grateful over the past 12 years, car-free and travelling
      in some tranquility to work variously by bus, metro, minibus sometimes even
      tram and ferry.

      Here in Hong Kong there are many public transport options which might be
      the envy of certain other cities. Here there's a fast clean efficient metro
      system, ancient but characterful, trams ,ditto ferries , many
      double-decker buses, popular and flexible haildown minibuses
      plying fixed routes.......

      But we are now having our journeys polluted by annoying, noisy TV
      "infotainment" (ugh) on board.

      If the stories I read about car commuting being curbed in the Uk are true,
      and if there is ever a significant switch by large numbers of people to
      public transport my guess is that the parasitic pseudo-professions of market
      research and advertising will be angling to push advertising of this kind in
      your face on the buses and trains there as well.
      In Hong Kong despite much protest the transport companies and the
      Government claim this annoying trash is accepted by 80% of the public so we
      ALL have to suffer it.
      I fear this is a sign of the times, because whilst it is obviously
      motivated by greed and profit ( and the mind boggles as to how such trashy
      advertising can actually influence people to buy, but it must, presumably)
      it is justified by the claim that revenues are used to finance the transport
      system. "What do you want? Higher fares and worse service, or bombardment by
      advertising?" seems to be the presentation.

      We have already come to accept huge advertising pressure over the years
      apparently uncritically, in many areas of life that we are coming to accept
      the unnacceptable.

      Another justification for the so-called multi Media Onboard blitz is that
      it has allegedly to do with introducing something called Global Positioning
      Systems into the bus, which of course is essential for our well-being. Can
      someone please tell me what the hell is this? What does this kind of
      information overload have to do with a bus commute?

      Does it mean we're supposed to be grateful for
      being forced to watch weather and traffic information as well as the pop
      videos and ads?

      Some years ago when i was even less wise that i am now, i was a member of a
      club with a gym and used to jog on a treadmill, cycle on an excercise bike
      and suchlike lunacy. I used to always complain about the jangling thudding
      noise of disco type music blaring through loudspeakers which is
      apparently highly desirable amongst the users of such gyms. I was told if i
      didnt like it to bring a walkman to drown out the noise with more noise.
      I stopped using the gym and started jogging the streets and eventually have
      found out that it has all been part of a greater plan for me to rediscover,
      after nearly 40 years the pleasure of cycling.

      If I now feel strongly enough about this, to find ways of shunning the
      admen perhaps it is a higher power guiding me to go the whole hog and cycle
      to work instead of using public transport. Why not?

      Only that it will necessitate a long ride in some of the most
      cycle-unfriendly streets imaginable. There is no safety or comfort in
      numbers. I will not see a single other cyclist on such a ride. Indeed I
      guess there might only be a dozen cycle commuters in this city of 7 million!
      Still adfree on my local minibus and MTR for the moment so it hasnt quite
      come to this yet.

      Bill Telfer
    • Simon Baddeley
      Dear Bill You old crusty! It is obvious that musak and all its accompanying joys will be siphoned into any space that offers a means of reproducing and
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 2, 2001
        Dear Bill

        You old crusty! It is obvious that musak and all its accompanying joys will
        be siphoned into any space that offers a means of reproducing and
        strengthening the relationship between consumer and commodity - especially
        if the consumer power of those in that space is increasing either because of
        the numbers in it or their income or both.

        The alternative is the constant bombardment of state propaganda in a
        dictatorship.

        That said I think it is possible to resist by seeing it as one's duty to
        express a view on these matters whenever possible. Thus I have seldom
        hesitated to ask people not to use their phones in phone-free carriages and
        will write to the train company concerned if more than unusually annoyed by
        this. I use a mobile phone regularly but can turn it off, use a silent
        vibrating signal and know how to talk quietly in those places where phones
        are allowed. I also know how to turn off the beeps on my lap-top. I have
        often asked people with noisy phones where they buy those old sets as I
        didn't know they were still selling them while I'm not averse to politely
        offering advice to people with noisy computers with words like "Of course
        when you're knew to these things they can be a bit fiddly but you'll soon
        get the hang of it." You can guess what an extremely irritating old fellow
        I am, though I am relentlessly polite and often find my interventions
        approved with a nod or a subsequent complement by people who didn't dare say
        anything at the time.

        I'm also not stupid and hope that I recognise situations that are too
        life-threatening to do anything but avoid or accept.

        If musak or info-tainment comes on buses or trains that I have to travel
        on - rather than cycle or walk - I'm confident that a mix of individual and
        collective action by the intelligent classes to push us towards the airline
        solution that enables the person who wants to listen to have headphones with
        the default condition being relative silence.

        I do think that anti-consumerism has to be seen as a positive challenge
        rather than a depressing irritant. We do after all live in an economy that
        depends on consumption and until between us we invent a better ways of
        organising ourselves we have to live the life of political animals.

        I still think it will be less easy to get at me when I'm walking and cycling
        which is why I'm so glad that rather late in life I discovered these as
        perfectly reasonable ways of getting around rather than solely a form of
        recreation.

        Simon


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Telfer <telomsha@...>
        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, September 02, 2001 3:51 PM
        Subject: [carfree_cities] Tranquil public transport






        Travelling to work by train, underground or bus, even if sometimes crowded
        has always bestowed the benefit of being able to relax with a book,
        newspaper or your own thoughts.

        Not for much longer if the market researchers, PR and admen have their
        way-which of course they will given the shape of society as it is now and
        becoming more so.
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.