Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Long Last Mile

Even if semi-speed let alone higher speed rail passenger service became an alternative, the Long Last Mile must be part of being competitive.

Suppose line haul speed Pittsburgh to Harrisburg has been improved. For those destinations, the last mile as ultimate destination from the station can be the worst part of the trip. Fortunately, the concentration of activity near the stations makes the last mile largely a pedestrian decision. Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle is concentrated. Virtually 95% of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's offices are within a mile of the Harrisburg station.

But, the ultimate destination is not within a mile of a station.

Nor is the weather always accommodating. A sunny spring or fall day walk is what we want to experience. Harrisburg memories of finding the dollar rain poncho in the forgotten corner of a briefcase in a doorway alcove while lightning is hitting the Susquehanna River are haunting. Pittsburgh memories of accumulations of wet slushy snow falling fast enough to provoke the thought, "Could one suffocate under falling snow?" are also haunting.

So, taxi service is an important part of the last mile.

When there is good government regulating a public service, cab service works.

Suppose though that government disappears? What kind of exploitation and manipulation might happen to the disembarked passenger at the passenger station. Would it be an orderly acceptance of the rules for the benefit of the traveler? Or would it be near third world bedlam and exploitation of the traveler?

Well, watching the "free" market work in a description of conditions facing the late night passenger arriving at Washington Union Station indicates how "exceptional" America is.

The whole story is at:

1 comment:

  1. At Providence Station, usually there are more cabs than riders. I'd never had trouble finding a cab. A cab driver had once explained to me, after I'd gotten off the last train of the day, that all the people behind him would not get fares that night. Most of the time I walked home anyway.

    And then I came in one late night when it was cold and raining. I waited probably twenty minutes. Cabbies asked people where they were going. They made some minimal effort to bundle people based on destination, but it was so clumsy and they kept misunderstanding "East Side" and "Fox Point" that I avoided it.