Thursday, November 02, 2006

The public be damned!

I certainly didn't coin the phrase, so I checked it's origins and, what a coincidence! Just like what I plan on writing about, it's connected to public transportation.

Stories behind Famous Sayings


Who Said It: William H. Vanderbilt

When: 1882

The Story behind It: William H. Vanderbilt, president of the New York Central Railroad, had arrived in Chicago and was having dinner in his private railroad car in the yards of the Michigan Central Railroad. A free-lance reporter, Clarence Dresser, entered the private car and asked to speak to Vanderbilt. At that time, there was much controversy surrounding the methods used to finance railroads and the guidelines used to establish freight rates. Dresser was quite eager to get a firsthand interview with the railroad magnate. When asked to postpone the interview until after dinner, Dresser protested that he had a deadline to meet and that the public had a right to know the facts. Vanderbilt's reply: "The public be damned." Those words were printed in the next morning's edition of the Chicago Tribune. Vanderbilt later denied having said the words, but he will be forever identified with the phrase.

© 1975 - 1981 by David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace
Reproduced with permission from "The People's Almanac" series of books.
All rights reserved.

Now, what has me angry is next week's drastic changes in our public transportation.

It's clear that our yishuv representatives didn't protect our interests.

I don't mind that the route now goes between Jerusalem and Ariel. I'm glad that there's more direct transportation between Shiloh and Ariel and Shiloh and Jerusalem, except that it's not so simple.

  • Almost none of the buses come up to our neighborhood. It's not that far, if you're walking empty-handed, and young and fit. But there are many elderly in the neighborhood who are totally dependent on the buses, and they can't trek up the very steep hill. With packages/shopping it's even against doctors' orders.
  • Scheduling. For many of us the changes make getting to work more difficult. For some people there's a flexibility of starting earlier or later, but for others, like myself, my schedule was worked out to suit the buses as they were when the school year began. Now I have to leave much earlier or risk being late, if no ride comes. The later bus is too late.
  • Unreliability. Most of us rely on the buses, since they are on a schedule, but there's now going to be a new factor in some of the times, לפי צורך "lifee tzorech," "according to need." That means that the bus will only enter a yishuv (at certain times) if someone is getting off. So if somebody is waiting to take the same bus further in the route, he may find himself waiting for hours if nobody rings the bell to get off.

The people who "negotiated" this do not take public transportation. They have cars, and for many it's the residents who pay for the cars with their local tax money.

So it looks like I'll have lots more "tremping," hitchhiking stories for you!


Sarah Likes Green said...

that's annoying! be careful tremping of course.

Anonymous said...

Check out what Egged did to the yishuvim south of Jerusalem. They no longer go down Derech Hevron into town. They turn from Gilo to the Kenyon, and then to Egged (and that was only a concession on Egged's part. They origionally stopped at Malcha.)

If Betar, Modi'in and others can tell Egged where to go, and bring in a different bus company, Egged may one day wake up. Either they give service, or someone else will.

Vote no on Egged

Batya said...

Sarah, I'm putting more pressure on my bosses to find me some better way of getting to work. G-d willing.

I was going to write about those changes, but I didn't have time.