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Crowds Force METRORail To Cut Service (Houston)
Click2Houston - KPRC Television ^ | January 30, 2004 | KPRC Television

Posted on 01/31/2004 3:50:04 AM PST by Flyer

Crowds Force METRORail To Cut Service

2 Park & Rides Closed

HOUSTON -- For the second night in a row, large crowds at METRORail stations forced officials to shut down some of the light-rail route and implement their emergency plan.

Service for the new transit system was stopped at Main and Walker Thursday and Friday night when METRO police became concerned that crowded streets could lead to trouble.

"Once it got to a point that we had too many pedestrians to operate safely, we discontinued rail through the downtown area," said Chief Tom Lambert, with METRO Police.

Since METRO expected large crowds through the weekend, it decided to close two of the Park & Ride locations.

The Park & Rides at the West Loop, 4675 South Braeswood, and Fuqua, 11755 Sabo Road, are not open to the public.

METRO officers can make more changes if needed.

"We've asked them to exercise their discretion. If they see circumstances beginning to arise to let supervisors know. And that's exactly what happened last night. Some folks, I think playfully, (tried) to touch out to the train. When you start doing that, we get a little nervous about that from a safety standpoint. That was brought to our attention by the officers, and so we just made a decision that we just discontinue operations. We'll do the same thing tonight," Lambert said.

METRO said the service would end Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m.

Many of the downtown revelers used METRORail to get to the street parties.

"By the time we got halfway here, you couldn't get on the train. It was packed -- you know, it was full. People were actually having to wait for the next train," said Steven Hypes, who road light-rail train.

"We live out in Sugar Land and so the 90 and Fannin Park & Ride was great," said Bonnie Hypes, who also road METRORail.

Riders were not surprised that the trains did not go further into downtown.

"There was like two or three times the train had to slow down in town here because people walked across, so yeah, that makes sense. Somebody will stumble across it," Steven Hypes said.

The Texas Medical Center is opening one of its parking lots near Greenbriar, Old Spanish Trail and Braeswood to help alleviate downtown congestion.

Approximately 3,500 vehicles will be able to park there. Shuttles will take drivers and passengers into downtown.

Flocks Of Fans Make Their Way To Houston

Fans are starting to take the Bayou City by storm, arriving at area airports to cheer their favorite team on.

Thousands of passengers got a warm and cheerful welcome as they arrived in Houston Friday at Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports for a weekend of partying and football.

"Flight was just full. There weren't a lot of seats on the plane, so I'm glad I got my tickets early," out-of-towner Russell Ebelherr said.

Houston Airport System spokesman Ernie DeSoto compared this weekend to a holiday, where passengers come in sporadically.

"Today, we are seeing a lot more people coming in. We are seeing a number of people who have gotten the three (or four) days off and are coming today," Houston Airport System spokesman Ernie DeSoto said.

However, after the game is over with, DeSoto said everyone flocks to the airports at once.

"People start showing up after the game and sleeping on the floor. They just want to get to the airport, crash from partying throughout the whole game, and catch their flight in the morning," DeSoto said.

Extra police and undercover officers have been added to the airport systems patrol for Super Bowl weekend. Officials are warning passengers that security will be tight.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: boondoggle; houston; houstondeathtrain; houstonrail; lightrail; metro; metrofailrail; metrorail; quagmire; rail; taxdollarsatwork; texas; transportation; whambamthankyoutram; youpayforthis
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Thanks for the heads up, hummingbird.
1 posted on 01/31/2004 3:50:05 AM PST by Flyer
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To: 1riot1ranger; Action-America; Aggie Mama; Alkhin; Allegra; American72; antivenom; Antoninus II; ...
Some folks, I think playfully, (tried) to touch out to the train

Brilliant design, Metro.

*PING!*

As always, a FReep mail will get you on or off this Houston topics ping list.

2 posted on 01/31/2004 3:51:24 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: Flyer
Thanks for the heads up.
3 posted on 01/31/2004 3:56:23 AM PST by RiflemanSharpe (An American for a more socially and fiscally conservation America!)
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To: Flyer
Some folks, I think playfully, (tried) to touch out to the train

Probably "not drinkin' or nuthin, honest!"
4 posted on 01/31/2004 4:01:50 AM PST by hummingbird ("If it wasn't for the insomnia, I could have gotten some sleep!")
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To: Flyer
"Brilliant design, Metro."


5 posted on 01/31/2004 4:04:41 AM PST by Rebelbase ( <a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">miserable failure put it in your tagline too!)
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To: Flyer
People were actually having to wait for the next train," said Steven Hypes, who road light-rail train.

Welcome to Dubya's guest-worker "vision thing" for America.
I say this as an Anglo who on more than a couple occassions has had to wait for
a second bus because the first just blows by me, loaded to the "gunnels" with the
low-cost (probably most undocumented) domestics that keep the homes of the elites
of Los Angeles clean.

The only thing that would make the situation even worse?
If the Democrats "vision thing" for total immigration amnesty became our future,
not Dubya's guest-worker plan.
6 posted on 01/31/2004 4:05:58 AM PST by VOA
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To: Flyer
Over New Years in Melbourne, Australia there was a major flap when train service to the far flung suburbs was discontinued at 1AM. People had been encouraged to attend the midnight fireworks downtown only to find if they lingered to long after ... they were left no way home on public transit. Taxi's were overwhelmed, many people walked miles, with hundreds not getting home to well after dawn.
Officials promise to do better next New Years.
7 posted on 01/31/2004 4:06:35 AM PST by BluH2o
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To: Flyer
For the second night in a row, large crowds at METRORail stations forced officials
to shut down some of the light-rail route and implement their emergency plan.


So, when things get really congested...shut down a part of the transportation system
sold to the taxpayers with the promise of reducing traffic congestion?

I don't know the details of the Houston situation...but this sounds like the usual
situation with some public tranportation boondogles.

I must admit, as much as I hate the liberal environment, at least the
underground subway system in Boston (the "T") seemed to work pretty well...
except for the crowds that actually demonstrate that it works.
8 posted on 01/31/2004 4:09:44 AM PST by VOA
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To: BluH2o
Officials promise to do better

Uh huh, sure.

9 posted on 01/31/2004 4:10:10 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: Rebelbase
"Brilliant design, Metro."

Houston built a light-rail above ground in urban (cross-traffic) areas?
Well, this just shows their public transit folks are probably the same ones
who did the same dumb in other parts of the country.

I'll give it to Dallas...at least they put parts of their system below grond level.
10 posted on 01/31/2004 4:12:42 AM PST by VOA
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To: VOA
So, when things get really congested...shut down a part of the transportation system sold to the taxpayers with the promise of reducing traffic congestion?

And it is averaging an accident every 3 days, which shuts it down, too. Voters approved another few billion for expansion. Sigh. . .

11 posted on 01/31/2004 4:13:02 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: Flyer
At least carnage in the streets was avoided.
Good call by the cops.. "shut it down!" Works for me.

Let's hope to make it permanent, rip it out and sell it.
An amusement park might buy the thing as a thrill ride.


12 posted on 01/31/2004 4:13:42 AM PST by humblegunner ("I'm going off of the rails like a crazy train!" ~Ozzy)
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To: VOA
Houston built a light-rail above ground in urban (cross-traffic) areas?

Yep. It is averaging an accident every 3 days.

13 posted on 01/31/2004 4:14:26 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: humblegunner
At least carnage in the streets was avoided.

Yeah, but it failed to take any cars off the streets, but whatever means necessary.

14 posted on 01/31/2004 4:15:53 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: LurkerNoMore!
Some folks, I think playfully, (tried) to touch out to the train.

Jeez - what do you hillbillies do when you see a microwave oven or some other "modern convenience"?

15 posted on 01/31/2004 4:17:15 AM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: Flyer
And it is averaging an accident every 3 days, which shuts it down, too.

Nearly the same thing here in Los Angeles with our Metro rail system.
In a place that is still basically a desert, this system has many sections
that are at ground level...so the impatient/Darwin-award-winners have to have collissions
at cross-traffic areas.
But building a ditch for the rail "would cost too much" (what's the lost cost of years
in which ground-level accidents cause traffic snafus and the dollar-cost in public services
to the dead and/injured).
"They know the cost of everything and the value of nothing."

At least in Houston, with your water-table, I naively could see if the mass-trans planners
would argue that putting the system below ground-level and keeping it from flooding
would be prohibitively expensive.

Voters approved another few billion for expansion. Sigh. . .

Amazing. I can see $$$ for a system that works. But to repeat a screw-up.
That's just sad.

I wasn't saying the buried (semi-buried) systems in Boston and Dallas were perfect...
but building a people moving system that conflicts with existing traffic...
that's so dumb as to be unbelievable.
16 posted on 01/31/2004 4:22:15 AM PST by VOA
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To: Senator Pardek
what do you hillbillies do when you see a microwave oven

Hey, we ain't hillbillies!

We're hicks!

17 posted on 01/31/2004 4:22:21 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: Senator Pardek
Hillbillies are further north, Senator (I'm 3/4 hillbilly myself..heh, heh.) Lot of the people "reaching out" are in Houston for the Superbowl and for the week of street parties preceding the big event. The locals are wising up to staying out of the death trains' way...unless they're "drinkin' or sumtin."
18 posted on 01/31/2004 4:23:44 AM PST by hummingbird ("If it wasn't for the insomnia, I could have gotten some sleep!")
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To: VOA
keeping it from flooding would be prohibitively expensive.

Even at street level is is prone to shutdowns with minor flooding. It hasn't happened yet, but it's only been running for a month.

19 posted on 01/31/2004 4:25:26 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: humblegunner
beautiful photoshop work!

You'd think that some smart city newspapers would occasionally print
submitted work like yours on their editorial page.
20 posted on 01/31/2004 4:26:18 AM PST by VOA
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To: Flyer
Hey, we ain't hillbillies!

We're hicks!


...what you said, Flyer! And proud hicks, at that! <8^)
21 posted on 01/31/2004 4:27:26 AM PST by hummingbird ("If it wasn't for the insomnia, I could have gotten some sleep!")
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To: humblegunner
Great work!
22 posted on 01/31/2004 4:28:45 AM PST by hummingbird ("If it wasn't for the insomnia, I could have gotten some sleep!")
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To: Flyer
Even at street level is is prone to shutdowns with minor flooding. It hasn't happened yet,
but it's only been running for a month.


Wonder if the mass-trans experts in Houston ever visited Chicago?
(re: elevated rail)

But...it sure would be interesting to build the current rail cars with water-tight doors
and have the first submarine-lightrail system! Now that would give you mass-trans
with the appeal of an amusement-park ride.
23 posted on 01/31/2004 4:31:05 AM PST by VOA
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To: Rebelbase
Looks like they need a cow plow on taht train.
24 posted on 01/31/2004 4:32:29 AM PST by DeepDish (This space for rent.)
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To: VOA; hummingbird
Thank you both!

You'd think that some smart city newspapers would occasionally print submitted work like yours on their editorial page.

You'd think so- but not in Houston. The Houston Comical has a policy
prohibiting opinions other than their own, and guess what flavor those are.

They love the freakin' train.

25 posted on 01/31/2004 4:33:45 AM PST by humblegunner ("I'm going off of the rails like a crazy train!" ~Ozzy)
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To: Flyer
Hey, we ain't hillbillies!

We're hicks!

Don't fergit us rednecks or we'll kick yer a$$!

26 posted on 01/31/2004 4:39:11 AM PST by humblegunner ("I'm going off of the rails like a crazy train!" ~Ozzy)
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To: hummingbird
Hey, we ain't hillbillies!

We're hicks!


I agree, I have always noticed that the Houston area gene pool had something to be desired. At least the latino influx will help to diversify it.
27 posted on 01/31/2004 4:53:45 AM PST by DFW_Repub
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To: humblegunner
Don't fergit us rednecks or we'll kick yer a$$!

That's right they will, right after them and their sister have a cigarette and shower up.
28 posted on 01/31/2004 4:55:21 AM PST by DFW_Repub
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To: DFW_Repub
That's right they will, right after them and their sister have a cigarette and shower up.

How fortunate for you that you are spared this inbreeding problem,
as pigs and goats and sheep cannot sucessfully interbreed with humans.

But not for lack of trying, I'm sure.

29 posted on 01/31/2004 5:04:21 AM PST by humblegunner ("I'm going off of the rails like a crazy train!" ~Ozzy)
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To: VOA
"People were actually having to wait for the next train,"

Huh, guys ~ this happens with EVERY form of mass transit. It's all quite normal with light rail, heavy rail, subway, surface, trolly, or bus system!

People who regularly commute via any of these systems can tell you.

It would appear that few Freepers (leastwise not those on this thread) are aware of what really happens ~ that's my take on the various attempts to attribute crowding on mass transit systems to unbridled immigration.

Have you ever been on the Tokyo subway? There really aren't any appreciable numbers of immigrants crowding up that particular system. They had "pushers" to fill the cars!

Everyone's expectations for Houston's light rail system would seem to be misplaced.

The idea of just shutting down the system if the cars get crowded is absolutely incredible. Then there's this mention of the authority of the "officers" ~ visions of worker trains from SOWETO to JOBURG popped into my mind.

Looks to me like it's long overdue for "W" to send the Army into Houston to re-establish a Republican form of government, eh?!

30 posted on 01/31/2004 5:08:11 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah
The idea of just shutting down the system if the cars get crowded

It was shut down not because of the full cars, but the drunk crowds on the streets.

They refurbished downtown to attract people and then ran a rail line right down the middle of where all these people are.

31 posted on 01/31/2004 5:16:10 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: DFW_Repub
I agree, I have always noticed that the Houston area gene pool had something to be desired.

Oh, ouch...and the "sister" comment was very classy. Yes, indeedy, very classy. (And, you replied to the wrong post, I think. Oh, and I think you checked your sense of humor at the door.)
32 posted on 01/31/2004 5:16:28 AM PST by hummingbird ("If it wasn't for the insomnia, I could have gotten some sleep!")
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To: Senator Pardek; Flyer
Jeez - what do you hillbillies do when you see a microwave oven or some other "modern convenience"?

I lived in New York for three years in the 60's, and the crap I saw on your trains will never be matched down here.

33 posted on 01/31/2004 5:29:26 AM PST by HoustonCurmudgeon (PEACE - Through Superior Firepower)
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The biggest irony is that the powers-that-be in Houston wanted this toy train to have it ready by the time Houston got the Superbowl in 2004, their big goal for at least 6 years. Here it is, Houston's big week - and the train can't handle the crowds. I moved to California in 1999, but my Houston property taxes still reflect the stupidity of the Houston high muckety-mucks. Every year I pay for a stadium for every sport known to man - and their latest unnecessary project like this train.
34 posted on 01/31/2004 5:32:20 AM PST by Moonmad27
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To: HoustonCurmudgeon
You still ought to get more train cars, eh?!
35 posted on 01/31/2004 5:32:30 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah
It would appear that few Freepers (leastwise not those on this thread) are aware of what really happens ~ that's my take on the various attempts to attribute crowding on mass transit systems to unbridled immigration.

You are not from Houston or Texas. Once the Super-Bowl immigrants leave, I promise you, there will no longer be an over-crowding problem.

You can have my Chevy 4x4 pickup when you pry my cold, dead fingers from the stearing-wheel. (sorry Mr. Heston)

36 posted on 01/31/2004 5:33:17 AM PST by TexasCajun
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To: muawiyah
You still ought to get more train cars, eh?!

THEY ought to have none not more. I moved out of Houston 20 years ago when it became apparent that those who pay no taxes out numbered those who do at the polls.

37 posted on 01/31/2004 5:35:37 AM PST by HoustonCurmudgeon (PEACE - Through Superior Firepower)
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To: muawiyah
You still ought to get more train cars, eh?!

Longer trains would block vehicular and pedestrian cross-traffic. They all share the same road!

Maybe we can find you a job as Lee P. Brown's teaching assistant over at Rice?

38 posted on 01/31/2004 5:39:19 AM PST by TexasCajun
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To: VOA
I must admit, as much as I hate the liberal environment, at least the underground subway system in Boston (the "T") seemed to work pretty well... except for the crowds that actually demonstrate that it works.

But is it self supporting? That would be the true test of whether it works well or not - if the riders are willing to pay the costs.

We have public buses in downtown/campus that look so crowded they must work great. They weren't crowded until the fare became FREE. When there was no cost associated many more people rode it. Of course, our taxes pay for that. The buses to the outlying areas are much less crowded, at $1.25 a ride...

39 posted on 01/31/2004 5:47:44 AM PST by Kay Ludlow
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To: humblegunner
LMAO!
40 posted on 01/31/2004 5:49:56 AM PST by Rebelbase ( <a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">miserable failure put it in your tagline too!)
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To: humblegunner

I had to check to see whether this was actually a Chronicle story since I would be surprised to see the cheerleaders for the train admit there was a problem. But I see this came from KPRC TV. Too bad they don't know the difference between "rode" and "road".
41 posted on 01/31/2004 5:57:59 AM PST by kittymyrib
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To: VOA
Houston built a light-rail above ground in urban (cross-traffic) areas?

Yup. Can't build a subway here -- well, for enough money (as in Boston's "Big Dig") it could be done -- because of soft, shifting soil and most importantly, it would FLOOD. One section that I know of is below grade, but I can't wait to see what happens next time it rains really hard!

Of course, the stupid "Toy Train" shouldn't have been built at all.

What a waste...

42 posted on 01/31/2004 6:12:36 AM PST by wysiwyg (What parts of "right of the people" and "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?)
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To: kittymyrib
Too bad they don't know the difference between "rode" and "road".

The "writer" must be another product of the glorious government school system.

43 posted on 01/31/2004 6:15:37 AM PST by wysiwyg (What parts of "right of the people" and "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?)
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To: Flyer
Some folks, I think playfully, (tried) to touch out to the train

Brilliant design, Metro.
================================

And somewhere,in some law office down town, a attorney, staring out the window, suddenly gets an idea....

44 posted on 01/31/2004 6:27:26 AM PST by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: yankeedame
in some law office down town, a attorney, staring out the window, suddenly gets an idea....

As a tax payer that will have to cover the lawsuits I kindly ask you to HUSH!

. . . but I know the seed is already planted.

45 posted on 01/31/2004 6:30:53 AM PST by Flyer (Fear the Train!)
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To: VOA
The city of Houston sits at just about sea-level, and some parts of the city are actually below sea-level. It has been know for many years that Houston is slowly sinking.

Hey--an underground subway is a grand idea for Houston!

46 posted on 01/31/2004 6:47:54 AM PST by basil (pro gun Mother's Day 2004! www.2asisters.org)
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To: VOA
The other option would be to build elevated, which costs less than below-ground transit, but still costs significantly more than at-grade. It would have prevented these accidents and maintain existing roadway capacity. But METRO was so desperate to put in rail, they had to do it as cheaply as possible, regardless of the potential impact on people's safety. They flat out screw up, and by not running the train through Downtown Friday (thank God), they effectively admitted it.

KILL THE CHOO-CHOO!
47 posted on 01/31/2004 7:23:11 AM PST by Guvmint_Cheese
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To: TexasCajun
Yup, I have never seen Main Street so crowded before as yesterday. 9 out of 10 people I saw were definitely from out of town and already partying it up at noon.
48 posted on 01/31/2004 8:39:27 AM PST by padfoot_lover
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To: Senator Pardek
"Jeez - what do you hillbillies do when you see a microwave oven..."

What's a microwave?

49 posted on 01/31/2004 8:55:32 AM PST by pax_et_bonum (Always finish what you st)
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To: muawiyah
...various attempts to attribute crowding on mass transit systems to unbridled immigration.

I wasn't saying that illegal immigration was the only cause of overloaded mass-trans...
but at least in metro Los Angeles, it contributes to the crush.
Here mass-trans is a largely a scheme to get middle-class taxpayers to subsidize a
mobile, cash-only, domestic work-force for millionaires.

When we have the usual MTA strike about every three years, the Los Angeles Times
is wall-to-wall with sob stories about undocumenteds who can't get to their jobs...
and if they can find a gypsy cabbie, they spend most of their wages on the fare.

I'm not knocking the undocumenteds...just pointing out that in this environment,
the mass-trans mess is made worse by an influx the system wasn't designed to handle.

Have you ever been on the Tokyo subway? There really aren't any appreciable
numbers of immigrants crowding up that particular system. They had "pushers" to fill the cars!


Absolutley true. Build it and they will come...
50 posted on 01/31/2004 10:52:21 AM PST by VOA
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