Creeps And Weirdos At GM  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The South Philly Review has a post on GM's ongoing jihad against public transport - 'Creeps and weirdos' (hat tip GWAG).

Are city buses just 'loser cruisers?' Ask GM.

It is historical fact that General Motors funded a company called National City Lines, which by 1946 controlled streetcar operations in 80 cities. GM was not intending to go into the trolley-car business. Despite strong public support for rail expansion, NCL systematically shut down its rail lines until, by 1955, only a few remained.

NCL's trolleys were rapidly replaced by GM's buses. A federal antitrust investigation resulted in both indictment and conspiracy convictions for GM executives, but obliterating a public transportation network that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to reproduce today cost the company only $5,000 in fines.

It is painfully ironic, then, that GM dealers recently took out an ad in Georgia Straight, Vancouver, Canada's alternative newspaper, identifying the transit bus as transportation for "creeps and weirdos." Luckily, it said, Vancouverites can buy the $12,998 Chevrolet Cavalier instead. But wasn't it GM that forced the smelly, diesel-powered bus on us in the first place?

The oil industry used a similar ad campaign to derail trolley service in Los Angeles. By 1921, the city had 1,000 miles of track and 250,000 passengers a day riding its Red Car interurban service. Eighty years later, with L.A.'s population immeasurably larger, Los Angeles has barely recovered that level of transit ridership.

GM is still fighting clean car mandates and fuel-efficiency improvements. But it also sees a future in fuel cells and plans to field a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. One of those hybrids is even, gasp, a "creeps and weirdos" city bus.

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