7 thoughts on “Chariots”

  1. This reminds me of economist (whose name I forgot) that estimated the huge concentration of economic activity in hyper-expensive areas is costing about one trillion dollars of lost GDP versus if it were more evenly distributed. I believe it.

  2. It’s so odd to learn about such widespread car usage, being used to having a fairly comprehensive public transport system. Here in the UK, people get a free bus pass at the age of 60 and that has changed the demographic of bus usage in many areas, with the middle class silver generation taking to the buses in droves and having a great time exploring. Thank you for such an interesting insight.

  3. How can Chariot, or any kind of transit, replicate the varied and highly individual commutes typical of car-dependent landscapes? A: They can’t and never will.

    In other words, going from the park n’ ride in San Rafael straight to downtown S.F.? Sure. But more typically, going from a sprawling SFH neighborhood in the East Bay to one of thousands of dispersed office parks in Silicon Valley? Sorry. Such drive-BART-shuttle options already exist and they suck big time because it’s a painful multi-leg journey.

    1. You and I are in broad agreement.

      The best existing example of how a private commuter bus service could work in suburbia is the current school bus fleet. The bus only goes to homes with school children and only delivers them to one place – the school.

      What I witnessed in my neighborhood (the Mission District in San Francisco) over a couple of decades is a stair step transition. Enough tech workers moved to the Mission for all sorts of peculiar reasons that a critical mass made the Google bus viable here. Once the Google bus became established more tech workers moved in – chicken and egg style. Other neighborhoods here in San Francisco never attracted tech workers in the same numbers so the Google bus zips right past them.

      There are certain spots in specific suburbs where entire subdivisions are populated by workers of a common type. Private shuttles could be viable between those residential clusters and employers at the suburban office park clusters. Success would breed success in those clusters while the larger suburb is overlooked.

    1. Yes, the nature of the tech ethos is to try lots of things, let many of them fail, and refine the ones that do work. Leap went under, but I see the Chariot vans around my house and the city all the time. Chariot may not make it either, but the component parts will be resurrected in the next iteration. I compare this process to FedEx and UPS (private companies) who created electronic package tracking that eventually found its way to the U.S. Postal Service.

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