Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

False Accusation (I can do this all day)

Here's another example of how Ken Avidor the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist cherrypicks information to suit his agenda (Redefining success, 9/22). It seems ATS Ltd., the maker of the ULTra PRT, wants a new CEO. The stated reason is that current chief Martin Lowson's experience is mainly in research & development. Avidor does not develop an argument about this, he merely asks the reader if it's a "shake up." So what if it were?

Update (11/4 - Exclusive!): Martin Lowson himself informs "PRT Is a Joke" Is a Joke of an additional factor in the CEO search: he and ATS wish to have someone who could lead the company for the next ten years. Says Lowson-- "This does mean someone younger."
Avidor then writes the name Trevor Smallwood 'caught his eye.' Trevor Smallwood, OBE, has been on ATS's board for six years. Right; he just happened to notice it. Don't you think that really what happened is that Avidor Googled every name associated with ATS, until he found something smear-worthy?

Now, what's your guess as to how
Ken Avidor attacked Mr. Smallwood? If you guessed Trevor Smallwood is anti-transit, come on down and pick up the keys to your new Oldsmobile! It seems Smallwood co-founded a private transit company, First Group. Avidor writes:

First Group doesn't seem to have a very good reputation among transit riders in the U.K.:

Around 300 people marched through Sheffield last Saturday to protest against First’s bus fares rise. As one woman put it, "I only want to ride on the bus, not buy it!"
Let's think about that. One protest reflects a national consensus? Does he mean all the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? It's a small country, but not that small! And how about the Falkland Islands? Plus, does he think that no public transit agency has ever raised fares?

Then to twist the knife, he mentions a 1999 rail tragedy in which a train operated by First Group was one of those involved:

First seems to be one of the the worst when it comes to privatizing transit:
In 1999, First defended its profits rise despite being the operator of one of the trains involved in the Paddington rail crash of that year, insisting that profits were not being prioritised above safety.
But what does the record show? Mr.
Avidor seems to like the BBC, so let's ask them:
In Context

Investigations revealed how 31 people died and dozens were injured because of a head-on collision when one of the trains passed a red signal.

Public inquiries were headed by Scottish judge Lord Cullen. He made dozens of safety recommendations and concluded Railtrack, the company then in charge of rail infrastructure and its investment, had failed to respond to earlier warnings about signalling problems. Source
Railtrack was singled out. Not First Group. (1, 2)

What does
Avidor write next?
Interesting that First operates a fleet of school buses in America. The potential for growth in the corporate school bus business lies mainly in the creation of suburban sprawl rather than transit-oriented communities. Can't have those kids walking or taking transit to school.
Exsqueeze me? First Group did not invent the concept of privately owned school bus companies! The yellow school bus operating under school district contract is a tradition going back decades. And since when are school buses not "transit"?

Why is he bashing school buses? School bus hater!

Archive: Mock Journalist (7/10)

It would take 8 seconds for Ken Avidor to come to a complete stop

1 comment:

Mr_Grant said...


Google "Trevor Smallwood." This entry is #9 out of over 800 results; Weiner Watch's post on Smallwood is #27. How does Kenwood's original smear rate, you ask? It's not on the list! To see it, one must go to the last page of results and select repeat the search with the omitted results included.

Avibore manages to come in at #32.