"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." - George W. Bush
Tell me, what does "No need to ride with strangers" mean to you?
In the context of Personal Rapid Transit, it is describing a fact of the service concept -- when transit service is on demand, a trip starts when you enter the station and select a destination, board a pod and go. People ahead of you are in their pods and don't have to wait for you, and your pod doesn't have to wait for others. Whether you know them or not is immaterial. If you're at your neighborhood station you might know the travelers in the other pods, but otherwise the odds are good that you won't. This is what it means.
To Ken Avidor it means something else: People don't like to ride with strangers.
Let's just tell it like it is. What Ken is doing here is trying to smear PRT with another Ick Factor (like PRT is dirty and PRT=Bachmann). He's implying PRT fans are people who don't care for other people, are trying to scare people away from transit, or trying to appeal to classists, ageists, racists, etc.
Ken 's little paraphrase would be fine if it just stopped there, but it wouldn't be our Ken if he stopped there. Ken takes People don't like to ride with strangers and attributes it to others.
It's gone from a paraphrase to a quote, those are quotation marks. The group Minnesota 350 is holding a sustainability event this Saturday, part of the worldwide Moving Planet day, and Citizens For PRT is participating. Ken wants to try and shame MN 350 into disassociating itself from CPRT. Lookit what the bad PRT people say! says Ken. He even provides a photo, the Twitpic link. Only, that photo only proves he is the Great Misquoter:
What, he's hoping no one actually looks at it?
This would be a minor amusement, except for that Ken has been pulling this same trick for 8 years.
Apr. 23, 2003 in Pulse Of The Twin Cities:
[gives no reference.]
Jul. 13, 2004, at Car Free Cities: The biggest myth the PRT proponents spread around is that people don't like to ride with "strangers". [gives no reference. At this point he's just quoting one word though.]
Jan. 2005 at Light Rail Now: PRT proponents can say things that the highway boosters could never say, such as "people don't like to ride with strangers". [gives no reference. Now the quote is a whole phrase.]
Apr. 17, 2005 at Mobjectivist: When Councilman Dean Zimmermann testified for Mark Olson's PRT bill (HF1174) in the Minnesota House Local Government Committee March 9th 2005, he said "With PRT you don't have to ride with strangers." This is the audio link:http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/audio/ls84/locpol03092005.asx [This should be definitive, right? I mean, it's audio! Except Ken gets wrong both the quote and the context. At 3:15:20, what Zimmerman really says is:"You have the same relationship with this sky cab that you would to an ordinary taxi cab, in that you get in it, you ride it with yourself or your family, you're not riding with strangers. And when you get to your destination you don't look back and say 'now what am I going to do with that big hunk of steel?' You just leave it there, and it's available, sitting in the station, ready for the next person to jump in and go."He's only describing how PRT is like a taxi.]
Jun. 2, 2005 at Transportation Geek: What they will "market" will be more websites with flashy computer graphics and more brochures with anti-transit propaganda saying stuff like "People don''t [sic] like to ride with strangers". [link to image of flyer with quote that doesn't match]
Jun. 6, 2005 at MAP-NP Community Forum: Dean Zimmermann has testified at the Minnesota State Legislature in favor of Rep. Mark Olson''s anti-transit PRT bills saying that "people don''t [sic] like to ride with strangers". [gives no reference, note same typo as Jun. 2, 2005]
Jun. 14, 2005 at PRT Skeptic: Dean has even teamed up with right-wing Republican Mark Olson at the Capitol and Minneapolis City Hall to say wonderful things about the Taxi 2000 Corporation and spread nasty disinformation about buses and trains such as "People don't like to ride with strangers". [gives no reference]
Jul. 25, 2005 at PRT Skeptic: What do you expect from people who are fond of saying "People don't like to ride with strangers."? [gives no reference]
Aug. 22, 2005 at Seattle P-I (and republished elsewhere): PRT proponents can say things that the highway boosters could never say, such as "People don't like to ride with strangers." [gives no reference]
Jan. 25, 2006 at Detroit Metro Times: PRT proponents can say things that the highway boosters could never say, such as "People don't like to ride with strangers." [gives no reference]
Feb. 7, 2006 at Wikipedia: PRT proponents can say things that the highway boosters could never say, such as "People don't like to ride with strangers." [he was unable to document it, tried to use the Jun. 2, 2005 link]
Apr. 11, 2006 at PRT Skeptic: What do you expect from people who are fond of saying "People don't like to ride with strangers."? [gives no reference]
Jan. 12, 2010 at Democratic Underground: The pod people are always saying PRT is better that reality-based transit because "you don't have to ride with strangers". [includes image with non-matching quote]
And now it's back!
May 20, 2011 at PRT Moondoggie: the PRT hucksters aint [sic] going to give up the fear-mongering about "strangers" on buses and trains
Ken Avidor: the Great Catapulter. How many more miles can he get out of this sleight of hand?
Also: The reality is that PRT ride-sharing is happening
UPDATE: This Avidor post shows how if someone thinks PRT is about not riding with strangers, it's because Ken gave them the idea.