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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another Luddite Veto

Today's Ken Avidor/Dump Bachmann coverage of Personal Rapid Transit in Amritsar, Punjab is pretty good -- if you like omission of balancing quotes, lack of cultural context, and no content about Krazy Eyes herself. It's a bait-and-switch.

That's right, the Laffable Luddite blogger who recently mocked an Indian newspaper's use of "operationalized" as though it were not a real word is now Extremely Concerned about shopkeepers in Amritsar who
apprehend that the system would adversely hit their business.

The foundation stone was laid outside the Hall Gate where shopkeepers raised anti-government slogans and staged dharnas. [emphasis not in original] 

Ken is Extremely Concerned because -- oh, did I mention the screaming headline on his post?
Shopkeepers in India Are Fasting in Protest Against the Personal Rapid Transit Boondoggle

A dharna is "a fast held at the door of an offender in India as an appeal for justice."

Not the first time, pRT [sic] has provoked a mass protest, read; "Pod Off! Residents oppose Daventry PRT scheme".

Here's the cultural context: dharnas actually are a prevalent form of protest in India, found in situations major and minor, in both the public and private spheres. Dharnas are not extreme last resorts like hunger strikes in the West because, Ken, India is a different culture. To see what I mean, just look up "dharna" in Google News.

And, true to form, Avidor also fails to look for articles explaining the Government's response to the merchant's concerns. Avidor doesn't do it, so I will:
[Dep. Chief Min.] Badal said that this new technology transport system not only facilitate [sic] the pilgrims coming to Golden Temple but also proved to be beneficial for the local business, as it would attract more tourists to the city. He said that as the main station of this PRT system would be in Hall Gate bazaar of the city, thus, it would multiply the business opportunities for local vendors. "Moreover, the POD would run at height more [sic] than the nearby shops, the system would provide traffic and hindrance free access to these shops", he added. Source

Avidor also pretends to weep over how advertising on PRT structures "Would be a hideous visual scar on the historic city"...

...as though Amritsar is not already a massive urban area that has -- yes -- buildings as tall or taller than PRT, and advertising:
How are each day's thousands of pilgrims supposed to get through congestion like this? Avidor doesn't want to let the local authorities decide. Flickr Photo: rwoan

And NO RELEVANCE TO BACHMANN, other than the usual 'she got her cooties on it when she was a state senator.'

Bottom line: the Laffable Luddite is once again trying to interfere in local decisionmaking, just as he has in England, Alameda and Richmond, California.  He claims PRT is a right wing conspiracy, yet the only reason he knows about any pod transit project in any country is because planning for them is occurring in public view. Whether they proceed is up to each locality. Ask
Ken Avidor why he cares so much, and make him be factual and consistent.


Ken, what did you mean by:

"Polish PRT?"

Ken Avidor (@Daily Kos)
read the PRTJJ coverage

UPDATE 1: The Amritsar pod public transit system would be used by the more than a million religious pilgrims a year who visit the Golden Temple. An Avidor fan equates them with rich people crossing cities in helicopters in order to avoid seeing slums:

UPDATE 2: (12/15/2011) Today a Ken tweet leads to one inescapable conclusion -- he believes transit competes for fares against taxis and rickshaws* ONLY IN INDIA:

Also that the planning/decisionmaking roles of the local Amritsar government and Punjab state government are not worth mentioning -- on Planet Avidorpia the "British Automated Pod Corporation" is doing it all!

"#occupy," Ken? Really?

UPDATE 3: (12/16/2011) Desperate to blunt today's NY Times coverage of Amritsar, Ken is now blogging and tweeting about comments by a grumpypants Heathrow traveler who thought 25 mph "felt" too slow, didn't like that the pods were busy, didn't like emergency exit hatches, and didn't like that the pod's windows didn't let him look directly forward or behind. Ken also issues a call for  an:
I don't know what experts would ever satisfy Avidor, since he doesn't want a state department of transportation involved.

Irony of The Year: Ken Avidor is putting stock in the opinion of someone who didn't like riding on his pod with strangers:

Ken has always tried to claim people who don't like riding with strangers love PRT.

UPDATE 4: By the way, this photo which Ken thought showed "a hideous visual scar" on historic Amritsar

It's not even Amritsar. It's Gurgaon.

Leave Laffy Alone!

* Taxis and autorickshaws burn petrol, Ken! 


Twistylikethat said...

Thanks for continuing to document the absurdity.

I listened to a webcast of the Luddite with James Kunstler the other day.

Our boy did everything but call his fellow Minnesotans "square-heads". His "I'm from New York" attitude was as elitist & disgusting as anything I've ever heard.

Not just a Luddite ...

Mr_Grant said...

I listened to that Kunstlercast too, just to hear the PRT segment. Everything else was unremarkable, only because I agree with Kunstler on a lot of things.

The PRT segment was microns thin. It was basically two dogs sniffing each other's butts about how much they hate PRT. As soon as PRT came up JK went straight for the ad hominem -- in seconds. That was likely the most boring part of the episode for his other listeners, since the way they talked about PRT was totally inside.

Twistylikethat said...

I agree with Kunstler's ideas re: increasing the walkability of our environment & see PRT as a means to that end in our car-oriented society. Much more so that buses or light rail will ever be.

Sadly, progress is slow.