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

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nothing Meaningful

Mock Journalist, Part XIII

The new Ken Avidor blog post is the work of a lazy, lazy man.

You can tell from the title: Was Minnesota Personal Rapid Transit Huckster Run Out of Fayetteville, Georgia on " a Greased Rail" After "Press Release Hoax"? (PRT Moondoggie, 3/12) The question mark at the end means 'I have no idea.' Lazy.

The story is about the foot-in-mouth attempts by the JPods PRT company to secure an installation deal with the city of Fayetteville, Georgia. We relayed this sorry excuse for transit development starting a month ago at the NewsCenter (see 2/13) -- the linked stories show how JPods basically counted its chickens before they were hatched.

The overview is that JPods accidentally or on purpose released a press statement prematurely claiming Fayetteville had agreed to host the company's first pod installation. When it found out, the city council was not pleased, and the gambit (or mistake or misunderstanding or whatever it was) appears to have been pivotal in the council decision to not let JPods build on/over public rights of way. Build it on private land, they decided.

Which is absolutely the correct decision in this case, simply because JPods has zero track record it can cite to reassure a community it can bring off a successful project. JPods wanted Fayetteville to be the guinea pig for a pod design with no prototype, no testing results, no regulatory sign-off, no project team, no manufacturing capability, no supply chain. In effect, JPods wanted Fayetteville to host a testing facility -- and that is not the job of local government, even if (as JPods claims) the project funding was to be 100% private. The public still 'pays' by allowing use of public ROW, and in any negative impacts on overall transportation and land use.

That Ken gets the story right this time is due only to the fact that he sat back and waited for the Fayetteville media, the NewsCenter, and the Transport-Innovators Google Group to do the work of information gathering as well as criticism.

And he concludes today's entry by telling any public officials who might be reading (I suppose it's possible), "If you're wondering whether PRT is a boondoggle or not, Google is your best friend" -- an unwitting admission that Ken Avidor adds nothing meaningful to the coverage or discussion of personal rapid transit.

But you knew that.