Unintended consequences of the rise in the price of gas:
Seatless cars, from the Chicago Tribune:
The cattle car is being reintroduced on CTA trains, even though the transit agency has worked hard in recent years to erase a reputation for treating riders like pork bellies being hauled on a freight train.
Under an experiment announced Wednesday, the Chicago Transit Authority plans to remove all the seats on some cars of rush-hour trains to jam in more riders who otherwise would be left behind on crowded rail platforms.
The strategy is a bit comparable to cramming 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-pound sack.
Despite fiercely negative reactions among riders, the move is not aimed at punishing commuters, who are parking their cars due to record gas prices and riding trains and buses during the work week and on weekends. But rising transit ridership is causing an acute crunch on CTA trains.
Up to about 90 riders can sit or stand in each car on most standard CTA trains. By yanking out seats and eliminating the aisle, an additional 25 to 50 passengers could be crammed into each car, officials estimated.The seatless cars would be used at only peak travel hours,
The British government banned the Segway Scooterin all public places in 2006, an action considered extreme even by pedestrian groups who've lobbied to prevent the Segway from taking over sidewalks, on the grounds of danger to peds. From the Guardian:
In a classic piece of legislative zeal, the Department of Transport responded to its unveiling by publishing its Regulations for Self-balancing Scooters. These basically refer the Highway Act of 1835 and EU vehicle certification rules to ban it from all paths and roads. The only place you can now use a Segway in the UK is on private land - not much use to the average commuter.
But all is not lost. A group of MPs spearheaded by Tory transport spokesman Robert Goodwill, is campaigning to get the Segway reclassified so it can travel on cycle lanes - and, where cycle lanes don't exist, on the road. The MPs are backed by a campaign group calling itself Legalise Segways, which champions the personal transporter as a way to reduce congestion, pollution, noise and even road rage - how could you possibly be cross with someone on something that looks like a hi-tech lawnmower?
Interestingly enough, the Segway is almost double the price in Europe (£4,399) vs. $4,500 here. So it's even less of a viable commuter alternative there, though perhaps commuting distances are shorter (the Segway has a range of just 12 miles.)