[extropy-chat] Debate on Peak Oil

Acy James Stapp astapp at fizzfactorgames.com
Fri May 6 18:23:38 UTC 2005

spike (and others) wrote:
>>> ... public restrooms
>>> have always had individual stalls that have a
>>> sort of a lock on the door.  There is plenty of
>>> room aboard every train I ever see for individual
>>> stalls.
>> But that wouldn't give any thug the opportunity to assault any other
>> passenger...
> The subway people *really* must deal with the thug
> issue.  Especially as the world population ages
> and grows ever less confident in its collective ability
> to effectively fight off attackers, those individual
> lockable compartments on trains would sell like
> hotcakes.  They could charge four times as much
> per seat, and it would be a bargain.
> Think of the appeal of having an hour's ride in
> completely relaxed solitude.  A compartment could
> have a reclining chair, a LazyBoy or equivalent,
> so one could sleep, listen to tunes or read.  The
> trains could also offer several compartments big enough
> for two, so that young couples could have some privacy
> to get to know each other, perhaps some friendly
> copulation.  Twelve step programs or special
> interest groups could form and meet in private
> compartments made for such things.  Then they too
> could copulate.  The Love Train!

The problem I see with this is lack of accountability.
On regular public transportation there is continous
monitoring from all of the other passengers and we still
have massive problems with crime and vandalism. Private
compartments could conceivably reduce crime by isolating
victims from criminals, but there would be even more
vandals because there would be even less monitoring.
The common resource (compartments) would be insufficiently 
protected and would degenerate to a point where it was
less useful than the existing trains. 

One solution might be to rent individual compartments 
on a per-run basis (for example, I might rent compartment 
48C for the 8:45AM green train into town). This would add 
some accountability but reduces the flexibility immensely, 
as you would most likely have to ride in general admission 
if you missed your scheduled ride or if you needed to make
an unscheduled trip. In addition, you would face similar
problems to landlords, where those most likely to cause
damage to their units are the least able to pay. You'd
also have a problem similar to the public school system
if this were a government program, where you wouldn't be
able to deny access to anyone even if they had proven
themselves to be undesirable riders.

Another solution, but the one that would require big 
infrastructure changes, is to allow folks to drive their
cars to and from the train station/garage and essentially
use the subway as an underground ferry. The infrastructure
would be hard to damage, people could still show off their
ostentatious car purchases, and there would be a sense of 
ownership that keeps people from damaging their own
property (and if they do, who cares?). One big disadvantage
of this is you'll still be carting around three or four
tons of steel per primate. One could charge by mass but
then you'd be nearing the cost point where driving was 
preferable again. You'd also need lifts to move cars into
and out of the subway.

An intermediate solution would be privately owned capsules
which are standardized sizes, lightweight (fiberglass or 
carbon fiber), and easy to mechanically shuttle around.


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