The Truth About Cars » Transportation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 04:01:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Transportation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com New York City Taxi Official Departs For Uber http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/new-york-city-taxi-official-departs-for-uber/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/new-york-city-taxi-official-departs-for-uber/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 11:30:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=827362 facebook_ad_large_1

In a major coup for car sharing service Uber, the start-up has poached Ashwini Chhabra, the deputy commissioner for policy and planning at New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The New York Times reports that Chhabra will help Uber in a new role that covers “policy development and community engagement”. While New York City was slow to allow Uber and other e-hail apps, the city recently approved an extension of a pilot project to allow them to be used to hail taxi cabs, rather than just private cars.

Chhabra himself was outspoken regarding the mismatch between the adoption of the apps among the public and the regulatory response, telling the Times

“I won’t say that at New York T.L.C., we always got it right…Regulators often move slower than entrepreneurs.”

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New or Used? : Economic Outpatient Care Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/new-or-used-economic-outpatient-care-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/new-or-used-economic-outpatient-care-edition/#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2013 13:30:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478075

Hello Steve,

I’ve enjoyed for a couple of years now the articles you’ve written for TTAC and the insight you give on used cars and the business you work in. Since you do provide your contact information, I thought I’d write to ask a question relevant to my used-car-shopping situation.

The situation – this girl (my cousin, in her early 20s) used to have a nice 2005 Civic that was given to her new by our grandparents when she finished high school. This would normally have served her until the end of time, but she sold it last year for very stupid reasons.

Now she is back in Atlanta, has no money of her own (she lives at home and is supported by her mom) and is trying to get her life back on a more solid track, but can’t do anything without a car. Her mom would rather not spend a few grand on another car, but it is a much smaller burden on her than using her own car, and they do not live in an area where there is any realistically-usable transit. So cheap used car it is.

My cousin would prefer some kind of SUV for style reasons, but while I love her and want her to get her life together, I don’t think her own preferences have much weight here – she is being supported by her mom, who is also prepared to spend ~$3,000 on a car for her despite her own bad decisions.

I think the primary need is for something as reliable as one can get for that kind of money that is not too expensive to maintain (ex.: my mom’s husband knew of a well-kept one-owner 190E in Toccoa being sold by a friend, but I would not consider an old Mercedes, even a well-kept low-mileage one, to be a low-cost-of-maintenance car.)

It strikes me that in this price range the ownership and maintenance history of a particular car is probably more important than the brand reputation of a given make and model. My own firsthand knowledge is centered around ’90s Nissans and old Fiats, as that is what I own or have owned and maintained myself.

I will appreciate any response you may have the time to give.thanks,

Steve Says:

A few things…

I really don’t know why you are putting yourself out there in the first place. Let’s face it. Her mom doesn’t need to indulge your cousin at this point in her life and neither do you.

The following words you wrote were the only ones that mattered.

“Now she is back in Atlanta, has no money of her own (she lives at home and is supported by her mom) and is trying to get her life back on a more solid track, but can’t do anything without a car.”

Bull.

She can apply for jobs and get a taxi when an interview comes along. If she’s in the Atlanta outskirts, she has plenty of time to take long walks and reflect on her present and future.

Your cousin has time to read, write, exercise, plan, learn, develop a skill or three, and figure out the way forward. She doesn’t have to worry about where her next meal will be coming from, or whether there still will be a roof over her head in the near future.

This is what we call in life, a learning opportunity. And a golden one at that. We all go through them. A hardship can often be a good thing because it teaches you a valuable lesson about who you are as a person, and who you can trust as a friend.

When you constantly give people things they don’t rightfully earn (such as money, love, respect, etc.), that thinking process stops. The indulgences become entitlements, and the entitlements become expectations. Several books have highlighted this unique process of babying as ‘economic outpatient care’ but it applies to all things emotional and financial. In the long run, you make the person more sick and dependent on handouts by shoveling unearned gifts their way.

So why would you want to help give someone a new freebie when they have recently committed, “very stupid decisions” with their old freebie? Think about it. Some people are smart enough to eventually move a swing when it’s facing a brick wall.

Do that instead. Listen to her. Be there for her. Do what you can for her. Heck, 2 years from now she may be the one on top of the world and you may be experiencing your own struggles.

But mark my words. She won’t be successful if her mom simply gives her a car. Let her earn it.

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US DOT Removes Results Measurement From Transit Funding Decisions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/us-dot-removes-results-measurement-from-transit-funding-decisions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/us-dot-removes-results-measurement-from-transit-funding-decisions/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2010 15:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=341926 The fix is in?

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Wednesday that he would re-write funding guidelines to dispense with rigid cost-benefit analysis when deciding which transit programs should receive funds. Under the previous system, because motorists provided the majority of the funding through the gas tax, money was allocated to cost-effective transit programs that promised the greatest overall reduction in traffic congestion. In remarks at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting, LaHood explained that the objective criteria will be replaced by a set of goals.

“Measuring only cost and how fast a project can move the most people the greatest distance simply misses the boat and… has slowed down transit expansion,” LaHood reflected yesterday. “In 2010, a policy that has that effect is ridiculous.”

One of the major hurdles in spending US motorist dollars on projects such as streetcars has been their extremely high cost and low usage rates. Fort Worth, Texas, for example, wants to spend $250 million on a streetcar project that is likely to serve between one and two percent of the population. With new flexibility to spend large sums to benefit a small constituency, LaHood will now be able to exert influence on electoral battleground states over the next few years.

“I’ll make sure those investments in manufacturing help our most distressed communities in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere,” LaHood said.

The administration’s move was heralded by Capitol Hill’s most prominent advocate of streetcars and bicycles, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Washington).

“In line with President Obama’s commitment to promoting livable communities, USDOT will drop a Bush-era practice that emphasized out-dated analyses focused primarily on travel-time savings for suburban commuters,” a Blumenauer statement explained.

The Federal Transit Administration now take steps to codify new regulations to reflect the updated priorities. In his Wednesday speech, LaHood also emphasized the need to increase spending across the board on transportation projects to help the economy.

“Everywhere I go, the message is loud and clear,” LaHood said. “They want the opportunity to leave their cars behind. To live near work and schools and good hospitals. And to enjoy clean, green neighborhoods. Our stimulus funds are helping many communities begin to realize those dreams…. But if we’re really serious about creating livable, sustainable communities built around good transportation, then we must reform our current spending programs.”

LaHood cited the spending of $8 billion in taxpayer dollars on a new passenger rail program, expanded support for Amtrak and another $1.5 billion in discretionary TIGER grants, which are designed to support efforts such as tolling, as evidence of the administration’s willingness to spend on priority projects.

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