Minibus startups like Chariot aren’t succeeding. But transit shouldn’t be judged on whether it turns a profit. In 1914, during a streetcar strike in Los Angeles, a motorist in a newfangled private car began giving rides for a jitney—slang for nickel. The flexible service and novel automotive technology easily seduced passengers, and soon jitneys swept the nation, challenging run-down and crowded streetcar systems. But they also clogged city streets, caused numerous crashes, and ...
In August 2016, users of Singapore’s normally-reliable Circle Line increasingly found their daily journeys disrupted. Seemingly without warning, trains would suddenly apply their emergency brakes and rapidly come to a stop. For the next few months, the problem persisted. Passengers became increasingly annoyed, but so too did the people at SMRT, the line’s operator. It wasn’t that they didn’t know what the problem was – that much had been diagnosed relatively quickly. Periodically, ...
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