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Showing posts from November, 2011

Bottlenecks: Never assume the experts know better

As the saying goes: "Experts built the TitanicAmateurs built the Ark."


It seems to be human nature to rely on experts and not question their decisions. After all, if they are so clever, who are we to question them?


But sometimes it seems that they are self declared experts and/or it is us who declare them as experts and then believe our own prophecies.


Jerusalem has 2 new fast transport systems: A light rail and express buses. The aim is to eventually replace the latter with another line or 2 of trams.


I always wondered what was the advantage of transport-by-rail - especially intra-city where speed is not an issue.


Light rails are great when they work; the idea is that cars and pedestrians have to keep out of their way, as the trams are inflexible. They are quiet and don't need to tank up as they are electric.


Two weeks ago I saw that anything travelling on rails suffers from the typical bottleneck problem, as to be expected.


First I saw a train that had started pulling out t…

Are all changes really improvements?

I can just imagine it: The yearly review at Egged; the Jerusalem bus cooperative. The major request for change must have been to get rid of the need to punch those paper bus tickets.


It was slow, it meant interacting with each passenger. it meant that the person driving a million-dollar bus spent a good part of his day punching holes into paper; paper handled by other people and he had no way to wash his hands.


So, many years ago they created the monthly bus pass. Now the bulk of travelers simply flash their passes and walk by. What a major improvement.


In parallel they decided to upgrade to the 21st century and computerize the system.


Welcome to CityPass. Each passenger has a debit card - this should really improve things.


But, as often happens, this was not thought through carefully. Now every single passenger needs to insert their bus card into the machine; the driver punches a button and - after the light on the machine turns from red to green - you can remove your card and the line be…