We just want to remind you that the Curbing Cars Newsletter is taking Labor Day off. We’ll be back next week.
In the meantime, we have a request. Hurricane Harvey has left a mess in its wake. There are fundraisers and collections going on all over the country. This will be a problem for a long, long time.
There are estimates that between 500,000 and 1 million cars will have to be scrapped. Already, 100,000 people have filed claims with their auto insurers.
So, if you see something that appeals to you, please attend, or make a donation to help those in need in Houston.
Our friend Chef Alon Shaya is hosting a fundraiser in New Orleans on Monday. The menu includes red beans and rice, which everyone in New Orleans eats on Mondays. There will be music, and beer, and other drinks, and a lot of good cheer.
Every penny of your donation (minus the ticket fee) is going to help Harvey victims. Even if you can’t attend, think about making a donation to his foundation.
And thank you.
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This week, the Curbing Cars Podcast returns, co-hosted by Executive Editor Micheline Maynard and our intern, Colin Beresford.
In this episode, Micki and Colin discuss the big change at Ford Motor Company and Colin talks about his ride on Detroit’s QLine. We also hear how millennials view car ownership, now that they have all kinds of transportation options.
We also talk about the mess in public transportation and the problems faced by Uber.
Curbing Cars plans to make its podcast a monthly feature. Find it here, on SoundCloud and on iTunes.
CO-HOSTS: Micki Maynard and Colin Beresford
PRODUCER: Colin Beresford
MUSIC: John Goodell
Thanks to our Kickstarter backers who made this week’s episode possible. If you’re interested in underwriting future podcast episodes, get in touch with us at CurbingCars@gmail.com. We’ll mention you at the end of every show.
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In its first week of operation, the QLine carried nearly 50,000 riders, averaging 7,140 riders daily, well surpassing the operators’ goal of 5,000 riders a day according to M-1 Rail, which operates the system.
The streetcar system was funded by public and private monies with hopes of expansion in the future (there are no concrete plans that detail where the streetcar system may go in the future). There are six streetcars ready for operation–each can seat 34 people and hold 125 people–all of which can be used at times of high-ridership.
The QLine planned to offer free rides for its first week of operation. But late last week, it announced that rides will be free until July 1. The operators will use that time to work out the bugs, and capitalize on the public’s interest in the new light rail system.
Join our Colin Beresford for a test drive of the QLine.
Have you ridden the QLine? Please let us know about your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org
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For the past year, Curbing Cars has been delighted to showcase the talents of young journalists, like Matt Varcak and Adam Rubenfire. Now, we welcome our first summer intern, Mark Remillard.
Mark isn’t your typical intern. He’s already a familiar voice in Phoenix, where he’s a full-time reporter at KTAR, the premier news radio station. Mark just graduated from Arizona State University, where he was a student in one of my business journalism classes.
Look for regular posts from Mark over the summer. But first, let’s hear from him.
“Hello everyone! My name is Mark Remillard and I’ll be this summer’s intern here at Curbing Cars and since I’ll be writing a lot of this website, I wanted to make a quick post to introduce myself. Continue reading →
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We’re kicking off the week with some splendid news from Amazon.com. Over the weekend, Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry ranked as the number one ebook in the Automotive category.
We appreciate your support, and look forward to discussing all our findings with you. We’re fascinated by the drop in driving, and why Americans are turning to a broad spectrum of transportation rather than just rely on cars.
Meanwhile, here’s the column that Robert Trigaux wrote about the book in Friday’s edition of the Tampa Bay Times. The debate over roads versus light rail is a vivid one in Tampa, the biggest American city without a significant public transportation system.
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Millions of people are driving less, and some are even giving up their cars all together. In our new eBook, Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry, published Tuesday by Forbes, I make some suggestions on how the auto companies can play a role in the new transportation reality.
One idea: create a new Model T, a car that that can appeal broadly to the public, and yet be affordable and efficient. That’s critical, given that the average new vehicle now costs around $33,000. Parking, repairs, insurance and maintenance all add up to the expense of owning an automobile.
“There’s an opportunity for some smart company to build the next car for the masses. There is certainly a precedent for doing so. The original Model T put the car within the reach of the American middle class for the first time, and as cheaper used versions became available, the demographic got pushed down even further to the working class.
From 1910 through 1930, the automobile industry attracted new customers and auto sales boomed. But then there came a 15-year period in which auto sales stalled, first because of the Great Depression, and then because cars weren’t available during World War II.
What happened to revive the American car market? Prosperity returned, of course, but there was also a successor to the Model T that put millions of people into cars they could afford: the Volkswagen Beetle. It was a global, not just American, phenomenon and caught buyers’ attention for a number of reasons. Continue reading →
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Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry is the result of our Kickstarter-funded project looking at why people are driving less. You can buy it now from Amazon.com, on iTunes and other sites where eBooks are sold.
Check back regularly as we post our analysis and predictions about the historic shift in attitudes among Americans about their transportation needs.
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