Thursday, June 12, 2008

If I ruled the world...

Living in Sofia is generally quite nice. Nice weather, nice places, wonderful people... I even find my job outstandingly interesting some days. That the traffic is something of a downer is maybe no surprise....

But for sure, it can't be much worse than this. Whereas in Chisinau you had to fight to get on the trolley, and stand squeezed between and old lady and a sack of potatoes, a bike or most likely one of these blue/red squared bags that are made in Poland and sold everywhere in eastern Europe, filled with noone-knows what. Compared to this the trolleys and trams in Sofia is quite a civilized experience - but they are incredibly slow. Chisinau was very Sovietic, not so cosy of course, but big straight boulevards are not only good for transporting tanks but also for trolleys. Sofia is good for laying in a park or sitting on a cafe. But you better not move...

However, with soaring oil prices , $135 a barrel today, oil-prices.net say $175 in a year, George Soros* say we should prepare for a price of $262 a barrel, I see a golden opportunity for decision makers to make crowded cities like Sofia more livable. Here what I would do if I ruled the world:

Don't use any petrol for public transport. Petrol fueled buses should be replaced in three ways primarily:

1. Trolley busses should take over the bus lines, since it's considerably cheaper to build out the trolley net than the tram net. The EU should help putting as much money as possible available. It will pay off big time when the oil price reaches the levels Mr. Soros speaks about. And it will be cheaper to change the system now than later. Why not buy trolleys from the factory in Moldova? This would strengthen the connections between the Balkan countries, as well as between Moldova and Europe. Bulgaria would possibly be a better mediator in this issue than Romania.

2. Tram nets should gradually replace the trolleys on many lines. This is important, but not so urgent. The important thing is to get rid of petrol.

3. Bicycle roads should be arranged in such a way that they give people a safe and comfortable way to get to work or sights in town. The bicycle should be regarded as a mean of transport and be planned for just as we plan for cars.

Sounds pretty utopian, right? Well... what do you think will happen if public transport continues to rely on petrol? Ticket prices will soar with the oil prices, of course. More expensive tickets means people keep taking the car, which means traffic jams, slower public transport, and even more people taking the car.

On the other hand, if the public transport do not rely on petrol - the ticket prices will be independent of the oil price. They might rise due to other reasons, but for sure, no prices will increase like the oil prices in the near future.


World, heed my call !

*The article is from 2006. The interesting thing is if you read through it and see that they consider oil prices around $100 fatal...


Disclaimer: This post is written in Pidgin English. A Trolley here means Trolley bus, nothing else, whatever Oxford Dictionary tells you...

4 comments:

Jakob said...

I don't think it's utopian. We, the whole world, must get rid of the use of petrol as soon as possible; other views are utopian.

larsbokander said...

yes, I agree. But the trolleybuses need electricity, which is not always so clean or cost efficient... but maybe a brand new modern moldovan nuclear plant could solve the electricity-issue and Moldova could export not only the vehicels but also the energy to drive them! If only I ruled the world (or at least Moldova)...

Maladets! said...

It´s true... there are many problems ewuith producing clean electricity. And most probably neither Moldovan or Bulgarian electricity stand out as clean.

However, I think this is a historical moment - economical circumstances will forces us to use different sources of energy, and politicians should try to take control of the process. If they don´t we will end up with last minute solutions that tend to be less cost effective, as well as less enviromentally friendly.

sajins said...

I am not sure that Trolleys are manufactured in Moldova. I actually believe that the new ones are brought in from Germany. But again...i am not sure.

PS Subway would be good. But I cannot see it happen in the far far future.