Social Class and Transport
by Lou.D. on February 24, 2014 - 12:54pm
The need of transport affects everybody in our society. Whether it is to get to school, work or to meet up with people, none of that would happen if there were no means of getting there. The automobile has been for a long time the most popular way to get from point A to point B, but now with the prices for petrol getting higher and in a near future the possible lack of fuel, other transport systems are getting much more popular. Metro and bus systems have been very popular over the years, but a new system has arrived in the last couple of years that seemed to be amazing at the time, but may not seem so great today. The two first paragraphs shall discuss news articles found on the internet and the third a peer reviewed journal.
A few years ago, Bixi launched a system of bike sharing. Since January 20th, the company have been under bankruptcy protection because it owes 46 million dollars in debt. The expiration date for the bankruptcy protection is supposed to end Wednesday the 19th of February, but Bixi is requesting an additional 45 days of protection. On the other hand, Bixi’s former allies Alta Bycicle Shares and 8D Technologies are contesting the additional 45 days of protection. Alta disproves Bixi’s suggestion of giving 300 000 dollars to the chief restructuring officer. The court-appointed trustee Richter Advisory Group is selling Bixi’s assets until March 10th. Meanwhile, the judge will be reviewing the case Tuesday February 18th for the extension. It is important for Bixi to keep working in Montreal because it is the company’s biggest creditor, owing 31.3 million dollars and a guaranteed 5.3 million dollars bank line of credit.
Not unlike difficulties faced in Montreal, Paris, who has adopted the Bixi system, is facing a vandalism problem. Although it is a hit with the population, 80 percent of the bikes are reported to be stolen, dumped, vandalised or sold to a black market, transporting the bikes in third world countries. The company has had the need to hire more workers to maintain the bikes and what was supposed to be a new eco-friendly way to travel in the city has now become a new source of criminal activity. Police and sociologist claim that the reason for all the vandalism is the separation of social classes in Paris and that young resentful men are taking out their anger on what they see as a new symbol of social division. A sociologist named Bruno Marzloff relates the situation to the one of burning cars during riots in 2005. He also claims that it may be poor immigrants that are vandalising the bikes as a form of outcry. The bikes are a success though; their easy access, cheapness and nature friendly ideals are a major hit on the population and they are very popular with the tourist. With all the vandalism, access is becoming increasingly harder and the people who were excited about the new way of travelling are becoming more and more sceptical of their efficiency. Finding a functional bike with all of its accessories is becoming a very hard task so the popularity is rapidly going down. The government is putting up campaigns to try to stop the bad treatment of the bikes, hoping to keep a large clientele.
Following up with the usage of bicycle sharing programs, this peer reviewed article explains the necessity of having transport. To be able to get to certain areas that would normally be hard to reach such as health services, a need for transport is very in demand. In deprived areas, transport is usually much more of an issue so placements of certain services have been placed nearby. The problem is locations that are more difficult to relocate are much harder to access in deprived areas for there are no means to getting there. Individuals who do not own an automobile and have greater access to fast food chains tend to weigh more than people with automobiles and greater access, while people with low access and owning an automobile tend to weigh the least. Public transport, walking and cycling have a very positive outcome for all populations, whether deprived or not. The study wants to prove its hypothesis by using road network, public transportation and the public bicycle share program in Montreal. The method used to perform the study was a survey, dividing Montreal into 33 areas containing an average population of 51 151. They then separated the people who lived near a Bixi docking station and were over 18. After surveying 6 495 people, the results showed that people with less than a high school diploma lived further away from Metro stations and Bixi stations, but people with lower incomes lived the closest. This tends to have beneficial effects on lifestyle and gives greater access to services. Sadly, as seen in the first two paragraphs, the bicycle sharing program may not be as efficient as it seems and may soon go bankrupt. Individuals will still have access to public transport, but people living near Bixi docks may soon have an issue getting to where they need to be. Hopefully a solution shall come into play, transporting our society and keeping it healthy.
To conclude, while people are having trouble with the Bixi system and vandalising it, a major part of the population do not have access to any means of transport. People with less than a high school diploma must struggle with the lack of transport which is something that should change. Thanks to the academic discipline Behavioral Medicine, governments should be able to target what groups of people to help out when it comes to transport because being able to be in more places would mean more opportunities to achieve.
Article 2 :
Peer reviewed journal :