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Monday, January 10, 2005

Skytrain and Bicycles 

I'll take these subjects in the reverse order. It feels really darned good to be back on the bike. I finally decided to risk the roads, and there was virtually no risk. Very clear today. The bike felt really good, almost soothing. I also almost but not quite bought a really sweet mountain bike frame this weekend, but then I remembered I didn't need one, no matter how good a deal it was.

Also on the weekend, erm, how to put this so nobody gets uncomfortable? Ask me what happened to Skytrain on its opening day. I won't post the story here, due to obvious familial entanglements. Note: this cryptic comment doesn't change the fact that I think Skytrain is the bee's knees. I'm convinced it's a great deal for what it is, and that a large part of its remarkably good safety record is owed to its driverless status. Because drivers inevitably make mistakes.

Oh, I'd better not let that stand: actually, the bus service also has a superb record of safety, which is why you hardly ever hear of any problems. One of the difficulties of good systems is that we spend so much time finding and fixing problems that I think the art of finding examples of efficiency, safety, and profitability is often neglected, especially when the eye of the media is turned to the public sector. And I say that as person with reasonably strong small-government instincts. Must be the ludicrous preponderance of public-sector workers in my family, including me.

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