Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cogito ergo sum: A good modern translation might be "I drive therefore I am"

I was getting on a bus the other day when I noticed the fine for travelling without   validating a ticket or pass had increased to €122.

Well there are many youngsters of dubious social status who quite blatantly travel without paying. From time to time hit teams of inspectors get on the bus and control all the passengers and usually pick up one or two nogooders.

Travelling by train one is confronted by the same problem although for passengers of a certain age it gets a little more confusing as there are white periods (full price) and blue periods (reduced price) which vary during holidays. Then one has to remember to carry the necessary pass (up to date as well).

All of this gets more difficult with advancing age. Does one need a medical certificate to prove one is getting absent minded or forgetful or even senile? Certainly most of the inspectors are not qualified to judge.

I am a strong believer in public transport and physical exercise. Walk when it’s possible, and then take a bus or tram or a train when necessary.

A good idea would be to ban cars but if that is not possible at least have free transport for non car owners. Good for health and pollution.

I live in France where Descartes wrote, “I think therefore I am”,
Much better is the phrase, “I breathe therefore I am”,
In practice the French believe in the phrase “I drive, therefore I am”.
A Frenchman without his car is like a horseman without his horse.

The death toll on the roads has gone down from around 16/17 thousand a year when I arrived to perhaps 3/4 thousand a year now. However with the increase in population and therefore an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads the collateral damage (death due to pollution) must be increasing.

So thanks to drivers one could now say “I breathe therefore I die”.

Now is the time for politicians to do something about it, but drivers vote and most pedestrians are too young to vote or too old for politicians  to worry about.

In any case I doubt if most politicians have used public transport since their student days. In fact it’s a pity that instead of spending hours  reading Descartes as a student more time hadn’t been spent on 20/30 mile route marches under the benevolent eye of a sergeant major but of course they are too young to know.

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