Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Debunking the Lies

Ken Avidor has posted a long list of lies in his latest blog entry. I'm going to debunk each point individually:

Avidor smear: "Horns, wings and hoofs exist on different animals yet nobody has seen a flying unicorn... or a working PRT system."

What Avidor neglects to mention is that there have been working PRT systems - CVS and Cabintaxi were PRT systems that had thousands of miles of testing in the 1970s - these were fully functioning prototype systems that carried passengers in actual vehicles in an actual network. ULTra has also had thousands of hours of testing at its test track.

Avidor wants you to believe that PRT is a myth, a unicorn. He wants you to believe it has no basis in reality. He's lying.

Avidor disinformation: "Sorry, last I heard, ULTra has a few development hurdles to jump before construction begins."

Based on what? When you make a claim like that you should provide links, links, links! According to ULTra’s website, the Heathrow Pilot program is underway, with the first installation scheduled to open in the summer of 2008.

Please provide proof for your claim of "hurdles", otherwise I’m going to assume it’s yet another lie.

Avidor lie: "Anyways, what relevance does a battery-powered buggy that cannot operate in snow or ice have for Minnesota?"

According to ULTra’s website, "Approaches to ice and snow control have also been prepared for applications in cold climates." Do you even read about the stuff you slam?

Avidor propaganda: "The other would-be PRT company he mentions, Vectus is yet another sham PRT "testing facility" project. For forty years, PRT was always on the verge of some breakthrough that never happened. Here's a long list of PRT projects that never happened and never will."

Notice he doesn’t say anything about Vectus directly – he resorts to dogmatic proclamations like "there’s never been a PRT system and there never will!" Why doesn’t he post anything specific about Vectus? Because he has nothing on Vectus, so he spews generalities.

Avidor flip-flop: "Skyweb Express/Taxi 2000 never advanced beyond the shiny red pod prototype. Taxi 2000 has failed to update its news page on its website since 2004... when Olson's bills failed in the legislature. A dead website usually means a dead company."

But, just a few days ago, when he was slamming JPods, he proclaimed "Unlike the shiny red Taxi 2000 prototype, the J-Pod is obviously a joke." So which is it, Ken? Is the "shiny red prototype" a joke or not a joke? When you’re slamming JPods, it’s not; when you’re slamming Taxi 2000 two days later, it is.

This, folks, is what’s known as a flip-flop.

See also ”PRT is a joke” is a joke.

Avidor deception: "There is no technology. When Taxi 2000 sued J. Edward Anderson in 2005, Anderson claimed there were no PRT patents."

The truth is that Taxi 2000 had patents that expired. The claim that there is no technology is a blatant lie. See Dr. Anderson’s extensive discussion of this supposedly non-existent technology and decide for yourselves.

Avidor deception: "The U of M is no longer interested in PRT."

As proof of this claim, Avidor points to a blog entry by a U of M researcher who never was interested in PRT, and still isn’t. His criticism of PRT? That it hasn’t yet found a market and may have a difficult time doing so. In other words, he’s not exactly calling it a "unicorn"…

Avidor smear: "Mr. Swanson obviously hasn't ridden the Hiawatha LRT... LRT is a completely modern, state-of-art technology. PRT on the other hand has not advanced further than the concept stage which is hardly different than the 1960's concept of PRT."

Let’s digest this for a moment. Ken is criticizing PRT for not having changed much since the 1960’s, when his preferred technology has barely changed at all since the 1860s!

I also find it ironic that "state of the art" is considered a plus when speaking about light rail… but mention that PRT is a "state of the art" system and you’re labeled a wacky gadgetbahner.

Avidor smear: "…nobody wants to pay the cost o developing it and nobody wants a transportation system that requires communities to cut down half the trees on their streets for a monorail with a clear view into their bedroom windows…"

…and yet, elevated light rail is perfectly acceptable. Apparently, Avidor doesn’t care if people can see in his windows, as long as those people are inside a train and not a pod.

Avidor propaganda: "This is one of the big lies of the PRT disinformation campaign. No transit system can be built and operated without subsidy."

Let’s read into this statement: we know that light rail requires a huge subsidy in almost every case. We also know that the only acceptable form of transit for Ken Avidor is light rail. Therefore, he comes to the conclusion that all transit requires subsidy.

This, despite studies that have shown that PRT can operate at a much reduced subsidy as compared to LRT, and also provide 24x7, on demand service! So PRT provides more for less, but it can’t possibly be better than LRT, which costs more to operate and is unavailable on nights and weekends. Yet another example of tortured Avidor logic.

Avidor disinformation: "PRTistas like Swanson claim that PRT is so cool that people would pay any price to ride it. The ridership figures for monorails, the closest thing to PRT falls far short of rail transit."

Actually, monorails are much more like elevated rail than PRT. In fact, from a functional standpoint, the only difference between monorails and traditional rail is… two rails!

In fact, the only similarity between monorail and PRT is the fact that both are on dedicated guideways. In almost every other way, PRT is different:

large trainssmall individual vehicles
line haul with frequent stopsnetwork with non-stop point-to-point travel
online stationsoffline stations
reduced service during non-peak timesfull 24x7 availability

PRT is nothing like monorail. The fact that Ken makes this comparison is just more proof that he really doesn't know what PRT is.

Avidor lie: "Here's a blog sums up what most transporation professionals think of PRT…"

…and then he posts a link to an anonymous blogger who references back to Avidor’s own propaganda! Where are the transportation professionals who are lining up against PRT? The folks at publictransit.us have been conspicuously silent about PRT recently. Why is that, Ken?


Blogger Mr_Grant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/19/2006 2:06 PM  
Blogger Mr_Grant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/19/2006 2:22 PM  
Blogger Mr_Grant said...

re: development hurdles

He probably means the BAA-required testing milestones ULTra had to meet before the planning & construction could proceed.

Last year Kenwood opined ULTra wouldn't meet those milestones (you know--because now he's a "transportation expert"). He was proven wrong not once, but twice.

But does he admit his error? No, he never does! Talking Points mean you never have to say you're sorry.

10/19/2006 2:26 PM  

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