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Comment Re:How about 18 minutes without the tunnel? (Score 1) 118

"What would upper management do if nobody can afford to commute to work at the current wage? Clean the toilets themselves?"

I'd expect them to Lobby government to lower the tolls, give them an exception to the tolls, demand local taxpayer subsidized housing for imported mexican indentured servants, or threaten to move their "job creating" "tax revenue" business somewhere else.

Comment Re:How about 18 minutes without the tunnel? (Score 1) 118

(1) commuting (versus telecommuting)

-- yeah, most jobs in the real world do actually require going to work. you know to meet customers and/or build/install/repair/sell/ship/ a thing.

Telecommuting is only applicable for a small number of people, and even of those people that could do it, most of them are not given the choice. You think upper management cares what your tolls are to get to work?

(2) during rush hour

Most people work business hours because they need to do business. They need to interact with customers and vendors etc. Most people do not choose the hours they work. See (1) above.

Besides, the people who CAN easily choose avoid rush hour traffic times or work from probably ALREADY have chosen to. Nobody chooses being stuck in gridlock for 2 hours a day.

(3) in a car, (4) solo,

Yeah, this fair. Car pooling and so forth for the win right? Or public transit.

But why do people choose cars? Usually because the alternatives aren't any better. Transit usually takes even longer is crowsed, smells, and the schedules can be punishing and in-flexible. Car pooling isn't much better... you can spend an hour in the car going to and from work straight... or you load up the car, take the HOV lane, but end up spending the same amount of time due to the milk run picking the other people up.

Cranking a toll up on cars IS going to make car pooling and public transit suck slightly less by comparison, but its still going to suck unless there is real investment improving it.

, (5) on that congested freeway

Nobody takes a congested route when better routes exist. Your 'hint' proposes no alternatives. If there is more than one route, and you are spending an hour on THAT congested freeway... its probably because the other one is just as bad or worse.

(6) work at one end of that traffic jam, and (7) live at the other end of it.

This is another single argument despite numbering it twice. Again, think about it, the shitty long congested commute to work is ARLEADY a deterrent; nobody wants to sit in gridlock for 2 hours a day, every day ... so if people are putting up with it there must be a reason.

a) The cost of housing on the 'side of work' is probably far too high.
b) Or the size of housing on the 'side of work' is much to small.
c) Or it is a family and one spouse found work close to home, while the other has to commute.
d) Or there are other compelling reasons to live where they live. They are close to freinds, family, the kids are attending a good school, they enjoy the parks. It's absurd to think that everyone who works in the factory district next to the train tracks just because the corporate lease on that space was cheap wants to live in the shithole ghetto next to it.

Adding punishing tolls on the commuters will make housing close to work that much more valuable, driving prices UP.

So, yes you can raise the tolls to rebalance the equation, but that's not going to get them to move their family of four into a studio apartment that they still can't afford. Nor is the husband or wife going to separate from his family to each live closer to work in a separate home they can't afford. Nor should everyone uproot their entire family every time the company can save 2% on their lease and moves 20 miles in a random direction.

Tolls can realistically nudge things a bit, but they are not a solution. There is no solution. Nothing quick anyway. But long term city planning can make improvements over time measured in generations. Creating communities people can afford to live in and want to live in near employers works. But that's not something you can just decide to do; especially in a relatively free market. It takes time, and planning.

Comment Re:You were hired to work for THEM (Score 1) 338

It's not just free overtime.

That is often very much what being on a salary means in practice: you get X money per day/month/whatever, and X doesn't increase if you work more than your normal hours. However, it's also not unusual for salaried employees to have those normal working hours specified in their employment contracts, effectively putting a lower bound on the amount of working time expected in exchange for the salary.

Again, though, this all depends very much on where you are and how your local labour laws work. For example, the US system of at-will employment is actually closer to what most of the world would consider contract or freelance work than employment, typically involving very little commitment to continuing the relationship by either side and relatively low benefits for employees beyond their pay cheque. What is particularly unusual in that case is that in much of the US such an arrangement seems to be the norm even for entry-level and low-paid work. Elsewhere, employment tends to involve much more of a commitment from both sides for those kinds of jobs, while the lighter touch arrangements tend to be used more for skilled professional work. In that context, abusive hiring and firing is usually less of a problem, and all parties may benefit from the greater flexibility, including flexibility about compensation arrangements.

Comment Re: Trains (Score 1) 118

It also has an absurdly high cost of living. The public transit doesn't make up for that, and (not being a Londoner or UKer I'm speculating) many people who work there probably don't live near a public transit station. There's also the time cost: even if you're riding a train, sitting on it for hours and hours every day to go back and forth to work is a massive waste of your time and your life. This isn't much different from some places here in the US, such as NYC.

Comment Re:Trains (Score 1) 118

The US trains only work for shorter distances. Even going from DC to Boston is just too far: it's cheaper, and MUCH faster to go by plane (1.5 hours vs. 8 hours). So yeah, going from DC to Baltimore by train is OK (if you don't need a car on either end), or even DC to NYC, but that's about it, unless you have a lot of time. And Amtrak prices aren't cheap either.

Musk's scheme makes little sense because of the high cost of tunneling. It would make far more sense to embrace SkyTran PRT: it's cheap to build, it uses utility towers and suspends rails from it (instead of tunneling), the rails can be built alongside existing roads, using existing rights-of-way, and you're only moving people and lightweight little pod-cars, not thousands of pounds of metal.

Comment Re:The first question that comes to mind (Score 2) 208

Ah here we see the unfortunately-not-elusive "catch 22" in the wild. Assert that things aren't good enough, ask for better, and leave if you don't get it? You're a whiney complainer. Stay quiet, keep your head down, and don't rock the boat? You're coddled and expect things to be just served up without even asking. Why everyone knows, whenever anything seems not right, the correct response is to stand up and fix it yourself, by sitting down and accepting things just how they are. Right?

Comment Re:How about 18 minutes without the tunnel? (Score 1) 118

If the price is set correctly, this would permanently eliminate traffic congestion on the 405 without overcharging anyone

Because everyone going home after work would... what... exactly? Not go home after work?

Rush hour here is already 3+ hours long... so your plan is for me to finish at 5pm and then sit around at the office until 8:30pm or so to save how much in tolls exactly?? And do I come in at 5:30am to avoid rush hour starting at 6? So Now the middle class spends 15 hours a day 'at the office'? But getting paid for 8? While the executives pay $250 each way in tolls and get to and from work in 20 minutes during rush hour?

Comment Re:People like Musk need to do more homework (Score 1) 118

Oh, and then to boot, in Los Angeles and many parts of SoCal, lots of those tall nondescript buildings Elon might want to tunnel under are actually hidden oil rigs. Again, good luck with that, or even thinking about tunneling anywhere NEAR them.

I think Elon simply has no clue about this state's geology.

Comment Re:The first question that comes to mind (Score 2) 208

An important corollary is that even if it is the latter, that doesn't automatically make the less-tolerant-of-mistreatment women and minorities at fault for anything. Just because one group of people are willing to put up with something doesn't make the something okay or another group somehow in the wrong for not putting up with it; maybe the people who put up with bad things don't have the balls to stand up for themselves and wrongly let themselves be pushed over. It's an open question where the line of "too sensitive" vs "not sensitive enough" is, and not an open-and-shut case that more sensitive is bad, no matter how much people who want you to put up with their shit may tell you it is.

Consider the oft-cited fact(?) that men are tougher salary negotiators. Does that make them "less tolerant of low pay", or "more sensitive about their pay", and is that then a fault? Should we be saying "poor little babies whine for more money and won't just suck it up and accept what they're offered", instead of praising them for confidence and boldness?

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