Job market trends to be aware of


The future of America is driverless

In his final months on the job, US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has been vocal about the pressing need to repair America’s broken infrastructure, and all the ways in which technology will fundamentally change the way we move. With 55,000 employees and a budget of over $70 billion, the Department of Transportation is a massive enterprise responsible for regulating American air, maritime, and surface transportation spaces. But the organization’s directives can have far-reaching implications: the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 established the modern freeway system, which divided communities but also redefined how Americans traveled long distances. In September 2016, the DoT released a landmark autonomous vehicles policy that will speed up the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles: self-driving cars, the report asserted, will save lives and make transportation both more efficient and accessible. The policy sets forth rules for manufacturing and sales of autonomous vehicles, requires companies to share research data with federal regulators, and promotes protection for passenger privacy. Foxx’s vision for US transportation also includes high-speed rail, GPS tracking systems for airplanes, and drones that will replace trucks to deliver goods to your doorstep.

Read full report

Oilsands workers worry driverless trucks will haul away their jobs

At the Suncor oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, drivers and heavy equipment operators nervously watch as massive trucks rumble by with no one behind the wheel.

With each passing truck, workers can imagine their jobs slipping away.

“Trucks don’t get pensions, they don’t take vacations, it’s purely dollars and cents,” said Ken Smith, president UNIFOR 707A in Fort McMurray.

Canada’s largest private-sector union, UNIFOR represents 3,400 employees at Suncor and considers the emergence of the automated haulage system, or AHS, a greater threat than any economic downturn in the oilpatch.

The use of driverless trucks is part of a year-long pilot project by Suncor.

Each autonomous truck represents an estimated loss of five jobs, said Smith, who predicts the technology being tested today will put 1,000 workers, some 30 per cent of the workforce, on the unemployment line. And that’s just at the main Suncor mine. There are several other massive mines in the region.

The AHS trucks are being used in an isolated section of the Suncor mine site.

Suncor has contracted the trucks and technology from Komatsu, a Japanese company that is a world leader in AHS. According to information on its website, Komatsu specializes in construction and mining equipment, and first introduced a commercial AHS in 2008.

What happens to construction jobs when robots start building

By 2034/35, almost 20% of Australians (6.2 million) are projected to be aged 65 or over.

One sector already feeling the impact of the ageing population is construction.

In Queensland, the number of construction workers aged 55 and over increased from 8% of full-time workers in 1992 to 14.2% in 2014.

An ageing workforce is likely to increase the need for less physically demanding jobs or maybe technology might address this issue.

Task automation and the industry’s innovation culture are two of the greatest areas of uncertainty for the construction industry.

A new study that developed evidence based scenarios for 2036, depicts how automation and manufacturing could grow in the construction sector, creating more knowledge intensive jobs as a result.

The study explores future technology that eliminates dangerous and difficult tasks, particularly in light of the ageing workforce.

Experts in the industry were asked the extent to which technology would progress and how many or which tasks could be automated.

There was no consensus on this and the other point of contention between the interviewees was how bold the industry would be in its pursuit of new solutions.

The research did suggest the construction workforce will need a broad understanding of digital applications, in addition to traditional project management and communication skills.


The trends analysis and scenario development in the report produced some examples of possible construction industry jobs in the year 2036, including:

Building assembly technician: Someone who oversees robotic systems and examines data feeds throughout the life of a project.

This worker would optimise workflows and make adjustments on real time feedback from clients about design or changes to materials.

Virtual/augmented reality trainers: Breakthroughs in virtual and augmented reality technology could provide low-cost immersive environments where apprentices and trainers can meet virtually in any training situation, such as worksite, factory, design studio – the possibilities are endless.

Building drone operators: These professionals would control and program drones to carry out complex tasks such as site inspections, deliveries and maintenance.

Robot resource manager: Robots in the workplace will need someone to take care of commissioning, software programming, maintenance and re-purposing or recycling of robotic parts.

Keeping track of this exploding field of technology will be a key challenge for the role.

The Virtues of Collecting Transportation Tokens and Commemorative Coins

The Oldest Subway System in the U.S.

Collecting Transportation (Transit) Tokens and Commemorative Coins is a fun hobby. There are so many types that scan many states, countries and events.

These are examples of a few which you may find interesting.

Boston, Massachusetts can proudly boast to having the first subway system in the U.S., since 1837.

The brass tokens were used from 1951-2007 when they were phased out and replaced with a fare card (Charlie card).

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) issued the bronze transit token shown in the photos.

Truck Driver Jobs Increase Across America – Over 900,000 Openings

Increasing Need for Freight Tranportation

Looking at employment trends and job openings every day, I have noticed an increase in driving jobs posted, especially since 2012. Many of these positions are for CDL licensed truck drivers and owner-operators of large trucks.

This increase in jobs indicates an increase in goods production and transport in the United States.

This expansion includes more goods like agricultural products and livestock, scrap metal, trash (like Rumpke and the mountain it decorates at Christmas), oil and water shipments in the Oil & Gas Industry, computer parts, auto parts (very big in Ohio), and numerous other items. Trucking routes cover all parts of the United States in all terrain, even along the winter ice roads in the far northwestern states that extend into Canada.
Largest Trucking Companies in America

1 UPS Inc.: Ranked Number One since at least 2012
2 FedEx Corp.
3 XPO Logistics
4 J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.
5 YRC Worldwide
6 Swift Transportation
7 Schneider
8 Hub Group
9 Landstar System
10 TransForce Inc.
11 Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.
12 ArcBest Corp.
13 Ryder Supply Chain Solutions
14 Estes Express Lines
15 Werner Enterprises Inc.
16 Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc.
17 UniGroup Inc.
18 Prime Inc.
19 U.S. Xpress Enterprises
20 Sirva Inc.

Source: Transport Topics/TTNews, October 2016.
Truck and Semi Trailers
Truck and Semi Trailers
Goods That Need More Trucks: Aerospace and Oil Products

Aerospace and aeronautical parts, including rocketry, are also transported in increasing numbers from states that include California, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, and Eastern Seaboard States. These parts, along with entire aircraft, are also going to our partner nations in projects important to space exploration and national defense.

For instance, NASA selected space taxi manufacturers in 2014 as well as a new craft to replace the US Space Shuttle in the Orion vehicle that can carry five to seven people. At the same time, the US partnered with Japan to create a mutual air force with which to patrol near-earth and interstellar skies.

NASA also partners with the Canadian space agency and the best human example of that is Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s career. America’s private and public space programs are working with other countries and have been doing so for many years. This creates a lot of parts to be shipped by truck and by aircraft.
Tank Truck or Tanker
Tank Truck or Tanker

Considering the blockades on certain oil pipeline construction in the USA, the Trucking Industry will likely continue to increase with the expanding need to transport oil and oil-containing tar sands from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, namely Galveston and other port cities that process petroleum.

Alberta tar sands need toxic, corrosive chemicals to make the material flow through metal pipelines, endangering the water supply of the lands it passes through when the pipes deteriorate, which is a certainty. Cleaning and replacing tanker truck tanks is less labor intensive and time consuming than is repairing the transport pipelines. Trucks are already in use to transport oil and increasing the number of trucks and hauls is not as difficult as building a new pipeline and then repairing it often.

The local-goods use movement (locavore) in food products has not diminished the need for transportation of goods overall in our country, because the transport of other goods has increased.
American Truck Stops is the number 1 website to search for truck stops and truck stop services and amenities.

Hauling a Wind Turbine Blade
Hauling a Wind Turbine Blade
Advertised Truck Driving Jobs

As of January 2015 over 943,000 job openings for truck drivers were posted across the United States. By 2025, this number may reach the low seven figures.

Major Hiring Companies:

Swift Transportation Co.
Swift Transportation (another division)
US Xpress
CRST Malone
Knight Refrigerated Trucking
Melton Truck Lines, Inc.
Swift Transportation (third division)
CRST Specialized Transportation
USA Truck
Roehl Transport
Western Express

Most of the job listings I am seeing begin at $50,000 annually, even for first-year drivers.

Florida Schools’ Mckay Scholarship Program Offers Alternative School Choices To Students With Disabilities

The McKay Scholarship Program of the Florida schools offers parents and their children with disabilities the option to attend the public or private school of their choice. Florida schools students in grades kindergarten through high school, who are mentally handicapped, speech and language impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, visually impaired, dual sensory impaired, physically impaired, emotionally handicapped, specific learning disabled, hospitalized or homebound, or autistic may be eligible for this program. This allows parents who are dissatisfied with the educational progress of their children with disabilities to request their children be enrolled in and attend schools that better suit the needs of the students.

To be eligible, the Florida schools student must meet the following requirements:

• Has one of the above mentioned disabilities;
• Has attended a Florida public school in the previous year (this requirement is waived for students transferring into the state with a parent of the Armed Forces, who has moved due to change of station orders); and
• Has an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

According to the Florida schools, the average value of a McKay scholarship is $6,114 annually. Parents and their children may take advantage of this Florida schools program from kindergarten through high school. There is no time use limit on the scholarship.

Transportation for the Florida schools student varies, depending upon the selected school. The school district provides transportation if the child transfers to another school within the same district of his or her prior year and is consistent with the district’s school choice plan. Parents are responsible for providing transportation and its cost, when:

• The chosen public school is not consistent with the district’s school choice plan, even though it is within the same district;
• The chosen public school is within an adjacent district and offers the student’s IEP services; or
• The chosen school is a private school.

The Florida schools’ McKay Scholarship Program is funded, using the per student expenditure amount for each individual child (including the costs to accommodate the disability) OR the cost of tuition and fees for the private school — whichever is less. The program requires no additional state funding by the Florida schools

There are currently 703 private schools participating in the Florida schools scholarship program, though not all private schools are eligible or wish to participate.

Auction Export Online Of Us Cars

If you always dreamed about having a US made car but never really got around buying one because of the various hassles of buying a foreign car, then here is a chance of a lifetime to get what you want! Yes at Auction Export you can now get a car from US, in the fastest, most reliable and the most convenient possible way! To know how, read ahead…

First you need to register yourself at the website and deposit small amount of money. The amount is totally nominal, and is just needed to ensure the company that you really are a serious buyer and would not make any false bids, etc.

Once done with the registration, you are free to check out the various cars on the list. These cars vary from a vast range of clean cars to salvage cars to brand new cars. The price, apart from depending on these obvious factors, also depends on the bid value in the market. In other words, just like in any auction procedure- the more the demand for a particular vehicle is, the more its value, and vice versa.

Here you can chose from a vast range of Chevrolets, Volvos, Alfa Romeos, to Acura cars, Hondas, Aston Martins, etc. For all those of you, who like their cars to be specially designed and modified to stand out from the rest of the crowd, a very good option is to purchase one of the personally stylized salvage cars that need only a bit of servicing to start functioning normally again. Besides, the salvage cars also happen to be the cheapest of the lot, with prices often as low as $800-$1000!

After you have picked up what you like, you can make your bid. A good practice is to keep a close vigil on the activities of the other bidders, who may bid higher than you to get the car. In case you do not think you would be able to keep a track, just bid at a value that nobody can challenge. This however can only be a subjective opinion, which implies that just before the bid closes, you will have to throw a glance at least once again.

After making your purchase, you will need to pay the price of the car, the cost of the paperwork and the shipping charges. The shipping rates are minimal and vary from country to country, of course depending on the distance to be covered. To know about these costs, check the website.

Once all the money matters are done and over with you are ready to receive your shipment. The good news is that the company takes care of your shipping needs so all you need to do is sit back at your home and wait eagerly for the vehicle of your dreams to arrive. While the time taken for transportation varies, it usually is received in less than 4 week for most of the countries.

So what are you waiting for? Make the most of online shopping and get a car that you can flaunt in style!

Dot: Biohazard Regulations

The United States Department of Transportation oversees the transportation of hazardous materials under the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1975. According to the HMTA, a hazardous material is defined as “any substance or material that can burn, explode, react violently or cause injury or harm to people, property or the environment during transport.” Biohazard material or biological agents, substance or materials that can cause injury to animals, humans or the environment is covered under the HMTA. The U.S. DOT has specific requirements for the transportation of these materials.

Employee Training

Before handling or transporting a biohazard material, an employee must attend and complete a DOT-approved minimum 8-hour training course that covers aspects of HAZMAT such as identification, labeling, packaging and placard requirements. The employee must pass a test on the subjects covered to satisfy this requirement.

Transport Hazard Communication Markings

Hazard communication refers to labeling specific types of hazardous materials with a placard on the side and rear of the transport vehicle. The placard requirements differ depending on the type of hazardous material as specified by the Hazardous Materials Table in the HMTA. Biohazard materials are covered under Class 6 and 7 of the Hazardous Materials Table, poisons and etiologic materials are covered under Class 6, and radioactive materials are covered under Class 7.


Biohazard materials must be transported within a leak-proof, sealed and puncture-resistant tank or container. In addition to the required Transport Hazard Communication markings, containers being transported must have hazard documentation at all times, including relevant information concerning the contents such as the accumulation date, the specific hazardous properties of the material being transported, the name and address of the company or laboratory to where the material is being transported and where it is coming from and the composition (whether the material is solid or liquid).

Transportation Services and Modes of Transport

In human evolution, the earliest means of transport were walking, running and swimming. Before the Industrial Revolution and modernization, water transport was the most efficient method of transporting large quantities of goods over long distances though it was very slow and expensive. The importance of water transport led to the growth of cities along rivers and sea-shores where boats, canoes and ships could dock.

The domestication of animals and the invention of the sled gave way to early animal transport services. Horses and oxen were used from as early as 3000 BC to transport goods and humans and traveled over dirt tracks. Later civilizations such as the Mesopotamian and the Indus Valley built paved roads for easier transport.

The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century turned transportation on its head. It was the age of many inventions that fundamentally changed the concept of transport. Communication, telegraphy, the steam engine and the steam ship sped global transport in all directions. Land transport became possible over large distances without the application of animal or human muscles. The Wright brothers’ successful experiments with aircraft paved the way for airplanes and air transport became a faster way to transport goods and people in shorter time-frames to further destinations.

Modes of transport

A ‘mode of transport’ is a method or solution that uses a particular type of infrastructure, operation and vehicle to transport people and cargo. A mode can be used by itself or in conjunction with several other modes; in this case it is referred to ‘intermodal’ or ‘multimodal’ transport. Each is distinct from the other and is used based on choice of factors like cost of transport, route taken, capability and so on.

1. Human-powered – this is the most common in developing and under-developed countries because of several factors like savings on cost, accessibility of location, physical exercise and environmental reasons. Human-powered transport is a sustainable form of transport and has recently been enhanced by the use of machinery and modern technology – e.g. cycling, skating, rowing, skiing which are extremely useful in difficult environments.

2. Animal-powered – whether ridden by humans or used as pack animals for movement of people and commodities, animals can work alone or in teams – e.g. mules, horse-carts, dog-sleds etc.

3. Air – airplanes and aircraft have reduced travel times considerably and is the fastest mode of passenger and goods transport. High costs and high energy use are the downsides of air transport; however, it is estimated that over 500,000 people travel in aero-planes at any given time.

4. Rail – Railroads and rail tracks run the length and breadth of every country in the world ferrying people and goods from place to place. Although they involve the use of large amounts of surface land, rail networks provide easy connectivity options within cities, within countries and between different countries as a mode of public transport- e.g. New York City Subway, London Metro, Eurotunnel or the Chunnel between England and France and the Euro Rail.

5. Road – road networks pass through cities, towns and villages and provide better connectivity options in addition to city rail networks and are ideal for public transport also. Road transport is entirely different from other modes as it allows a vehicle user to have complete freedom over speed, direction, timings of travel and change of location that other transport methods cannot provide. They require large surface areas, use high energy and are quite expensive.

6. Water – water transport includes barges, boats, sailboats and ships through canals, rivers and seas. The earliest boats and ships were routed through inland canals for transporting people and spices. Today large passenger and cargo ships provide an organized and efficient transportation method. Although the time involved is long, water transportation is significantly less expensive than air or road.

Article Source:

Devising An Efficient Public-Transport System In South Africa

The background for this article was derived from a speech made by Wrenelle Stander (Director General: Department of Transport) to public-transport role players and stakeholders, in 2004. Subsidies, Ms Stander said, “must be viewed within the context of passenger transport funding rather than as an isolated service for poor people. Both needs and funding must be weighed against what is possible”. She conceded that making eventual choices, on this basis, might not be easy.

The status quo

Currently, minibus taxis are the dominant mode of public transport, serving 64% of the 3.8 million workers using public transport. There are, in fact, roughly 9.8 million workers who travel regularly. We can deduce, from these figures, that 6 million workers provide their own transport.

Minibus taxis currently receive no subsidies. Train services are subsidised and are used mainly in metropolitan areas, to serve roughly 24% of public-transport commuters. Subsidised bus transport services 42.5% of the public-transport commuters in rural areas.

74% of the country’s households have no private transport available to them. In rural areas, 62% of the households believe that public transport is either not available, or is
too far away for convenience. Of metropolitan households, 46% are dissatisfied with its proximity.

Public perceptions, though, may not accurately reflect true need and more detail is necessary to providing practical input. The minibus taxi industry, to a large extent, has fulfilled the needs dictated until now, and no vehicle of any sort profits by running half empty. If not even a taxi service exists there may be insufficient call for frequent public transport. A less regular, but committed service, may suit the situation.

Poor service options

Public-transport users are otherwise dissatisfied with the options they have. 48% who use taxis are unhappy with the overall service, as are 42% of the train users and 31% of those who travel by bus.
Train dissatisfaction has been voiced, as follows:
· overcrowding, 71%;
· lack of security between home and the stations, 64%;
· lack of security on the trains, 62%, and
· unsatisfactory toilet facilities, lack of punctuality, lack of off-peak frequency and the long distances that commuters must walk between their homes and the stations (over 50%).

Dissatisfaction with bus services were categorised thus:
· a lack of facilities at bus stops (74%);
· passenger overcrowding, 54%, and
· off-peak lack of frequency, 50%.

More than 50% of taxi users were unhappy about high fares, passenger overcrowding and driver behaviour. Other concerns noted were:
· the lack of facilities at taxi ranks, 64%;
· the poor roadworthiness of taxis (59%), and
· the imminent danger of accidents (67%).

No complaints by own-transport users were included, though Minister Trevor Manuel recently made no secret of the fact that traffic congestion was seriously impacting on his ability to get to work at a reasonable hour.

Exercising restraint

Ms Stander made the point that the majority of South Africans do not have regular access to either private or public transport. She used the example of scholars to clarify this:
· scholars number 15.7 million, which means that there are over 60% more travelling regularly to educational facilities than the 9.8 million workers who also travel regularly;
· 12 million (76%) of these walk to school. 75% of these can make the two-way journey, on foot, within one-and-a-half hours, but roughly 550 000 children spend over two hours a day walking;
· 9% of school children use taxis to get to school; another 9% travel in cars, and
· 73% of white children travel to school by car, while only 3% of black children do.

While the intention, here, may have been to infer that white school children have superior facilities at their disposal, the point should, in fairness, be made that, quoting a figure for car usage but none for rail, buses and walking for white children, is misleading. Also, without taking into consideration why children use particular transport modes, a true picture does not emerge.

How far is too far to walk? No one enjoys a long walk with heavy shopping or other parcels, but door-to-door vehicular transportation may cost this nation its health. A half-hour walk, twice a day, for adults, is considered advisable and children should exercise for no less than that – two hour’s of low-impact exercise is not extreme.

During November 2004, news headlines bewailed the fact that in schools where PT and sports are not actively promoted, children are not exercising enough. Walking a reasonable distance is a healthy alternative. It is more important to ensure that those children, who walk long distances, have food in their tummies. The provision of school meals, might offer better options. The pitfall here is to avoid abetting corrupt practices, which may make dealing directly with manufacturers a better option.

Where distances take in excess of forty-five minutes (one-way) to walk, scholars would be better peddling to school than using motorised transport. The manufacture of an initial 550 000 bicycles would provide much-needed jobs, but the recipients would then need income for repairs and maintenance and might need to form cottage industries making postal and grocery deliveries in their areas, to this end.

Safety first

Would scholars be safe riding alone? If not, surely safety is the main reason that people require better public transport? Whether people live rurally or in urban situations; in townships, informal settlements or up-market suburbs; whether they walk during the day or at night, they risk the loss of possessions or their lives.

My teenage, rugby-mad son avoids walking routes and distances, in Durban, that I regularly tackled twice a day in my youth. His need to be fit is more than mine ever was. The difference? Where once it was safe to walk, it is no longer safe even to drive a car, let alone walk. When he was younger and at school in Gauteng, children were not allowed to ride to school on bikes, because too many had been hi-jacked.

Suburban, working parents with cars are more able to choose between schools than rural parents. They easily drop their children off en route to work, without significant detours. Cars that enter the city limits with only one occupant may have left home with up to five – school runs and car clubs have become part of middle-class culture and some families still boast two parents, who may work some distance apart.

But “single occupant cars” are considered “inefficient road users during peak times” whereas those who share vehicles, walk, ‘cycle or use public transport are considered more socially deserving. I don’t quibble with that, but the logic used to come to this conclusion may be incomplete and deserves, I suspect, more consideration.

Few of the 73% of white children transported by car are picked up directly after school. Many join extracurricular activities or childcare groups until their parents’ working day allows them to collect their children on their way home. For many white children, the school day runs from 6:30 until 18:30. Safety is again pertinent; few families still afford full-time assistance and children, returning to empty homes, are vulnerable.

Financial limitations
Preliminary results from the National Household Travel Survey, Ms Stander continued, indicate that: “low household incomes, even in the richer provinces, constrain the affordability of public transport services”.
· Users who do not travel daily, may need to be able to move about in search of work and to shop;
· 5.8 million households (nearly 47%, of which 3.1 million are rurally situated) run on less than R1 000 per month. Financial resources are obviously strained in these circumstances, and
· a further 2.85 million households manage on R500, or less, per month and half of these spend more than R100 of their earnings on public transport.

There are, it seems, 10.7 million workers in the country. 9.8 million workers travel to work regularly, so it must be presumed that 0.9 million workers work out of their homes, live on employer property or work on a contractual basis for short periods.

Of the 9.8 million regular travelers, 32% (roughly one-third) use cars, 39% use public transport and 23% walk. Worker transport, Ms Stander maintained, is then characterised by a mixture of “car dependency, public-transport captivity and walking dependency”. Her choice of words is interesting.

The curse of congestion

A specific problem that faces the viability of future transport systems is growing urban congestion. The number of vehicles that enters cities during working hours must be reduced – funding must be channeled into “public transport and non-motorised transport initiatives”.

Facts that appear to be entirely relevant (and thought-provoking) include:
· the increase of rural to urban migration, over the last ten years, has put undue pressure on suburban, peri-urban and inner-city facilities;
· city populations and industry have decentralised and spread, which makes the provision of efficient public transport a far more complicated issue than it was thirty years ago;
· middle-income families have had to come to terms with high levels of suburban congestion;
· income earners of all levels have had to deal with these issues independently, and
· these trends have undermined the efficiency of cities.

74% of South African households did not have access to a car in 2003 but it is difficult to agree with Ms Stander that the transport needs of middle class, urban, car-owning households were provided for, previously, and still are. Had middle-class, urban needs been adequately addressed, surely those households would never have felt the need to own a car, let alone, in some cases, become two-car families.

The middle classes very often financed their own needs in the past. There was no ultra-cheap housing available in white areas and the authorities would have made short work of tearing down shacks erected on private property – building regulations had to be adhered to. Housing subsidies did not exist, except for parliamentarians who commuted to Cape Town annually and programmes to benefit public servants.

High numbers of inner city and suburban flats were necessary for people who paid far higher rentals than those who lived in townships and subsequently could afford neither their own homes, nor transport. They lived close to schools and their jobs. Only once they could finance private transport, could they, in turn, look for better-paying jobs any distance from home.

Up-grades in living conditions usually resulted once breadwinners had vastly improved their working circumstances. It was not usual, until the ’90s, for young married couples or single people to own property. As a woman, I was granted my first bond by a bank, at the age of 38, despite the fact that I had kept two jobs for most of my adult life and was considered financially stable.

I am not, in any way, trying to suggest that white people did not live considerably easier lives than others. It is though, a fact, that the middle-class suburban areas that ‘mushroomed’, incorporate various facilities that were intended to enable people with various levels of income, to co-exist. The discipline that most facilitated this state of affairs was urban planning.

I totally agree that Apartheid policies brought about inequalities and settlement patterns for which the majority of the population still pays a social price. As Ms Stander stressed, long-distance commuting, for low-income workers, has left a legacy of spatial dislocation:
· poor people travel long distances at high cost;
· their needs have not yet been met;
· many walk in unsafe and unpleasant conditions;
· our high pedestrian death toll must be addressed, and
· a preference to locate to informal housing that is closer to schools and amenities (to reduce long-distance travel) exacerbates already untenable situations.

That Transport expects to turn all these conditions around seems to put illogical strain on the Transport systems. Lack of urban planning is as much responsible and should contribute to the effort by situating industrial and manufacturing opportunities close to low-cost housing estates. Schools and amenities would then also need to be conveniently placed, nearby.

Subsidising the needs

Bearing the legacies of Apartheid in mind, government plans must take into consideration that:
· transport infrastructure implementation should complement existing infrastructure, and use flexible and incremental technologies;
· public-transport subsidies must serve as social investments in support of economic development;
· limited funding is available to reinvest in public transport systems that promise higher costs for people who can little afford them;
· Given the rural and urban needs of a growing economy, reinvestment and the expansion of public transport systems must ensure more efficient and productive settlements, such as safe, off-peak and after-hours public transport to cater for shift workers, working students, scholars, etc., and
· the challenge is to expand social investment to benefit economic development.

During the 2004/05 financial year, subsidies amounted to roughly R4.5-billion. Road-based (mainly bus) subsidies equalled R2.1-billion and commuter rail (addressing the needs of roughly two million, mostly urban, workers with incomes around R2 000 per month) received R2.4-billion. Both must still be considered potential beneficiaries.

Controlling car use in metropolitan areas, promoting public transport in all areas and catering for the safety and infrastructure needs of the 2.26-million workers and the 12-million scholars who walk (half in rural areas) remain important to Transport’s brief.

Any proposals, Ms Stander, explained, will need to take into consideration: that public transport subsidies should enhance the access and mobility needs of all people, where commercial fares for the provision of essential services are unaffordable to its passengers; benefits awarded will need to justify the subsidy costs incurred, and that market failures would result in service providers being unable to provide essential services in a viable manner.

Groundwork approach

How much pertinent information and research was omitted from Ms Stander’s speech, is impossible to estimate, but some situations would have benefited from clarification. It is hoped that proposals will not be accepted before they are explored and discussed at more length and in conjunction with all the others received.

Taxi re-capitalisation will now exchange owners’ vehicles for R50 000. With this subsidy, owners are free to invest in the vehicle of their choice, as long as it follows the legislated, safer specifications. They may also use the money for any other purpose they choose. In sizeable organisations, owners may prefer to develop a different line of business or retire on the proceeds.

When this does happen, it should be noted that those payments will not have subsidised the taxi industry, only the scrap-metal industry. Until the process has been completed, we will have no idea how many of the new taxis will become available to fulfil the country’s needs and how many taxi drivers will still have jobs. This state of limbo may seriously impinge on other decisions.

Worker obligations

Many workers are also obliged to have their cars with them during the working day because their vehicles are part of their gross salary package, used to drive to meetings or make deliveries at the behest of the employer. The public-service subsidized car scheme illustrates: the number of subsidized cars multiplied by four between 1999 and 2002. Officials are expected to use these cars to employer advantage.

Can the government afford to ask its officials to leave their subsidized vehicles at home on a regular basis and can it justify the cost increases over the same period: from R81-million in the 1999-2000 financial year, to R213-million in 2001-02? This increased spend infers the delegation of subsidies to an elite few and possibly causes more disruption in Tshwane (Pretoria) than the taxis that have lately been given specific routes to follow in that city. Other provincial capitals must also be affected, to a lesser degree.

Were the Department to investigate the figures for people who claim their vehicle expenses for business purposes from the South African Revenue Services, it would have a good idea of how many cars must use the city road networks daily and the number of vehicles that must be accommodated daily within proximity of their jobs.

Safe bets

If safe parking facilities could be made available at safe railway stations and safe public-transport ranks, many would consider the options as long as both train- and bus-transport were also safe, affordable and their vehicles were not necessary to their jobs. At the other end of their trip, workers would need to know that they could walk safely from drop-off points to their offices (and back) with brief cases, lap-top computers and other working equipment, even after dark.

Until this is so, punishing car users without improving safety conditions, is a ‘cop-out’. For this reason, Ms Stander’s wording “car dependency, public-transport captivity and walking dependency” might read more honestly: ‘car, public-transport and walking captivity’.

In essence, those who use their own cars are saving the country a fortune in public transport costs; those who use public transport deserve safe and affordable options and those who do walk, should have better conditions in which to do it. All these reflect, to varying degrees, on crime prevention and are not wholly Transport concerns.

None of which offers any solution to the problem of inner-city congestion, but does appeal for a less punitive approach. Our public-transport systems will not be considered efficient until they encourage those who do own cars, to leave them at home. Commuters cannot make this call; it rests, instead, on the ingenuity of Transport, the tax system, urban planning and law-enforcement. It also calls for consultation and co-operation on a far greater level than has yet been implemented.

Non-motorised initiatives

Using Durban as an example: vehicles cannot feed from the inner southern suburbs to the northern ones, without going through the city. Commuters needing to travel to the other side are forced into city congestion, with no options – the M4 stops as one enters on one side and begins again on the other. Providing a viable option to avoid the city would greatly reduce congestion, but would also prove costly; definitely a non-motorised transport initiative, though.

Provision of creatively situated, decentralised taxi ranks and bus termini might also reduce congestion to an enormous extent. Train journeys into the city do not offer a destination close to either shopping, office or beach facilities and secondary public transport becomes necessary.

Bus, rail and taxi services should, perhaps, not duplicate each other, but rather run more efficiently over shorter distances. For instance, if bus services could be initiated on Johannesburg’s ring road, taxis could ferry workers throughout the suburbs – from and to every off- and on-ramp, where bus stops could be situated. Taxi services continually circling on feeder roads next to freeways and across bridges some distance apart, could reduce the need for pedestrians to run across busy traffic lanes.

In many cases, though, the necessary feeder roads still need to be built and, ten years into democracy, the past can no longer take all the blame. When an electricity sub-station in the western suburbs of Johannesburg recently caught alight and left suburbs without electricity for four days, blaming those who laid the original lines sixty years ago, was not constructive.

Sixty years ago, who could have guessed what progress and expansion would occur and how many homes, shops and industries those electricity facilities, would be expected to service? It seems clear that each municipality will need an individual plan to service its immediate industrial, business and shopping areas.

Transport subsidies also cannot be expected to improve the lifestyles of those who live below the breadline, in any noticeable manner. What those people most need, are jobs and increased incomes. Let us deal with the realities, to the very best of our ability.

Article Source:

Feasibility Of Hiring Cheap Rental Cars In Usa

Whether you are traveling for business purpose or pleasure holiday, there can be a plethora of reason for renting a car when you will reach your destination in a foreign land. There are a number of substitutes available for the car rental industry in a big and advanced country like USA. There may be cabs or public transportation and flights as the substitute of car rentals in USA. But all of these alternatives do have some disadvantages.

From a technological point, taking a cab is a feasible option in USA, which can be equally satisfactory substitute when it comes to quality and switching cost. But these cabs have a general problem that they may not be as attractively priced as a rental car when you will need them for the whole day or more. Another attractive alternative to car hire is public transportation, which is considered as the most cost efficient of all the alternatives. But this can be more costly sometimes, in terms of the process and time, it takes to reach you to your destination. If you speed is your whole concern, then you can consider flying. Flying offers speed as well as performance. But flying too can be an unattractive alternative when it comes to the price, which is much higher than car hire. Considering all these alternatives, it can be said that car hire in USA is the most convenient option, compared to cabs, public transports and flights and other alternatives as well.

With a hired car, you will have enough freedom to move around according to your pleasure. The public transportation will take you to major tourist attractions and if you wish, to the centers of large cities, but relying only on trains and buses can be a time-consuming affair. After all, you will be forced to travel according to the carriers’ schedules, rather than having the freedom to come and go as you please. In addition to that you can get the desired luxury, satisfaction in terms of services and car accessories, which you might miss in the cabs and public transports like and trains and buses. And above all, there is affordability which speaks and pleads for car hires USA the most.

While along with all the advantages of using a car hire USA while you are traveling in the foreign land, the one sticking point should be whether you will be able to find a cheap car rental. The most convenient option to search the best deal is online. There are a number of car supplier companies such as Avis, Alamo, Budget, Thrifty, Easycar, Economy, Sixt, and Hertz, which offer the best of their services in USA car rentals services at many places in the country. Besides that, the tourists can select from a wide range of cars form the gallery from luxury cars such as mini Ford Ka, the compact Ford fiesta, the premium Toyota Avensis, a seven seater family car, Mercedes C class, to convertibles, like vans and 4×4’s according to their budget. In addition to this, if you need some extra car accessories, you will be provided along with the car

Plane Tickets Sale In Usa

We”re truly in the age of getting plane tickets sale. In today”s world most of the people love to travel by airlines rather than any other modes of transportation. Our world has many wonderful and exotic places to visit; each and every country makes an ideal destination place to see. Travel lovers specially from USA has an unique habit to explore the world in order to gather information about the country”s cultural and heritage importance or to experience the wonderful landscape of various countries or simply spent few days off at an wonderful location just with family away from. Today flying is not a concern to worry about, but knowing information about the secrets for finding plane tickets sale in USA is the norm of the day. One should know the various ways of smart traveling with the plane tickets sale and pay very less amount on hotel rent, foods, shopping and traveling in and around the place.

The cheapest seats sell out fast. On the day that a seat sale is announced, get online immediately to have the best chance of getting the lowest price. If you”re aware of your flying dates for your desired holiday destinations better purchase your airline seat tickets at least 14 to 21 days prior to your flying date. Advance booking can benefit travelers by saving a heap amount. For finding plane tickets for sale one need to sit everyday for at least few minutes exploring the Internet prior to their desired destination date. Browsing for online information about really cheap airline tickets requires lot of research work. You can choose to book a plane tickets sale in USA through an online travel services company that specializes in promoting cheap plane tickets on sale.

Aviation market offers their travelers with their last minute opening seats and tries to sell airline tickets at really cheap rates. The furthermost secret for finding the flight tickets on sale is to take a trip on very short notice period. As soon as the date of flying comes nearer, the airlines begin to drop their airfares on all of their flights and you can make utilize of such deals. Quick and easy selection of air flight tickets booking, easy air flight ticket payments and comfortable traveling is what a traveler should keep in mind while searching for better and comfortable holiday. With so many websites on travel companies offering plane tickets sale in USA, travelers find no need to spend an hours on searching their flight deal. Several online sites track the ongoing sale for the plane tickets and interact with the airlines to gather information about the cheap airfare deals for a seat on a particular air flight.

Internet is fully updated with new and cheap deals, so spend some time exploring and comparing various airfares. Most of the airlines come up with such special deals and sales offer during off-season depending on the destination. Taking a trip in the shoulder season, the period of travel between low and high seasons, offers some serious advantages to holidaymakers with an eye on their wallet but who still want to enjoy the best a destination has to offer. It”s wise to find out about the ins and outs of low seasons. Apart from cheap flight deals, visitors will enjoy cheaper deals on all sorts of things, including hotels due to off-peak season.