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The Emergence of the Bus Industry

Dutch Transport Policy during the Interwar Years

Ruud Filarski

During the interwar period, the emergence of the bus industry presented many governments with a dilemma: should they intervene in the market to establish a level playing field for fair competition between the buses and rail transport, should they protect the loss-making railways or should they take a laissez-faire approach to the developments?

At first glance, promoting fair competition or, as it was called during those days, a "co-ordination policy" seems relatively simple. The government could impose conditions on the bus industry, which regulated safety, quality, services, and allocation of the infrastructure costs in a similar way as the railways. However, an analysis of the developments in The Netherlands reveals a number of obstacles that complicated policy implementation.

Therefore, this article focuses on two questions: how did bus transport develop in The Netherlands? And what obstacles made it so difficult for the Dutch government to implement fair competition?

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Road against Rail

The Debate on Transport Policy in Belgium, 1920-1940

Donald Weber

When new motorized means of transport, such as buses, vans, and lorries, captured part of the transport market in Belgium in the interwar period, the rail companies engaged in a political fight to restrict the new modes of road transport. Attempts were made to introduce fiscal and administrative measures aimed at limiting road transport. This coincided with an intense debate on transport policy, both in the press and in parliament. The article focuses on the discourse driving this debate. It is argued that the positions taken were motivated by economic issues, but that there were underlying cultural motivations, different perceptions of what transport should represent in the lives of the users and the whole of society. The focus on the so-called coordination debate is widened beyond the conflict between trains and vans in the 1930s, to include the conflict between automobiles, buses, and trams in the 1920s.

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Of Tour Buses and Politics

American Tourists in France in the Twentieth Century

Nancy L. Green

Harvey Levenstein, We’ll Always Have Paris: American Tourists in France Since 1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).

Christopher Endy, Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005).

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Gijs Mom, Georgine Clarsen, Nanny Kim, Cotten Seiler, Kurt Möser, Dorit Müller, charissa N. Terranova and Rudi Volti

In 1873 Edouard Manet finished his famous and beautiful “Railroad” painting. In it a woman in a blue travel coat, sitting on the stone base of a gate, stares us in the face, looking up from her book and gazing through us as if digesting what she just read, a little dog sleeping on her lap. Next to her a girl (her daughter?) stands with her back toward us, a big blue bow on her white Sunday dress, gripping the gate bars and looking through them at … a cloud of steam. No train in sight. They are waiting, for what, for whom? Perhaps the girl’s attention is not drawn by what she sees but by what she hears: a steam valve must be hissing loudly.

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Jo Stanley

Let us begin with the jokey new term ‘ferrosexuals’, meaning people who experience wanton fetishistic desire for trains—also more romantically labelled ‘buffer kissers’. When I was a lass too young to have heard of the Mile-high Club, ferrosexuals were called ‘train-spotters’ and their ardour was seen as innocuous, if pitiably nerdy. Does the new term mean that machines for travel are now seen as sexy, because we live in increasingly sexualised societies? Or does it mean that an underlying sexual charge in people’s interest in trains is finally being made explicit and taken seriously? We do not know. And the reason we do not know is that scholarly work—particularly historicised work—has yet to be done on sexualities’ many interfaces with transport and mobility.

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Mobile Exceptionalism?

Passenger Transport in Interwar Germany

Christopher Kopper

The development of bus transport in European countries followed distinctly different paths. Unlike in the liberal economic regimes of the U.K. and the Netherlands, the German transport policy in the interwar years was characterized by a high degree of state intervention, of regulation and restrictions on inter-modal competition. The main purpose of the regulatory regime in Germany was to ensure the profitability of the national railroad, whereas the interests of passengers ranked second. Concessions for private inter-urban bus services were severely restricted by the political priorities for the railroad and the bus lines of the Postal Service.

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The Missing and the Met

Routing Clifford amongst the Yakha in Nepal and NE India

Andrew Russell

Imagine yourself on a bus in a small eastern Nepalese hill town, about to set off as a migrant to the lowland Tarai or somewhere in NE India. There is noise and bustle, from the people who have struggled to get on the bus and secure space for themselves and their families, and from the driver who honks the horn and revs the accelerator pedal, eager to depart. You are squashed into a space with your knees bent up against the seat in front. The vibrations from the engine permeate the whole bus, and you reflect on the six hours that lie ahead until you reach your destination. A final passenger is pushed aboard and, to shouts from the fare collector, gears grinding, you are off. Just at this pinnacle of journeying, when you feel your senses could not be more fully loaded with stimuli, your emotions full of departure, the driver puts in a cassette and turns it on full volume.

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Andrey Vozyanov

Mobility requires waiting, especially in intermodal transportation systems. People must wait in airports, stations, and vehicles; at bus stops; in queues at registration desks and luggage checks; at boarding; and elsewhere. Waiting is part of the public transportation routine. As Ohmori and Harata report, an average commute time for train commuters in Tokyo is sixty-nine minutes.

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Race and the Micropolitics of Mobility

Mobile Autoethnography on a South African Bus Service

Bradley Rink

Th is article takes an autoethnographic approach in exploring the micropolitics of mobility with particular reference to race, class, and identity on one South African bus service. For his daily commute between an inner-city Cape Town suburb and a worksite near the metropolitan edge, the author explores personal, embodied, and political dimensions of mobility in a context where race continues to dictate the expected parameters of mobility practice. When socioeconomics might allow for private car ownership and use (and when timegeographies almost require it), the autoethnography at the heart of this article requires the author to question the politics of choosing not to drive; to be a public transport passeng er when one is expected to be a driver. In spite of the author’s intentional status in the member group of bus passengers, experience of six months of everyday bus use sheds light on hidden dimensions of mobility inequality. It contributes toward filling a gap in empirical evidence on contemporary bus passengering and the continuing role of race in contexts of visibly differentiated and differentiating everyday mobility.

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Ceasing Fire and Seizing Time

LA Gang Tours and the White Control of Mobility

Sarah Sharma and Armonds R. Towns

LA Gang Tours went on its inaugural ride through Los Angeles in 2010. Black and Latino former gang members from South Los Angeles lead the bus tours, sharing personal stories of gang life with mostly white tourists. A popular critique of the tour is that it facilitates a tourist gaze. However, we argue that to focus on the tourist gaze misses a more pressing opportunity to examine the production of whiteness. We shift the focus to consider the bus’s movement and the power it exerts in transforming the spatial and temporal dynamics of South Los Angeles. Based on participant observation, ethnographic interviews, and discourse analysis of materials surrounding the tours, we found that the tour lays the figurative foundations for gentrifi cation and reconfi rms a white control of mobility in the neighborhood. Th is white control of mobility extends beyond Los Angeles to impact the lives of people of color throughout the United States.