Thursday, 16 October 2008

Public transport

At the moment they work out fares for planes, trains, buses and taxis roughly on the basis of distance travelled, ie

Fare = z + Fd

Where d is 'distance travelled', z is 'base cost' (things like 'flag fall' in a taxi) and 'F' is fudge factor.

But if they worked it out in a multifactorial way, on the basis of weight of passenger and distance travelled, such that lighter passengers travelling the same distance as heavier passengers paid less, this would be more accurately reflective of actual costs. The formula would be

Fare = z + Fdw

where w is 'weight'.

Not at all complicated; you would be weighed when you stepped onto the bus, or whatever, and the ticket seller would automatically offer the relevant fare scale for your weight. Except in the case of anorexics, there would be clear health benefits to the society that would no doubt offset the initial cost of weighing equipment over time.

Think about it folks, this idea has legs!

PS And that's this blog's 1000th post.


Alexandra P said...

... except it would lead to fat people going by car more, because who wants it known that you're fat?

Gordon Cheng said...

Well yes, there is that Alex. But most people announce their fatness by visual means anyway. And, you could work out an unobtrusive way of doing this, for example you could set up screened booths where pre-pay tickets are sold and as a bonus, you get your weight printed for free.

Do you remember that absurdist play where a man taught a whole group of 'speak your weight' machines to sing the Hallelujah chorus when people jumped on them at the right time? Can't recall if it was Albee, I know it wasn't Becket.

robd said...

"One Way Pendulum" by N.F. Simpson.


Peter Kirsop said...

did you know the Japanese trams are designed for smaller people (you can see for yourself at the Loftus tram museum- very worth while) , and that since the Japanese have begun eating some more 'western' foods the trams are no longer coping as well