Thursday, March 01, 2007

MassTrans and a bad legacy foretold

Let's imagine a city -twice the size of Houston sans the Texans of course- with roundly 30% not so rich people, which means, no cars for them and the worst air in the Americas.

Now, let's imagine that ALL "buses" (really old trucks with new chassis) are privately owned by sub-spices with last names ending in 'nakis' with drivers that work no less than 12 hours a day.

Take all that and add -at least- 1 hour to get to your job and another hour to get back home.

Add enormous SUVs (very much like Texas) descending from Uptown, clogging up the streets, and an elderly former president and Voila, a PLAN is born.

Press fast-forward and land in reality. Santiago's reality to be more precise.

The Plan is implemented. Suddenly everybody is a critic and by default, experts in MassTrans. And everybody is complaining. Everywhere. Non-stop. The old trucks are now real buses and some kind of regulation is in place.

The old owners did like the fact that they could pretty much do whatever they wanted without ever paying the price of pollution so they promptly start to obstruct the Plan. They hire fewer drivers, letting out fewer buses. Or, they choose not to pay them.

But the new female prez is on to them. She knows what they are up to. And she will not take it. No matter how bad the Plan was made, she takes full responsibility and threatens to 'take over' those bus lines that are not 'fully operated'.

So there we have it, a new way of 'nationalizing' something that should have been in State hands from the very beginning. MassTrans...And with this, she avoids a bad legacy foretold.

As a prez, she might be unorthodox, but at least she's a MD. So, unlike the elderly former prez, she can actually help -on the spot- an 8 year old when he faints. Not for the cameras. Not for the critics. Just because she can. As she did in the 80s when treating abused children from Pinochet's dictatorship.

When the boy come to, the first thing he said to her was: "If we have to be 8 hours in school, why do we have homework?". She promised to look into it. Maybe, just maybe, it's time to look beyond the vagina/penis attributes of elected (and possibly new candidates) presidents and see if they can break the spell of a bad legacy foretold...In Santiago and in Washington DC.

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