Monday Morning Time Crunch

I’m flying from Moncton to Boston on Monday morning. I leave Moncton at 6:55 a.m., fly through Montreal and arrive in Boston at 10:41 a.m. I then have until 1:00 p.m. to get to the Westin Copley Place Hotel to pick up my press credentials.

If something — air delay, subway delay, customs delay — throws a wrench into my travels, there’s a chance I might miss the credential pickup. This might mean that Monday’s “coverage” of the DNC will consist of a crazy travelogue rather than biting political commentary. You have been warned.

By the way, I’m flying from Moncton, despite the hassle, because I can save about $500 doing so, mostly because of the $146 Moncton-Boston fare. Sometimes it is worth the drive to Moncton.


Wayne's picture
Wayne on July 23, 2004 - 22:26 Permalink

So, it is support local…unless it costs more. A good reason why there are no grocery markets downtown, I would suggest. Would people really continue to pay more for locally produced electric power? I think not.

Change starts at home, eh?

Nils's picture
Nils on July 24, 2004 - 06:47 Permalink

Evidently, Wayne sees a distinction between Air Canada in Moncton and Air Canada in Charlottetown. Gotta confess, it’s lost on me. AC is AC, no matter where you plop your oney down …

Mitch's picture
Mitch on July 24, 2004 - 13:14 Permalink

Its not who (AC) gets the money, its where (Ch’town or Moncton). When you “plop your money” in Charlottetown, some of it sticks, and AC (or any company) staffs and spends here accordingly…so it certainly does make some difference.

The question(and the real issue I believe is raised in Peter’s post) is “How much is the difference worth ?” In other words: How much extra, if anything, are we prepared to pay for a product or service locally, to keep at least some of the dollars local ? Nada ? 10% ? 20% ? 50% ? Or is it just a raw calculation: PEI price — (Moncton price +gas+bridge+hassle etc.)= X…as long as X > 0, away you go.

…and though I don’t agree with Nils’ main contention, he touches on a related consideration — should we be prepared to pay, for example, a 10% premium, to large companies, where only some of the dollars stick, but perhaps 25% or more to fully local operations ? As well, what of the service issue ? Should we be prepared to pay more locally to keep service levels intact and/or prevent reductions ?

Or, do we simply grab the best deal (on a lowest direct cost basis) for us personally, at that moment in time, and “let the market decide …?” Is that kind of approach, as I fear, going to bite us all in the ass someday soon ?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 24, 2004 - 13:48 Permalink

For me the equation is simple: $500 cost difference, minus bridge ($40), hotel ($89) and gas ($15) is $356 left in my pocket. That is additional money available for me to spend in downtown Charlottetown on lemon iced teas, spicy basil chicken, Apple iBooks and getting my lawn mown.

The flip side of the argument is that if I and everyone else continues to follow this logic, then Charlottetown won’t have an airport (or at least service will diminish). Presumably life would be a lot easier for Air Canada if everyone just drove to Moncton; perhaps their pricing model reflects this?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on July 24, 2004 - 13:59 Permalink

When the local airport in Ch’town closes, those at a loss will “get it”. By then, it will be too late, and we will hear those who finally “get it” lamenting about why people were wrong to fly out of Moncton or Halifax instead of doing so locally.

I agree, there is an arbitrary point when we all reconsider cost vs. local service. To be absolutely clear, my point was, you can’t have it both ways. And, don’t act surprised when you are part of the problem, like shopping at Walmart while at the same time, complaining why there are no more smaller independents.

People need to wake up, make the decisions right for them, be darned prepared to live with the consequences, not lament after the fact, AND live with the fact that they helped create the problem in the first place. As an individual, you decide what is right. But, live with the consequences and accept responsibility.

No Ch’town Airport? It is a very possible result of spending Island money elsewhere. Are you ready for it?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on July 24, 2004 - 14:08 Permalink

Set an example
Or,even better,spend the money you laid down in Dieppe (The airport is actually in Dieppe-note the Welcome to Dieppe sign inside the terminal)on PEI, as well, in order to maximize your contribution to the local economy.

Ken's picture
Ken on July 24, 2004 - 15:20 Permalink

Wayne, you have always struck me more as a free-market guy than a protectionist. If YYG can’t compete against YQM then aren’t we all better off without it?

Are we supposed to pay hundreds more in fares and thousands more in government handouts — who benefits from that?

When you live in Prince County the drive to Ctown vs. Moncton is less than 30 minutes more.

I’d rather see government money go into a Moncton-Charlottetown-Summerside transit service than YYG. More people would be served and the three cities would benefit together instead of overbuilding airports in some quest to serve a market that can’t afford more than one airport.

I will bet the biggest patrons of YYG are the beaurocrats provincial and federal who fund it — that is classist and reminds me of USSR communist party policies.

Charlottetown airport is a government funded perk for government beaurocrats and politicians.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on July 24, 2004 - 16:22 Permalink

Ken, my point was to illustrate how sometimes it is difficult for idealists to live up to their dreams of having everything local, especially when it hits them where it hurts…in the pocketbook. This is why windpower will never go…it is just too costly. The environmentalists would sing its praises, but would never pay the higher prices, just demand tax dollars prop it up. It is why all the small town stores have disappeared. And yet, people complain that there is no store in their community, while shopping at Walmart. When push comes to shove, the complainers take their business where it saves them money, with little or no social conciousness involved in the decision-making, no matter how hard they have lobbied in the past for things like downtown renewal.

Make no mistake about this, an economy is dependent on it’s infrastructure. Things like a local airport are vital. Without the revenue from tourist visits made possible with our airport, it will not be long before a decent deep-fried locust or basil chickenwing will not be found in any restaurant anywhere in the city of Charlottetown. I have an idea how many golf bags are unloaded at the ramp every summer, and believe me, there are many. My buddy unloads them, and his back is getting sore.

This is not about being for against YYG, but that their are consequences for our choices.

Mitch's picture
Mitch on July 24, 2004 - 17:08 Permalink

I’m afraid — very afraid — that Wayne has exposed the conundrum precisely. Many are prepared to jump on the bandwagon for socially progressive idea x, y or z, but few are prepared to take much of a financial hit to do so.

I speak from experience having WestJet’ed to Ontario several times, pocketing the savings with nary a guilty afterthought. Was I deliberately acting to sabotage our fair Island’s economy ? No. Was I acting in my own self-interest, wilfully blind to the part — however small — I am playing in a larger problem ? Absolutely.

Seems much like N.I.M.B.Y., and as pointed out earlier, environmental initiatives like wind power. The sinister aspect to me is how quickly and often we/I act with only the shortest of terms in mind, future impact be damned…kinda like our four year or less political cycle…but thats a thread unto itself.

All comes back to a pretty basic practical issue — how much pain (financial or otherwise) am I prepared to endure for my so-called beliefs ? Wayne, and my own experience, suggests that for most of us, not much. And by the time the “pain” of , say, losing an airport overcomes the “pain” of paying more to use it, it is often too late.

Lisa Howard's picture
Lisa Howard on July 24, 2004 - 18:52 Permalink

And this is why we can’t (as far as I’m concerned) download all of government’s various roles to the private sector, because the ‘whole’ of our collective self-interested actions and desires is less than the sum of those actions, or something like that. What I mean is, we can’t have an airport and a plane that exists just long enough to transport the four or five people who need it. On the other hand we can’t have roads or health care or the metric system or even public schools as ‘choices’ for anyone, instead these kinds of decisions are going to have to be made with a broad range of interests in mind. That’s why the market can’t or shouldn’t ‘decide’ in some cases because if we rely on short-term self-interested decision making for everything there are some things that we should have, that we in fact need as a society that would go out the window.

Alan's picture
Alan on July 26, 2004 - 14:20 Permalink

But if there are no comparable market options being considered, then blindly supporting a local airport within 3 hours of two larger ones can still be a massive waste of money and a failure to supply the needs of the local economy. Why are there no luxury shuttles to and from the Moncton airport so the traveller gets the best of both worlds, cheap air fare and transit direct to Island locales. Why is there no system of local transit once the tourist is there? Has any public market analysis of this sort been undertaken?