Talking to the Farmer’s Market

Through an intriguing set of twists and turns (mostly due to the good works of Karin LaRonde), I’ve got 10 minutes on the agenda of the Annual General Meeting of the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market tomorrow night to talk about things we can do to encourage customers of the market to leave their cars at home and take the bus, walk or cycle to the market.

This all started from a wacky idea I presented to Karin last fall where I suggested that, in an effort to get more people than just Oliver and I riding Bus #3 to the market every week, I would offer to pay the bus fare for anyone else who wanted to join us. Over the winter I expanded my thinking to include other non-automobile ways of travel.

I’ve prepared a handout for distribution at the meeting wherein I briefly lay out the effects of all that driving, and provide some information about alternatives, and some suggestions for small actions the market can take.

If you have any additional practical suggestions that I can take forward, please let me know.


Ken's picture
Ken on April 15, 2007 - 22:01 Permalink

I just know there is a way to use cellphones to ‘rideshare’.
Hitchhike with your cellphone. Maybe as easy as texting your destination to a ‘rideshare’ number. Then willing drivers heading by you would be advised of your eminent presence as they drive, maybe there would be an LED flash card you would hold to identify yourself. Also, some nominal gas charge would be debited/credited to the driver from your ‘rideshare’ account.

Your profile could be online with a rating of each passenger’s cordiality during rides, or if you wish not to ride with someone you can flag them off your notification list. A preference list too, like no trips under 10km or over 20km or time of day availability.

Like ebay for hitchhikers. An ad-hoc laissez faire public transit solution. The location factor of cellphones could be used. Also, a one hour forecast of pending trips could be used to match riders with drivers.

Augment the system with a few mini-vans that scoop up the most efficient network of passengers on a constantly adjusted basis — like a crazy bus that goes where the rides are most needed based on heuristics.

Can an ad hoc ride network work in theory at least?

Olle Jonsson's picture
Olle Jonsson on April 17, 2007 - 08:38 Permalink

A crazy bus, Ken! Lovely.

In-car computer: “Pickup on the other side of town, but do a slow sweep of the University Residential Area, to find any stragglers.”

Olle Jonsson's picture
Olle Jonsson on April 17, 2007 - 08:44 Permalink

But, Peter: This is a great PDF. It talks to its user on so many “levels of activity”. I think this is the way to win big: by making it possible/thinkable to go from casual driving to riding a bus, and then on to jogging or biking.

This is not the place for a Bike-In protest. super-congesting inner-city street with a Critical Mass bike-run might be effective propaganda in a large metropolitan setting, but in this case placard-waving hair-shirt-wearing tactics seem counter-productive. Maybe they always are? Makes me think harder about communication. Positioning one’s message.

Insurgent/vigilante/optimist (gotta find better words for this) community action to make the system work better. Laudable.

Darin Foulkes's picture
Darin Foulkes on April 18, 2007 - 01:56 Permalink

After attending the “anti-cellphone-tower” meeting tonight, I think I’ll not walk to the Farmers’ Market in the future. I’ll drive my car instead, as the metal roof of my car will shield me from the harmful radio waves soon to be emitted from the Mount Edward Road Cell Tower. Sometimes examples and analogies get too far off track.