The art of transit

photo by Warren Morse

We see lots of photos of cars and buses, trains and trucks but not so many of ducks … especially not riding motorcycles. But in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam — actually, all over Vietnam — motorcycles are the transit of the people and in the cities bike traffic jams look like Sunset Boulevard during rush hour. From families of four on a single cycle to huge stand-up freezers propped precariously, motorcycles carry anything that needs transporting. This photo was taken out of a car window with a Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS,with a 6.2 – 18.6mm zoom.

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5 replies

  1. Speaking as an ex-delivery guy, in the US, most Americans have no idea how to operate a moped yet instead they all practically know how to operate a car. Every where else in the world, it’s the other way around!

    See how the Dutch deliver their Dominos on a scooter:

    Dominos in Ireland:

    Dominos in Australia:

    Dominos in Taiwan:

    Obviously, since a car costs a lot more money than a moped, it’s cheaper for the pizza companies in the US to just use the delivery guy’s own car and provide them with a stipend of gas. Hence, pizza delivery guys in the US relies on their own vehicle; they just put the Pizza Hut, Papa John’s or Domino’s logo hat on top of their cars.

    I actually knew how to drive a motorcycle and I asked my Dominos manager if they were willing to invest in getting me a scooter just like how Dominos does elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately the reply was “you may know have a motorcycle license, but the rest of the people don’t. And if you decide to quit, we’ll just be left with a scooter that no one else knows how to operate.”

    If more Americans stop being such a scaredy-cats and learn how to operate a moped (it’s not that hard!), you’ll have more scooters delivering pizzas which would help decrease traffic jams by that much and help reduce foreign fuel dependency for the good of our country.

    Just imagine if all the pizza delivery cars in the US were switched to mopeds! That would do a lot to help lower gas prices (moped have better fuel economy = more supply of oil = lower gas prices) and curb traffic on our local roads (mopeds take up much less space than cars).

  2. The pizza delivery moped/ motorbike, complete with customized pizza warmer box, already exists in cities from Tokyo to London. Why not Los Angeles?

  3. George T,

    Another reason why they’re so popular is that they’re also way cheaper than flat rate public transit.

    If you wanted to go a mile down the road or one station stop away using Metro, you have to pay $1.50 for the bus or train and you still have to wait for it to come under this hot blazing sun risking heat stroke.

    If you wanted to go a mile down the road using a moped, it costs pennies (they get way better gas mileage than cars, think in the over 70 MPG range!) and you can hop right on and get going with the cool wind breeze as you move by.

    And Southern California is sunny for most of the year that it’s a great place to get around with a motorcycle, it’s no wonder why people are switching to them in increasing numbers.

    The motorcycle is just more economical, faster, and has much freedom to get going than public transit. Metro may like to believe that people will switch from cars to buses and trains as gas prices rise, but the reality is that there will also be a lot of people who would go from the car to a more fuel economical two wheeled vehicle instead.

    Metro propoganda would also like to say that “but motorcycles are dangerous blah-blah-blah,” but they cannot force such fears into every Angelino. If they were so dangerous, why would they be legal all over the world? If you go to places like Taiwan, you have 18 year old girls 1/4 the size of most obese Americans riding scooters in the streets of Taipei.

    The real reason is that Metro likes to use scare tactics to dissaude the masses that there is no other alternative to the car than public transit. They use words like “motorcycles are dangerous” and “they pollute worse than cars” (nevermind that electric and hybrid motorcycles are already on the horizon) because deep down, they know that they can be a big disadvantage to Metro’s competition. Metro relies on the fear that there is no real other alternative to the car than public transit, and they feed on that fear as an excuse to keep taxing you more.

    Face it, the way Metro operates their finances, it’s going to be sooner or later that they come up with higher fares and more service cut backs. They will get more desperate to find funds as LA heads into bankruptcy. If it costs $900 a year for monthly passes ($75/month) now and they need to raise it to $1200 a year ($100/month) because they can’t figure out how to make ends meet, increasing number of people will begin to say “forget it, I’ll just learn how to ride a moped.” And as more people start saying that, expect LA to get more desperate with more nonsensical arguments that motorcycles are dangerous.

  4. The way things are going with gas prices and poor public transportation, we’ll be like that in ten years, just with better motorcycles. Anyone notice the increase in sportsbikes and Harleys on our roads these days?

    I wouldn’t be surprised that the next pizza delivery guy from Dominos will bring me my pizza on a moped!