New York City
Wal-Mart, this season, is reporting stellar sales of Rickshaws, imported from China, in its downtown New York City stores. As gas prices continue to rise, more and more people are seeking cheaper alternative transportation. Rickshaws, a traditional Asian form of transportation, consisting of a two-wheeled cart, pulled by a man, have become increasingly popular, on the streets of New York.
As the Chinese economy continues to expand, more and more Chinese are able to purchase automobiles, forcing the global price of gas to record levels. Conversely, more Americans, unable to cope with the increasing costs of gasoline, and looking for less expensive transportation, are finding rickshaw transportation to be the most economical way to go.
Freddie Barton, a former taxi driver from the Bronx, found that the increasing cost of gasoline was putting a squeeze on his business. By purchasing a rickshaw from Wal-Mart, he is able to increase his profitabilty by 50%, and, with a little extra leg-work, continue to support his wife and 2 children.
Wal-Mart sources say that Americans, who are known to be generally overweight, and not getting enough exercise, will benefit from the increased vigor of becoming rickshaw drivers.
With the price of gasoline continuing to go up, the American public has become quite myopic about the future. All indications are that the growth of the global economy will continue to accelerate, and as the American dollar gets weaker and weaker, the price of gas, for Americans, will continue to rise. Yet, Americans have done almost nothing to invest in increased mass transportation, and believe, quite mindlessly, that they will be able to continue, somehow, to drive their cars everywhere, for the rest of their lives.
In a recent election in San Jose, California, voters rejected a bond measure, which would have funded an extension of the highly efficient, and modern, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system from San Francisco. Analysts believe that the result will be, that in 10 years, as gas prices continue to increase every year, the public will be forced to commute using rickshaws, instead of what would have been a very pleasant commute if they had had the vision, and committment, to extend BART, when they could.