Which are Worse: Train Salesmen or Cheap Car Salesmen?

Which are Worse: Train Salesmen or Cheap Car Salesmen?

Although car salesmen get accused of sleazy sales tactics the only ones I’ve encountered have been the utmost professionals. Train advocates however are a different matter. My respect for car salesman right now is at an all time high having dealt with the highly professional Jim Leavitt of San Rafael and the truly amazing Steve Dolowitz of Petaluma Honda, who sadly passed away at the age of 56 in 2006.  However SMART and its many advocates seem to be adopting the tactics akin to cheap car salesmen. You know the one – it’s called the four square system. The salesman writes down: the price of the car the monthly payment the trade in value the downpayment Then they work out which of the four elements you care about the most and before you know it the elements you fixated on are great and you’re in the finance managers office signing away hundreds more than you needed to as the other elements have been twisted in the dealership’s favor. With SMART it worked like this. It was worked out that we the taxpaying voters of Marin and Sonoma cared deeply about reducing 101 congestion. Also being Marinites we liked the sound of anything that sounded sustainable and green, and what could possibly be greener than a train? Surely that’s common sense. Who would ever question it? Questioning the Unquestionable – is it Really Green? But this is where the cheap sales-trick falls apart. If you dig deep enough, and it’s nicely buried, you can work out the SMART trains’ emissions. These are ultimately calculated based on “passenger mpg” and as with mpg the higher the number the better. SMART is supposed...