Congestion Hurts Repairman

A couple of days ago I called in a serviceman to repair my garage door. He came in from the other side of the city. About a 40 minute drive on a Sunday with no traffic. His truck was a few years old and there was no company name on it. It turned out that Dan-the-Man was the sole proprietor and the only employee. He looked like he was getting by, but little more.

“Does congestion hold you up any?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, does heavy traffic mean that you can drive to fewer jobs each day.”

“Oh yes!” He was very emphatic.

“How many more jobs could you get to each day if there were never heavy traffic?”

“Oh, three or four, for sure.”

“What’s that worth to you.”

“Three or four hundred dollars.”

“Pretty soon, we’re going to charge people to drive on the road and that will end traffic jams.”

“I don’t want to pay to use the road.”

“But you just said you lost three or four hundred dollars each day. Would you be willing to pay $20 or $30 to get $300?”

“Oh, I never thought about it that way.”

Congestion pricing does not hurt poor people; congestion does.

If congestion pricing were instituted in your city, your service people could either earn more, or spend more time with their kids, or waste less of their hard-earned gas, or pollute less. All four would be a good start.

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