For a while, I took a taxi cab to work every day. Not because I'm some sort of cab-riding Rockefeller, too rich to use public transit and too lazy to do my own driving, but because the bus drivers are frequently on strike to get what they're owed from the state. You'd think the poor might have the least to lose from an economic downturn, but that's foolish optimism talking. People rich enough to have cars can still get around for about the same price. But if you can't afford a car, and public transit suddenly goes away, you aren't getting to work without a cab, hours of walking, or some sort of expert donkey-wrangling.
Jacob Peter Gowy
Or wings, but that's always a risky choice for Greeks.
This is a problem we have today in Greece, but it's a problem that also crops up in any major city when the economy Biff Tannen's face-first into a manure pile. During the 1980 New York City transit workers' strike, between 15-20 percent of the city's workers couldn't do their jobs at all. People too poor for cars get screwed, but so do the drivers. Earlier this year, when London's subway workers threw down their wrenches, or urine pails or whatever, the city suffered an eleven-mile traffic jam on one of its main roads.
Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Even for Piccadilly, this is a circus."