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Thursday, August 22 12:01 AM EST

Ford Testifies to Stop Ride Sharing

By Brian Briggs

Washington DC - William Ford Jr., CEO of the Ford Motor Company testified beforeCongress about the nationwide problem of ride sharing. Ford cited ride swapping as the number one reason for the the company's declining revenue. "These 'pool pirates are depriving Ford of rightful income. Three sometimes four people are sharing rides. Less wear and tear on the cars means fewer new car purchases. That's revenue that's being robbed from Ford."

A recent study by the Gartner Group supports Ford's claims that ride sharing runs rampant across the US. The study showed showed that children under the age of 16 were the biggest offenders. Almost 99% of children in that age group said they had shared a ride in the past week. The study also showed that ride sharing had spread to the Internet in the form of "Car Pool" message boards where the "Road Robbers" set up their swaps.

Many Representatives questioned Ford's claim that consumers used ride sharing to put off purchases of new cars for 3 or even 4 years. "You're telling me that people don't receive new cars as gifts from lobbyists every year? I find that allegation preposterous," asked a Representative from Virginia.

After testimony was completed Representatives from Michigan introduced the Driving Solo Enforcement Act of 2002, which aims to curb ride sharing activities by making it illegal to have more than one person in a car at a time. The bill also attempts to stop government support of this activity by closing down car pool lanes. Persons caught sharing rides would be subject to a $2500 and up to 1 year in prison.

Other witnesses before the Transportation Committee testified that people, often foreigners, were selling rides on the street in cars called "taxis". They shared stories of how they paint their cars yellow and cruise the streets looking for potential ride sharers.

"Mr. Ford needs to wake up and smell the coffee," said Frank Wallace, an opponent of the bill. "I haven't bought a new car in 6 years! I ride with my friends, I ride with my parents. Sometimes I even walk to work. If they pass this law people are still gonna share rides. They may have to hide in the trunk, but they're still gonna do it."

Many soccer moms are worried by what this legislation may do to their hectic schedules. "It might be a bit inconvenient, but I guess I'll just have to let little Johnny drive the mini-van to soccer practice by himself," said Melissa Garrett of Concord, New Hampshire. "He can touch the pedals by himself now and I don't want to break any laws."

Exxon Mobil and the Asphalt Workers of America also testified on the importance of stopping ride swapping.

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