International T & R

Mar 22nd, 2013 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

More about how T & R varies from one country to another. Our daughter is the smart one of the family and we suspect an accidental switch in the maternity ward following her birth. Anyway, she won a Fulbright Scholarship and studied in Germany and offers the following comments in response to one of my earlier blogs.

“In the U.S., most families own at least one car. We don’t have much in the way of public transportation. In Europe, many families of modest income and below do not own cars. The car owners are the ‘upper crust’ so to speak. They pay high prices for their licenses, gas, parking and numerous other things. In Austria, they even have to show that they have basic repair skills! That’s to say, the towing industry’s customers are different from our own. That may be a reason for the pampering that I’m sure appeals to them.”

Indeed, I recall that 30 years ago a driver’s license in Germany cost the equivalent of several thousand dollars and that’s just the beginning of the expense. And four or five dollars a gallon for gas here is nothing compared to the cost of fuel in Europe.

I imagine that many factors influence differing practices and equipment everywhere regarding rubber-tired transportation. Cost of fuel must be an important factor along with distances, types and widths of roads and highways, utility, weather, terrain, etc. All contribute to the evolution of a transportation system. And yes, in Austria the driver must be able to change a tire or accomplish some basic repair at the roadside and that is an extension of the general expectation that vehicles can, and should, ordinarily be repaired at the point of breakdown throughout Europe.

One day on the M1 expressway north of London I was idling along at about 90 mph when a group of cars led by a Mercedes flew by at well over 120 mph. I’m not sure I would want to attempt any roadside repairs in that environment.