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Taken for a Ride (1996)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 81 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

How the American auto industry engineered the demise of city public-transit systems.

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Title: Taken for a Ride (1996)

Taken for a Ride (1996) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jim Klein ...
Narrator
Renee Montagne ...
Narrator
Bradford Snell ...
Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe Alfonsie ...
Himself
Joseph L. Alioto ...
Himself
Jim Holzer ...
Himself
Barney Larrick ...
Himself
Edwin 'Jay' Quinby ...
Himself (archive footage)
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How the American auto industry engineered the demise of city public-transit systems.

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Documentary

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6 August 1996 (USA)  »

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Narrator: In the mid-1930s, GM worked hard to create the impression of a nationwide trend away from rail. But there was no trend. Buses were a tough sell. They jolted. They smelled. They inched through traffic. City by city, it took the hidden hand of General Motors to replace streetcars with Yellow Coach buses. In 1936, a company was founded that would grow to dominate American city transportation. National City Lines had no visible connection to General Motors. In fact, the director of operations came ...
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User Reviews

 
Terrific! The whole seamy in-depth story behind the corporate assassination of America's streetcar and trolley systems.
8 March 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

America once enjoyed the world's finest rail transit services. The electric railway systems ... the streetcar, trolley and rapid transit lines ... were safe, clean, fast, frequent, and on time. And then, very suddenly it seemed, most of them were gone, vanished, to be replaced by smoking, lumbering motor buses and ever-widening roads and highways. "Progress!" exclaimed the officials; but as the years passed and traffic congestion worsened, rumors and legends began to circulate, disturbing tales of immense behind-the-scenes power and influence that had come into play in dooming the nation's efficient electric rail lines.

And then a hard-hitting, still-talked-about "60 Minutes" television report on the topic in December, 1986 clarified and coalesced all those persistent, if unfounded, urban legends into a saga of corporate greed, political manipulation and nationwide corruption. It wasn't obsolescence that condemned the rail systems, said the report ... it was "murder by intent".

Finally the tale was told. And a decade later came "Taken For A Ride", a masterful documentary on the now-revealed story. We see the subliminal propaganda devices ... rare posters, ads and film clips extolling the coming glories of internal-combustion transit. Still-surviving witnesses tell of their experiences in the changeover efforts. Cases where resistance was mounted are related. Unforgettable before/during/after imagery is everywhere.

It's a see-and-see-again film, a brave effort that names names as it gives the viewers just one more example of how faceless, far-off corporate entities can change our lifestyles. Highly recommended to all, not just transit advocates and historians.


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