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Intern
Joined: 26 May 2010
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17 Jun 2010, 02:47
Hello,

Please help me improve my AWA skills by evaluating this essay. Its my first essay so there are bound to be mistakes. I have taken the basic skeleton from chineseburned.

The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper.
“Commuter use of the new subway train is exceeding the transit company’s
projections. However, commuter use of the shuttle buses that transport people to
the subway stations is below the projected volume. If the transit company expects
commuters to ride the shuttle buses to the subway rather than drive there, it must
either reduce the shuttle bus fares or increase the price of parking at the subway
stations.”

The argument claims that the usage of shuttle buses by commuters is lower than the expected volumes. Hence, the transit company should decrease their bus fares and increase the price of parking at the subway station in order to improve their business. Stated in this way the argument fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it can be evaluated. The conclusion relies on the assumptions for which there is no clear evidence. Therefore, the argument is weak, unconvincing, and has several flaws.

First, the argument doesn’t provide enough evidence to compare the time taken by two modes of transportation to reach the subway station. The commuter might prefer his personal transport over bus if the time taken by latter is very high. Moreover, even if the times are assumed to be the same, the author fails to mention the schedule and frequency of the shuttle buses which might be one of the primary concern for the commuters. The argument could have been much more clearer if it explicitly stated the evidence which compared the timings of the two modes of transport.

Second, the author fails to analyze the total fare that commuters will incur if they travel through buses. The total fare will be bus fare plus the fare to reach the bus station. Author doesn’t provide any data that total reduced fare will finally be lower than the cost incurred by traveling in private vehicles. Moreover, even if the cost incurred though bus transport is little lower than the private transport, still some people might just prefer using their own vehicle for convenient, hassle free travel. If the argument had provided evidence about the commuter choices and fare comparison then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.

Finally, the argument fails to answer the following questions : Are the buses in good condition to travel or not? Are buses as comfortable as the private vehicle of the commuter? How many commuters are willing to commute in dilapidated buses if the fares are low? Without convincing answers to these questions, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence.

In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. In order to assess the merits of a certain decision, it is essential to have full knowledge of all the contributing factors. In this case, the argument can be strengthened if the author mentions relevant evidences to evaluate commuter preferences, availability of relevant infrastructure with transit company and comparison of timings and schedules of bus and private vehicle transport.
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17 Jun 2010, 19:44
I think you have the right by saying that the argument doesn’t provide enough evidence to compare the time taken by two modes of transportation to reach the subway station. But the writer of that essay fails to analyze the total fare that commuters will incur if they travel through buses. Of course readers need to know the total fare of the commuters.
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