Last week, at yet another organizational meeting, ratpag discussed what it wanted to tackle in the future. Many topics were brought up- many of which were past, worn-out ideas – but one thing everyone agreed was important was to celebrate our many upcoming milestones. In fact, this was agreed to be so important that it seemed best to make no mention of it at all in any of our meeting’s minutes.
So today we celebrate our 47th post. Many of you may glance upon ratpag’s WordPress timeline and see an irreverent, off-the-cuff, innovative transportation blog that began only months ago and persevered under the gloom of winter. But there’s much more to ratpag than meets the eye – ratpag was actually born many years ago on a domain far, far away…
The year was 2010 when an unemployed person and an unmotivated government worker teamed up with the idea of changing the world of rail and public transportation. Iteration after iteration of organizational names failed until it was settled upon: RATPAC – the Rail and Transit Political Action Committee. It was snazzy, it was fresh, and Citizens United had just cleared the way for the unlimited funneling of money into anonymous coffers.
But then came the snag. RATPAC was far too similar to “Rat Pack“, a group unaffiliated in any way with public transportation, and rights to the internet real estate proved prohibitively expensive to attain. Try and try we did until we came upon the name ratpag. It was snazzier, it was fresher, and it was a domain name that could be had for as little as $39. We were sold. And so, on November 23, 2010, ratpag was born.
Issues with website development hampered ratpag’s abilities to reach a wide audience during that first year. Try as we might we simply could not figure out how to actually construct a website. Not to be discouraged, ratpag turned its energies toward the tried and true feet-on-the-ground propaganda-awareness-strike and descended upon the 2011 Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, DC. Business cards in hand, we made our presence boldly known first on the job posting board, frightening all competition into hiding:
A closer look:
The terror continued out into the halls with cards laid upon informational tables, directional kiosks, and men’s room urinals. After only one day a cry could be heard all about the transportation conference: “What is ratpag?”
ratpag heard these calls but stayed calm. The timing had to be right. “Be patient,” ratpag chided, “soon we will provide leadership the so hopelessly adrift rail and public transportation movement craves.” And so ratpag went into hiding for a second website-development-issues year.
Befuddled by the seemingly arbitrary costs of domain name ownership and confounded by the concept of creating a site through a separate, poorly explained host, ratpag went dormant after only two years. ratpag.org was no more.
Some many years later ratpag was awakened from its slumber by the scourge of unemployment and complete and utter reliance on public transportation – a public transportation that ratpag felt should be even better given the crippling cost of a monthly MetroCard. And so ratpag was reborn on a new, free-to-use service and has been rattling the establishment with each post it makes. Never would we have imagined the power and influence that ratpag now wields with its every word.
So ratpag wants the world to know that we are vibrant and in no way on the brink of ceasing operations. ratpag has a dedicated, growing, maniacal team of editors and correspondents ready to bring you transportation news each and every [work]day (plus some Sundays). What other transportation publication has the reach and influence to obtain dangerous and likely illegally-taken photographs of a simple light rail train fronting the World Trade Center? None. So take notice TransitWire, Transportation Alternatives, Transportation Nation and all other establishment groups – ratpag is coming for you.