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News, Tips & Bargains : DOT Unveils Truth in Ticketing

November 06, 1994

Hundreds of University of Wisconsin fans made national headlines last January when they arrived in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl only to discover that either there were no tickets as promised or they would have to pay hundreds of dollars more to actually see the game.

The Department of Transportation, determined to prevent a repeat of the scam, has unveiled new "Truth in Ticketing" rules that would ban tour operators from offering package deals to events unless it had tickets to the event.

"For too many years, sports and entertainment fans have been ripped off by unscrupulous tour operators exploiting high-demand events," said Transportation Secretary Federico Pena. "These regulations will require operators to tell the truth, or face the consequences." The new regulations are expected to be in place by December, before the college bowl season, officials said.

Under the proposed rule, tour operators must have a substantial number of tickets on hand or under contract before advertising the tour. Operators may not accept payment for a tour unless an actual or contracted ticket is available for the purchaser. If no ticket is available, payment must be refunded within three days.

If the price of the tour increases by more than 10%, the consumer may cancel and receive a full refund. And the price cannot be raised within five days of the trip's departure.

The new regulation would apply to any tour--sporting, social, religious, educational, cultural, political or other--for which admission to an event is advertised as part of the tour, the Transportation Department said.

The Story Continues at Field Museum

"Teeth, Tusks & Tar Pits," a new permanent exhibit tracing the history of life from the demise of dinosaurs through the evolution of humans and the advent of the Ice Age, opens Saturday at the Field Museum in Chicago.

The exhibit continues the story of the Earth's development that started with "DNA to Dinosaurs." "Teeth, Tusks & Tar Pits" is divided into sections that chronologically represent "slices of time"--landmark periods and events in Earth's history--and laboratory sections that explain the "hows" of evolution.

The museum, located at Roosevelt Road and Lake Shore Drive, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (312) 922-9410.

Treetop Tours in the Rain Forests

For years, the canopies of the world's rain forests--hidden worlds that start about 30 feet up and may extend to more than 150 feet above the ground--remained a mystery. Now, thanks to the efforts of a handful of scientists, this largely unexplored world of natural history is becoming more accessible as interest in so-called "green" travel burgeons.

In recent weeks, two facilities that allow tourists to tiptoe through the treetops have opened.

In Costa Rica, the Rain Forest Aerial Tram (pictured at right) is operating on a 1,000-acre reserve that borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park, about 50 minutes from San Jose. The tram, a converted ski lift, can accommodate five visitors and a naturalist-guide on a 90-minute ride. The lower leg of the tram ride skims over hilltops and through the sub-canopy, a dark world of overburdened limbs dripping with mosses, ferns and orchids. Then the car climbs to about 100 feet above ground, to the tops of the trees.

The tram is the brainchild of Donald Perry, who earned his Ph.D. in biology at UCLA in 1983 and who built the forerunner of the lift as a research tool. Later, he said, he decided it was a perfect tool for education and tourism.

The private reserve plans to open a visitors center and 10 cabins in January. There are also several hiking trails. Tram rides are $47.50 per person For more information, call 011-506-257-5961 or fax 011-506-257-6053.

Halfway around the world, in the tiny Pacific sultanate of Brunei, a treetop walkway has been completed in the 113,287-acre National Park of Ulu Temburong. The project consists of five aluminum alloy towers, 164 feet high, rising upward through the trees and connected in a straight line by a walkway at the 131 feet level.

The Brunei project is patterned on a project carried out in neighboring Malaysia where the government built a tree tower canopy walkway to preserve its famed, 6,052-acre Pasoh Forest Reserve in the state of Negri Sembilan.

'Mahler's Last Years' at Carnegie

"Mahler's Last Years"--the first exhibit of all 10 autographed manuscripts of the symphonies by Gustav Mahler and his song cycle, "Das Lied von der Erde,"--opens Nov. 16 in Carnegie Hall in New York City. The 3 1/2-month exhibit coincides with the second year of Carnegie Hall's two-year Mahler Celebration. The display will close March 1.

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