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Public transport should be free

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  • Wetzel Dave
    Surely, Mark s LVT/laissez-faire free market approach: if a society chooses to have a publicly owned road/transit system then the road/transit users should
    Message 1 of 25 , Aug 19, 2006
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      Surely,
      Mark's LVT/laissez-faire free market approach:
      "if a society chooses to have a publicly owned road/transit system then the road/transit users should pay for that system and the system should then pay society the relevant LVT" ignores the choice between car use and public transport?

      If public transport is free then many people (I accept not all) will switch from car to public transport.

      The effect would be to make public transport more efficient (less road congestion for buses, better fuel consumption, more passengers at marginal cost and no revenue wasted collecting fares), less traffic would also mean that the remaining car users would not only be enjoying better journey times but also have fewer crashes, saving fuel costs and creating less air pollution and co2 emissions.

      Pedestrians and cyclists would also benefit from safer roads and better atmosphere.

      Surely, this is all worth the cross-subsidy

      "which means that half the people are subsidising the other
      half (???)"

      that Mark complains about?

      Best Wishes,
      Dave

      Dave Wetzel
      Vice-Chair TfL
      Tel: 020 7126 4200
    • Dan Sullivan
      [For anyone here who wishes to comment on another mail, this is an excellent example of how to do it. Space and time efficient communincations. It takes a bit
      Message 2 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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        [For anyone here who wishes to comment on another mail, this is an excellent example of how to do it. Space and time efficient communincations. It takes a bit of time to do, but it shows respect for others. Message received. Thank you. Your sweating counterman.]

        On 20 Aug 2006 at 7:01, Wetzel Dave wrote:

        > Surely,

        > Mark's LVT/laissez-faire free market approach: "if a society chooses
        > to have a publicly owned road/transit system then the road/transit
        > users should pay for that system and the system should then pay
        > society the relevant LVT" ignores the choice between car use and
        > public transport?

        He does not ignore this if he proposes to adequately tax the
        consumption of non-renewables. The answer is not to subsidize
        consumption of fuels by transit simply because transit consumes less,
        or consumes more efficiently. Rather, the answer is to tax resource
        consumption (and pollution) so heavily that people first of all try to
        minimize their travel, and so those who must travel will make fuel
        efficiency a greater priority.

        The most important thing is that transit not be subsidized by people
        who arrange their lives so they don't use fuel at all, or use very little.
        That is, no income, sales or real estate improvement taxes should ever
        go

        > If public transport is free

        It will never be free. It will only be paid for by the taxpayers instead
        of by the users.

        > then many people (I accept not all) will switch from car to public
        > transport.

        But many will switch from walking and cycling to public transport as
        well. But if fuel is heavily taxed, so that transit becomes somewhat
        more expensive and car travel becomes much more expensive, some
        people will switch from cars to public transit, which is good, and
        others will forego transit altogether, which is also good.

        > The effect would be to make public transport more efficient (less road
        > congestion for buses, better fuel consumption, more passengers at
        > marginal cost and no revenue wasted collecting fares), less traffic
        > would also mean that the remaining car users would not only be
        > enjoying better journey times but also have fewer crashes, saving fuel
        > costs and creating less air pollution and co2 emissions.

        All that would also be true if fuel consumption and pollution were
        heavily taxed.

        > Pedestrians and cyclists would also benefit from safer roads and
        > better atmosphere.

        But not as much as we benefit from pedestrians and cyclists. Why
        should they who benefit us be taxed to support a system that
        consumes more fuel and causes more pollution than they do?

        > Surely, this is all worth the cross-subsidy

        Subsidizing transit from gasoline taxes is better than not taxing
        gasoline, but taxing gasoline heavily without subsidizing transit is
        better still.

        > "which means that half the people are subsidising the other
        > half (???)"
        >
        > that Mark complains about?

        Fuel consumption is already subsidized, although most of the subsidy
        goes to the fuel monopolists, not to the end users. If we were taxing
        fuel consumption to subsidize transit, then we would be reducing
        subsidy on the one hand and creating subsidy on the other. From the
        perspective that subsidy is theft, this is analogous to one thief stealing
        from another. While it could be an improvement (and probably is in
        this case), it is not a cessation of or pure reduction in theft.

        It would also be better for a small community to choose to subsidize a
        particular transit line serving that community from a land value tax
        that for larger units of government to collect a tax (even land value
        tax) and distribute it arbitrarily to certain communities. In the former
        case, those who do not appreciate transit can choose to live in
        communities that do not subsidize it. In the latter, one must subsidize
        transit no matter where one lives.

        -ds
      • Terence Bendixson
        Eric You may want to drawn on the huge array of lifts (you call them elevators) and escalators which we all use of free of charge. The interesting wrinkle
        Message 3 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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          Eric



          You may want to drawn on the huge array of lifts (you call them elevators)
          and escalators which we all use of free of charge. The interesting wrinkle
          about them is that they are mostly private and free.



          Regards



          Terence Bendixson

          Independent Transport Commission

          University of Southampton
        • Fred Foldvary
          ... When land rent is used to finance public transit, this is not really a subsidy. It is the payment for the service, just as a gratis elevator use in a hotel
          Message 4 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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            > Surely, this is all worth the cross-subsidy
            > Dave Wetzel

            When land rent is used to finance public transit, this
            is not really a subsidy.
            It is the payment for the service, just as a gratis
            elevator use in a hotel is not a subsidy to the
            elevator users, but rather a payment for the elevator
            from the room charges.

            The hotel does subsidize the bathroom in the suite by
            not charging extra for it. The guest pays for it from
            the general room charge. Likewise the elevator and
            horizontal transit.

            A true subsidy is a transfer of funds to somebody that
            does not pay for any service or benefit.

            Fred Foldvary
          • Jeffery J. Smith
            Portland Oregon has a free fare zone in the center, which fits the elevator analogy, but once you get out of the dense part, then you have to pay; it runs on
            Message 5 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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              Portland Oregon

              has a free fare zone in the center, which fits the elevator analogy,
              but once you get out of the dense part, then you have to pay; it runs
              on the honor system and works pretty well.

              SMITH, Jeffery J.
              President, Forum on Geonomics
              jjs@...; www.geonomics.org
              Share Earth's worth to prosper and conserve.
            • Mark Porthouse
              Certainly if public transport is free then more people will switch from car to public transport. However, some will be switching for the wrong reasons and
              Message 6 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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                Certainly if public transport is free then more people will switch from
                car to public transport. However, some will be switching for the wrong
                reasons and giving an inefficient outcome.

                First we have to imagine an LVT influenced environment - which is very
                far from what we have now.

                An example: A chap providing hardware IT services in the city of London.
                He uses a small van to get around. Parking the van, he pays LVT for the
                exclusive use of that parking space for the duration he uses it (and any
                time he requires exclusive reservation of that space when his vehicle
                isn't in it). Perhaps the van is parked for 90% of the time. Driving the
                van, he does 8,000 miles a year at an average speed of 20 miles an hour,
                which is an average of 2.3 hours a day on the road. For this he also
                pays for the exclusive use of the space he requires on the road (in a
                traffic jam he requires barely more than the length of the vehicle, in
                moving traffic he needs exclusive use of on average perhaps a space
                seven times the size of his vehicle - and bear in mind that when there
                is little traffic on the road, and there is lots of space, that that
                space has to be paid for by someone - and that someone is the road user,
                of which he is one). So to park he pays around five thousand pounds a
                year and to drive around he pays perhaps three thousand to meet the LVT
                that society requires for the allocated space. He also has to pay a
                decent amount to purchase the vehicle as included in the purchase price
                is a fairer charge for the extraction of the raw materials used to
                produce that car from nature - perhaps a small van might cost £30,000 to
                purchase. Also he has to fuel the car - again paying a fair price for
                the extracted fossil fuels (I note that the UK has high road fuel taxes
                that might already be equivalent). He has to maintain the vehicle, he
                has to compensate society for the pollution (noise and gas/particulate).

                Compare this with the cost of riding a bus and you will see that he
                might think twice about how he goes about his business. Perhaps he will
                not have a van, but have a compact service trolley that he pulls around
                with him? Who knows? The market would be substantially different and his
                business would be shaped to suit the conditions and demands.

                Now compare this situation with a top flight executive who's time is
                worth perhaps £1,000 an hour to the company he runs. This situation will
                justify significant expenditure on travel, he won't be using public
                transport very often, but will instead compensate society for his need
                to use the common space for his transport needs.

                In this environment there is no need to provide free transport, there is
                incentive enough for people to use the most appropriate transport for
                their situation. There is no need for some kind of privilege to distort
                the transport market. Free transport would mean that people would live
                further from their work places leading to less efficient use of land
                (and energy and manpower etc.) and wasting the shared wealth of society.

                ... at least, that's what I imagine! :)
                It seems to fit with the overall spirit of Henry George's take on things.

                However, perhaps free public transport is a valid stepping stone in a
                conversion to an LVT centric society? However, I haven't given that any
                thought!

                Cheers,

                Mark

                Wetzel Dave wrote:
                > Surely,
                > Mark's LVT/laissez-faire free market approach:
                > "if a society chooses to have a publicly owned road/transit system then the road/transit users should pay for that system and the system should then pay society the relevant LVT" ignores the choice between car use and public transport?
                >
                > If public transport is free then many people (I accept not all) will switch from car to public transport.
                >
                > The effect would be to make public transport more efficient (less road congestion for buses, better fuel consumption, more passengers at marginal cost and no revenue wasted collecting fares), less traffic would also mean that the remaining car users would not only be enjoying better journey times but also have fewer crashes, saving fuel costs and creating less air pollution and co2 emissions.
                >
                > Pedestrians and cyclists would also benefit from safer roads and better atmosphere.
                >
                > Surely, this is all worth the cross-subsidy
                >
                > "which means that half the people are subsidising the other
                > half (???)"
                >
                > that Mark complains about?
                >
                > Best Wishes,
                > Dave
              • Terence Bendixson
                In answer to Eric Britton If all metropolitan areas on the planet are moving explosively in the wrong direction what about forgetting vain pursuit of
                Message 7 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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                  In answer to Eric Britton

                  If all metropolitan areas on the planet are moving explosively in 'the wrong
                  direction' what about forgetting vain pursuit of paradigm shifts, becoming
                  pragmatic instead and seeking to introduce sustainability into personal
                  transport and suburban living. I am not suggesting that this will be easy
                  but it would at least be going with a flow that has been noticeable every
                  since Cicero had a nice suburban villa built for himself beyond the
                  outskirts of Pompeii.

                  Terence Bendixson

                  _____________________________________________
                  From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  Of Eric Britton
                  Sent: 19 August 2006 11:03
                  To: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [LandCafe] Public transport should be free

                  In response to Fred Foldvary's note of yesterday on this:

                  Our interest over at the New Mobility Agenda in the topic of free fares for
                  public transport is to explore how they can be put to work to help achieve
                  the necessary major paradigm shift that is needed so that the transportation
                  arrangements of our cities start to inch toward sustainability. (Why
                  anything so ambitious as this? Because there is not a metropolitan area ON
                  THIS BENIGHTED PLANET where all the key indicators are not moving
                  explosively I exactly the wrong direction. Not one dear friends!)

                  So as we have tried to explain in the introductory notes on this that you
                  will find in the New Mobility Briefs at http://www.newmobilitybriefs.org
                  (under Briefs Work Pad) - as well as in the Wikipedia section on this at
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_transport#Free_systems
                  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_transport> -- what interests us most
                  is not all the many specific point to point or specific feeder services
                  which are pointed at a specific commercial or other activity node, but
                  rather the stuff that is or should be happening at a community wide level.

                  And yes, for sure we know that enhanced transport increases land values -
                  but one thing that would be most useful at this point would be examples of a
                  broader, more city-wide nature.

                  What I like about this in the context of the Land Café is precisely that it
                  is very specific, a specific policy issue and eventually decision, and has a
                  very near term focus. This being the sort of thing that in MHV (my humble
                  view) that fora like this should be giving the bulk of attention. Or do I
                  have this wrong?

                  Eric Britton
                • Harry Pollard
                  FINANCING TRANSIT Land Rent (or if you prefer - land value) is a value created by the presence and access of the community and attaches to a location. Land
                  Message 8 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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                    FINANCING TRANSIT
                     
                    Land Rent (or if you prefer - land value) is a value created by the presence and access of the community and attaches to a location.
                     
                    Land Rent is effected strongly by infrastructure that allows more efficient people access to locations.
                     
                    It is not affected by private improvements - the building of which follow increases in Rent.
                     
                    Good roads, or rails, by making access more efficient has the effect of increasing Rent at the serviced locations.
                     
                    If this Rent is collected and used to finance the infrastructure it would appear to be quite proper and completely just.
                     
                    LIFTS
                     
                    Whether or not lifts (elevators) are provided in privately owned buildings, how they are used, and whether they are used, is the business of the owners of the building. They are not charitable concerns and if they provide lifts it's because it is profitable to do so.
                     
                    FARES
                     
                    How many people should ride the fare-free buses, or trains?
                     
                    I would suggest as many as want to. Increasing the number of riders means higher Rents. People selling things at the affected locations want as many people around as possible. That's why they are happy to pay the higher Rents.
                     
                    'Free riders' is something economists can busy themselves viewing with alarm when they should be spending the time whipping their miserable discipline into shape. We must stop people from riding the buses or trains unnecessarily is the argument.
                     
                    Why? And who determines what is unnecessary?
                     
                    Last month I spent a little time (thankfully) riding the rush hour Tube trains (subway trains) in a temperature of about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Crushed around me were lots of people riding unnecessarily out to Cockfosters .
                     
                    Collecting fares - particularly fares that change according to travel distance - costs money. It can be dumped.
                     
                    Just letting people travel without fare payment on the train they are paying for anyway as a community member doesn't seem to me to be particularly heinous. Or, maybe we should think about who walks, or who doesn't walk, the publicly provided pavements (sidewalks).  
                     
                    Harry
                    *********************************
                    Henry George School of Los Angeles
                    Box 655  Tujunga  CA  91042
                    818 352-4141
                    *********************************

                    From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Fred Foldvary
                    Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2006 7:49 AM
                    To: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [LandCafe] Public transport should be free

                    > Surely, this is all worth the cross-subsidy
                    > Dave Wetzel

                    When land rent is used to finance public transit, this
                    is not really a subsidy.
                    It is the payment for the service, just as a gratis
                    elevator use in a hotel is not a subsidy to the
                    elevator users, but rather a payment for the elevator
                    from the room charges.

                    The hotel does subsidize the bathroom in the suite by
                    not charging extra for it. The guest pays for it from
                    the general room charge. Likewise the elevator and
                    horizontal transit.

                    A true subsidy is a transfer of funds to somebody that
                    does not pay for any service or benefit.

                    Fred Foldvary

                  • Jeffery J. Smith
                    ... That s a good possibility. I wonder when enough is enough? You look at those Japanese trains, jammed full. Can they really schedule more trains? Is Japan
                    Message 9 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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                      > A highly successful mass transit system might need fares sometimes as
                      > congestion charges.
                      >
                      > SMITH, Jeffery J.
                      > President, Forum on Geonomics
                      > jjs@...; www.geonomics.org
                      > Share Earth's worth to prosper and conserve.

                      On Aug 20, 2006, at 9:45 PM, wrote:

                      > Or could provide more services Jeff.

                      That's a good possibility.

                      I wonder when enough is enough? You look at those Japanese trains,
                      jammed full. Can they really schedule more trains?

                      Is Japan at all over-populated?

                      SMITH, Jeffery J.
                      President, Forum on Geonomics
                      jjs@...; www.geonomics.org
                      Share Earth's worth to prosper and conserve.
                    • Jeffery J. Smith
                      ... In a downtown, where values are sky high, is it possible to tease out the contribution of a fare-free central district? SMITH, Jeffery J. President, Forum
                      Message 10 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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                        >
                        > Portland Oregon
                        >
                        > has a free fare zone in the center, which fits the elevator analogy,

                        On Aug 20, 2006, at 9:38 PM, wrote:

                        > But does it put up land values Jeff?

                        In a downtown, where values are sky high, is it possible to tease out
                        the contribution of a fare-free central district?

                        SMITH, Jeffery J.
                        President, Forum on Geonomics
                        jjs@...; www.geonomics.org
                        Share Earth's worth to prosper and conserve.
                      • Jeffery J. Smith
                        ... In a downtown, where values are sky high, is it possible to tease out the contribution of a fare-free central district? SMITH, Jeffery J. President, Forum
                        Message 11 of 25 , Aug 20, 2006
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                          >
                          > Portland Oregon
                          >
                          > has a free fare zone in the center, which fits the elevator analogy,

                          On Aug 20, 2006, at 9:38 PM, wrote:

                          > But does it put up land values Jeff?

                          In a downtown, where values are sky high, is it possible to tease out
                          the contribution of a fare-free central district?

                          SMITH, Jeffery J.
                          President, Forum on Geonomics
                          jjs@...; www.geonomics.org
                          Share Earth's worth to prosper and conserve.
                        • Wetzel Dave
                          Mark writes: There is no need for some kind of privilege to distort the transport market. Free transport would mean that people would live further from their
                          Message 12 of 25 , Aug 21, 2006
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                            Re: [LandCafe] Public transport should be free

                            Mark writes:
                            "There is no need for some kind of privilege to distort the transport market. Free transport would mean that people would live further from their work places leading to less efficient use of land
                            (and energy and manpower etc.) and wasting the shared wealth of society.

                            Dave W responds:
                            With LVT,  homes nearer the workplace would become cheaper.
                            Homes further away but with good transport links would pay higher LVT.
                            There would still be a time penalty for longer commutes.

                            With fewer cars on the road, and less traffic, the hardware guy in a van will be able to make more calls in a day and the top executive in a limo would make quicker journeys -  they both would support the free fares because they would both benefit. In the same way that in London motorists in their position support Congestion Charge. 
                            Best Wishes,
                            Dave

                            Dave Wetzel
                            Vice-Chair TfL
                            Tel: 020 7126 4200
                            --------------------------
                            Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld
                             

                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com <LandCafe@yahoogroups.com>
                            To: Land Café <LandCafe@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Sun Aug 20 22:13:59 2006
                            Subject: Re: [LandCafe] Public transport should be free

                            Certainly if public transport is free then more people will switch from
                            car to public transport. However, some will be switching for the wrong
                            reasons and giving an inefficient outcome.

                            First we have to imagine an LVT influenced environment - which is very
                            far from what we have now.

                            An example: A chap providing hardware IT services in the city of London.
                            He uses a small van to get around. Parking the van, he pays LVT for the
                            exclusive use of that parking space for the duration he uses it (and any
                            time he requires exclusive reservation of that space when his vehicle
                            isn't in it). Perhaps the van is parked for 90% of the time. Driving the
                            van, he does 8,000 miles a year at an average speed of 20 miles an hour,
                            which is an average of 2.3 hours a day on the road. For this he also
                            pays for the exclusive use of the space he requires on the road (in a
                            traffic jam he requires barely more than the length of the vehicle, in
                            moving traffic he needs exclusive use of on average perhaps a space
                            seven times the size of his vehicle - and bear in mind that when there
                            is little traffic on the road, and there is lots of space, that that
                            space has to be paid for by someone - and that someone is the road user,
                            of which he is one). So to park he pays around five thousand pounds a
                            year and to drive around he pays perhaps three thousand to meet the LVT
                            that society requires for the allocated space. He also has to pay a
                            decent amount to purchase the vehicle as included in the purchase price
                            is a fairer charge for the extraction of the raw materials used to
                            produce that car from nature - perhaps a small van might cost £30,000 to
                            purchase. Also he has to fuel the car - again paying a fair price for
                            the extracted fossil fuels (I note that the UK has high road fuel taxes
                            that might already be equivalent). He has to maintain the vehicle, he
                            has to compensate society for the pollution (noise and gas/particulate).

                            Compare this with the cost of riding a bus and you will see that he
                            might think twice about how he goes about his business. Perhaps he will
                            not have a van, but have a compact service trolley that he pulls around
                            with him? Who knows? The market would be substantially different and his
                            business would be shaped to suit the conditions and demands.

                            Now compare this situation with a top flight executive who's time is
                            worth perhaps £1,000 an hour to the company he runs. This situation will
                            justify significant expenditure on travel, he won't be using public
                            transport very often, but will instead compensate society for his need
                            to use the common space for his transport needs.

                            In this environment there is no need to provide free transport, there is
                            incentive enough for people to use the most appropriate transport for
                            their situation. There is no need for some kind of privilege to distort
                            the transport market. Free transport would mean that people would live
                            further from their work places leading to less efficient use of land
                            (and energy and manpower etc.) and wasting the shared wealth of society.

                            ... at least, that's what I imagine! :)
                            It seems to fit with the overall spirit of Henry George's take on things.

                            However, perhaps free public transport is a valid stepping stone in a
                            conversion to an LVT centric society? However, I haven't given that any
                            thought!

                            Cheers,

                            Mark

                            Wetzel Dave wrote:

                            > Surely,
                            > Mark's LVT/laissez-faire free market approach:
                            > "if a society chooses to have a publicly owned road/transit system then the road/transit users should pay for that system and the system should then pay society the relevant LVT"  ignores the choice between car use and public transport?
                            >
                            > If public transport is free then many people (I accept not all) will switch from car to public transport.
                            >
                            > The effect would be to make public transport more efficient (less road congestion for buses, better fuel consumption, more passengers at marginal cost and no revenue wasted collecting fares), less traffic would also mean that the remaining car users would not only be enjoying better journey times but also have fewer crashes, saving fuel costs and creating less air pollution and co2  emissions.
                            >
                            > Pedestrians and cyclists would also benefit from safer roads and better atmosphere.
                            >
                            > Surely, this is all worth the cross-subsidy
                            >
                            > "which means that half the people are subsidising the other
                            > half (???)"
                            >
                            > that Mark complains about?
                            >
                            > Best Wishes,
                            > Dave





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                          • Eric Britton
                            Terrence writes/challenges: If all metropolitan areas on the planet are moving explosively in the wrong direction . . . Terrence, as you know well . . .
                            Message 13 of 25 , Aug 21, 2006
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                              Terrence writes/challenges: "If all metropolitan areas on the planet are moving
                              explosively in 'the wrong direction' . . ."



                              Terrence, as you know well . . . not that there are not cities that are pursuing
                              many wonderful and worthy innovations and improvements which are indeed showing
                              progress. See the New <http://newmobilitybriefs.org/> Mobility Advisory/Briefs
                              for more than one hundred examples that you can find in thousands of cities
                              around the world.



                              The rub is the aggregate . . . number of vehicles, congestion indicators, fuel
                              consumed, air and other forms of pollution, accidents, lost time, poorly served
                              groups within the community, lack of neighborliness, imposition of sprawl forms
                              de facto as a result of our lack of collective ability to organize,



                              I think your London provides as vivid an example of this state of affairs as any
                              city out there.



                              And you invite us to be pragmatic: have a close look at the work program of the
                              Briefs which focuses on very specific things that cities can do other than
                              repeating Cicero's example.



                              That at least is our objective.



                              And I do hope Terrence that not only do you wish us great good luck, but that
                              you will dig in and get directly involved. After all if we don't do it - and
                              keep in mind our very tight time horizon - then who will?



                              Eric Britton



                              PS. And while I have your ear, I am pleased to say that these discussions are
                              indeed leading somewhere. I like to speak of incrementing knowledge thorough
                              lively and genteel communication among concerned citizens, as opposed to the
                              usual discussions groups where the good folks site around swapping tales and a
                              priori preferences (and of course accusations). I can feel a certain about of
                              progress here. And along those lines I certainly do like Mark's closing line
                              where he say: "However, perhaps free public transport is a valid stepping stone
                              in a conversion to an LVT centric society? However, I haven't given that any
                              thought!" Okay. Let's keep thinking.
                            • Eric Britton
                              Terrence writes/challenges: If all metropolitan areas on the planet are moving explosively in the wrong direction . . . Terrence, as you know well . . .
                              Message 14 of 25 , Aug 21, 2006
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                                Terrence writes/challenges: "If all metropolitan areas on the planet are moving
                                explosively in 'the wrong direction' . . ."



                                Terrence, as you know well . . . not that there are not cities that are pursuing
                                many wonderful and worthy innovations and improvements which are indeed showing
                                progress. See the New Mobility Advisory/Briefs <http://newmobilitybriefs.org/>
                                for more than one hundred examples that you can find in thousands of cities
                                around the world.



                                The rub is the aggregate . . . number of vehicles, congestion indicators, fuel
                                consumed, air and other forms of pollution, accidents, lost time, poorly served
                                groups within the community, lack of neighborliness, imposition of sprawl forms
                                de facto as a result of our lack of collective ability to organize,



                                I think your London provides as vivid an example of this state of affairs as any
                                city out there.



                                And you invite us to be pragmatic: have a close look at the work program of the
                                Briefs which focuses on very specific things that cities can do other than
                                repeating Cicero's example.



                                That at least is our objective.



                                And I do hope Terrence that not only do you wish us great good luck, but that
                                you will dig in and get directly involved. After all if we don't do it - and
                                keep in mind our very tight time horizon - then who will?



                                Eric Britton



                                PS. And while I have your ear, I am pleased to say that these discussions are
                                indeed leading somewhere. I like to speak of incrementing knowledge thorough
                                lively and genteel communication among concerned citizens, as opposed to the
                                usual discussion groups where the good folk site around swapping tales and their
                                a priori preferences (and of course the usual accusations). I can feel a certain
                                about of progress here in this fine café. And along those lines I certainly do
                                like Mark's closing line where he say: "However, perhaps free public transport
                                is a valid stepping stone in a conversion to an LVT centric society? However, I
                                haven't given that any thought!" Okay. Let's keep thinking.



                                PPS. The food and drink may be rotten here, but we sure do have great customers.
                              • Fred Foldvary
                                ... Yes, if we compare before and after free transit for real estate prices, and then adjust for changes in population, inflation, etc, using common
                                Message 15 of 25 , Aug 21, 2006
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                                  > In a downtown, where values are sky high, is it
                                  > possible to tease out
                                  > the contribution of a fare-free central district?
                                  > SMITH, Jeffery J.

                                  Yes, if we compare "before and after" free transit for
                                  real estate prices, and then adjust for changes in
                                  population, inflation, etc, using common statistical
                                  and econometric techniques. Got data?

                                  Fred Foldvary
                                • Fred Foldvary
                                  ... use the most appropriate transport for their situation.
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Aug 21, 2006
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                                    --- Mark Porthouse <lists1@...> wrote:
                                    > In this environment there is no need to provide free
                                    > transport, there is incentive enough for people to
                                    use the most appropriate transport for their
                                    situation. <

                                    There is no need for hotels to provide free elevator
                                    service, except that this is the efficient thing to
                                    do.
                                    The issue is, what is the most efficient pricing for
                                    that service?

                                    > Free transport would mean that
                                    > people would live
                                    > further from their work places leading to less
                                    > efficient use of land.

                                    Less efficient than what?
                                    If they don't use the bus or train, they will drive.

                                    The marginal cost of one more person in a train is
                                    near zero, while the marginal cost of driving a car is
                                    substantial.

                                    Fred Foldvary
                                  • Sean Brooks
                                    When I mentioned this, I was specifically thinking of rail transit: fewer stops, and the marginal cost of ridership is near zero, especially when compared to
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Aug 21, 2006
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                                      When I mentioned this, I was specifically thinking of rail transit: fewer
                                      stops, and the marginal cost of ridership is near zero, especially when
                                      compared to the fixed costs.

                                      I suspect that the marginal cost of ridership on a heavy rail metro would be
                                      less than the utiliy lost and cost of collecting fares. Riders could just
                                      walk up to the platform and board, no queuing at a turnstile, no stopping to
                                      pay a fare.

                                      I've also considered the possible necessity of peak-time congestion charges.
                                      I think they'd be unneccessary, as the congestion itself would serve as a
                                      deterrent to peak time use; furthermore, the capacity of heavy rail metro is
                                      VERY high. I believe that a better argument could be made for dropping
                                      headway times from 15 minutes to 10, to 5, to 2, giving an almost 8-fold
                                      increase in service. As this limit is approached, the authority having
                                      jurisdiction should consider alternate routes. Typically a linear route is
                                      not limited by the station throughput, but rather the rail throughput -
                                      making other routes available within the network can have drastic effect on
                                      the demands placed on any particular stretch of rail. Perhaps a clearer
                                      example would be for a radially-designed metro system, with spokes leading
                                      in and out of the CBD, to add a rim route to the wheel.

                                      I think that a free-for-passengers metro / tram system would work well when
                                      coupled with an alternate, premium, for-cost network of taxis or private
                                      cars.

                                      And, just to stir the pot a bit more, there's always the hope that Personal
                                      Rapid Transit comes to fruition: http://www.taxi2000.com/
                                    • Dan Sullivan
                                      ... However, waiting in line or suffering crowding are purely negative events. Payment to the community is mostly a neutral event, as the amount received by
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Aug 21, 2006
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                                        On 21 Aug 2006 at 15:44, Sean Brooks wrote:

                                        > I've also considered the possible necessity of peak-time congestion
                                        > charges. I think they'd be unneccessary, as the congestion itself
                                        > would serve as a deterrent to peak time use;

                                        However, waiting in line or suffering crowding are purely negative
                                        events. Payment to the community is mostly a neutral event, as the
                                        amount received by the community is almost the same as the amount
                                        paid.

                                        Moreover, payment provides a more intelligent system of prioritizing
                                        ridership. Waiting in line gives priority to those with more time on
                                        their hands, and those with more time can more easily wait until peak
                                        times have passed. Payment gives priority to those for whom time is
                                        money. They are, incidentally, the same people who are most likely to
                                        forego the inconveniences and delays of transit and drive a car or hire
                                        a taxi.

                                        > furthermore, the capacity of heavy rail metro is VERY high.

                                        There are trade-offs for that heavy capacity, however. The number of
                                        cars cannot exceed the length of station platforms, so valuable land is
                                        tied up. Also, bigger trains means fewer stops, not only because there
                                        is a real cost in stopping and starting a train, but because each stop
                                        delays the passengers who are not stopping. Finally, the additional
                                        cars that are only used at peak periods are essentially wasted the rest
                                        of the time. Those cars must justify their expense with far less
                                        ridership. Similarly, transit personnel must work split shifts in order
                                        to serve peak volumes, and must be paid a premium for doing so. All
                                        these costs suggest that riders should pay a premium for travelling at
                                        peak hours.

                                        > I believe that a better argument could be made for dropping headway
                                        > times from 15 minutes to 10, to 5, to 2, giving an almost 8-fold
                                        > increase in service.

                                        This approach means not only more car at peak times, but more trains.
                                        Again, the expense of additional trains suggests that the riders should
                                        pay something. Those who claiming access to premium times should
                                        be subjected to the same principles as those who claim access to
                                        premium locations.

                                        > As this limit is approached, the authority having
                                        > jurisdiction should consider alternate routes. Typically a linear
                                        > route is not limited by the station throughput, but rather the rail
                                        > throughput - making other routes available within the network can have
                                        > drastic effect on the demands placed on any particular stretch of rail.

                                        Capacity *is* limited by the station throughput of the hub stations.
                                        While adding more routes lessens the passenger volume on spoke
                                        stations, it increases volume at the hubs. Branching stations, which
                                        would require passengers to change trains further out, would put less
                                        strain on hub capacity than trying to run additional trains through the
                                        hubs, but they would increase the demand on hubs nonetheless.

                                        Basically, all transit overhead costs are created to handle peak
                                        demand. Those who ride during off-peak times should be given free
                                        rides, but those who ride during peak times should at least pay enough
                                        to encourage them to seek staggered shifts.
                                      • Mark Porthouse
                                        ... Less efficient than land use in a society with non-free transport. The more passenger miles that are travelled the higher the capacity of the transit
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Aug 21, 2006
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                                          Fred Foldvary wrote:
                                          >> Free transport would mean that
                                          >> people would live
                                          >> further from their work places leading to less
                                          >> efficient use of land.
                                          >
                                          > Less efficient than what?

                                          Less efficient than land use in a society with non-free transport.

                                          The more passenger miles that are travelled the higher the capacity of
                                          the transit system needs to be. For any given transit system running at
                                          peak capacity (peak efficiency), to scale up to a higher capacity will
                                          use more land (whether by needing wider carriageways, larger terminuses,
                                          larger vehicle storage areas, larger system maintenance areas, etc).

                                          To encourage people to live further from their place of work just
                                          doesn't add up to me.

                                          If people have to pay for the land they use (even for transport) then
                                          they will be careful with it instead of wasting it. A free transit
                                          system appears to encourage waste of land.

                                          Cheers,

                                          Mark
                                        • Jeffery J. Smith
                                          ... Can get it. You know, Lincoln is accepting proposals for such studies til the end of the month. Pay $10k per. SMITH, Jeffery J. President, Forum on
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Aug 22, 2006
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                                            On Aug 21, 2006, at 6:05 AM, Fred Foldvary wrote:

                                            > > In a downtown, where values are sky high, is it
                                            > > possible to tease out
                                            > > the contribution of a fare-free central district?
                                            > > SMITH, Jeffery J.
                                            >
                                            > Yes, if we compare "before and after" free transit for
                                            > real estate prices, and then adjust for changes in
                                            > population, inflation, etc, using common statistical
                                            > and econometric techniques. Got data?

                                            Can get it. You know, Lincoln is accepting proposals for such studies
                                            til the end of the month. Pay $10k per.

                                            SMITH, Jeffery J.
                                            President, Forum on Geonomics
                                            jjs@...; www.geonomics.org
                                            Share Earth's worth to prosper and conserve.
                                          • Terence Bendixson
                                            Less efficient than land use in a society with non-free transport. One of the interesting aspects of paying the market price of land when travelling on it is
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Aug 23, 2006
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                                              Less efficient than land use in a society with non-free transport.

                                              One of the interesting aspects of paying the market price of land when
                                              travelling on it is that the rate would go up as a travellers moved from a
                                              rural through a suburban to an urban setting. If, and this is a big if,
                                              travellers were also obliged to pay as much as was needed to internalise all
                                              their environmental costs, their choice of travel would be optimised.
                                              Travellers would shift to ever more environmentally friendly and ever more
                                              space efficient forms of travel as they penetrated deeper and deeper into a
                                              metropolitan area.


                                              There is just one aspect of this that needs careful thought. The costs of
                                              travelling in rural districts would be the lowest of all. And the scope for
                                              using a personal vehicle would be less constrained than anywhere else.

                                              Would not this be a very attractive prospect? Would it not encourage people
                                              to spread themselves thinly across the land?

                                              Regards

                                              Terence Bendixson
                                              Secretary
                                              Independent Transport Commission
                                              University of Southampton
                                              020 7352 3885



                                              -----Original Message-----
                                              From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                                              Of Mark Porthouse
                                              Sent: 21 August 2006 20:45
                                              To: Land Café
                                              Subject: Re: [LandCafe] Public transport should be free

                                              Fred Foldvary wrote:
                                              >> Free transport would mean that
                                              >> people would live
                                              >> further from their work places leading to less
                                              >> efficient use of land.
                                              >
                                              > Less efficient than what?

                                              Less efficient than land use in a society with non-free transport.

                                              The more passenger miles that are travelled the higher the capacity of
                                              the transit system needs to be. For any given transit system running at
                                              peak capacity (peak efficiency), to scale up to a higher capacity will
                                              use more land (whether by needing wider carriageways, larger terminuses,
                                              larger vehicle storage areas, larger system maintenance areas, etc).

                                              To encourage people to live further from their place of work just
                                              doesn't add up to me.

                                              If people have to pay for the land they use (even for transport) then
                                              they will be careful with it instead of wasting it. A free transit
                                              system appears to encourage waste of land.

                                              Cheers,

                                              Mark





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                                            • Mark Porthouse
                                              Interesting observation about the lower disincentive to travel in the countryside! In fact it is worse than that: Because city traffic is slower and therefore
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Aug 23, 2006
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                                                Interesting observation about the lower disincentive to travel in the
                                                countryside!

                                                In fact it is worse than that: Because city traffic is slower and
                                                therefore a journey over a fixed length of land takes longer you must
                                                have to pay more LVT as
                                                LVT = area used x rental value x time
                                                (note the time component)

                                                But to take two figures out of the air:
                                                2,000 people per sq km (city)
                                                200 people per sq km (country)

                                                In the 'city' a catchment area of 30,000 people, enough to justify a
                                                cinema perhaps, would take up 15 sq km - which is the equivalent of a
                                                circle of diameter 4.3km. In the 'country' a circle of diameter 13.8km
                                                (150 sq km) would enclose the same number. Perhaps a journey time across
                                                these diameters might be the same. The fuel use in the country would be
                                                a bit more, but the LVT would be a lot less.

                                                The key to the analysis is the costs of fuel relative to the LVT cost.

                                                4.3km at 30km/h is 8.6 minutes. 8.6 minutes of land, enough for a moving
                                                car (+ extra space at non-peak traffic hours) (perhaps 200,000 GB Pounds
                                                per year) costs 3.20GBP in LVT compared to fuel cost of perhaps 1-2GBP.
                                                13.8km at 70km/h is 11.8 minutes. The land would be worth a fraction and
                                                the LVT cost might end up only being perhaps 0.20GBP with a fuel cost of
                                                perhaps 1.50-2.50GBP.

                                                Certainly there is less *dis*incentive to drive in the countryside than
                                                in the city - unless LVT pushes up fuel costs (and indeed other mileage
                                                related motoring costs) massively.

                                                But as LVT would exist to tackle issues of fundamental justice (the
                                                sharing of the common wealth), then what further argument can we have
                                                against this situation? That it pollutes? Well, surely they polluter is
                                                paying at the rate required by society to ensure justice?

                                                By the way London's excellent congestion charge does appear to be the
                                                closest thing to motoring LVT, until we have mileage and location based
                                                tolling (GPS + computer systems).

                                                Cheers,

                                                Mark

                                                Terence Bendixson wrote:
                                                > Less efficient than land use in a society with non-free transport.
                                                >
                                                > One of the interesting aspects of paying the market price of land when
                                                > travelling on it is that the rate would go up as a travellers moved from a
                                                > rural through a suburban to an urban setting. If, and this is a big if,
                                                > travellers were also obliged to pay as much as was needed to internalise all
                                                > their environmental costs, their choice of travel would be optimised.
                                                > Travellers would shift to ever more environmentally friendly and ever more
                                                > space efficient forms of travel as they penetrated deeper and deeper into a
                                                > metropolitan area.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > There is just one aspect of this that needs careful thought. The costs of
                                                > travelling in rural districts would be the lowest of all. And the scope for
                                                > using a personal vehicle would be less constrained than anywhere else.
                                                >
                                                > Would not this be a very attractive prospect? Would it not encourage people
                                                > to spread themselves thinly across the land?
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