funding options for public transport
- The last posting prompted me to examine the paper. One question that came up is
why congestion reduction is shown in Table 2 as a benefit for motorists but not
transit users. Bus users suffer from congestion in the following ways:
1. Not only the people on a bus suffer delays if the bus encounters congestion
but also the people waiting for it further along the line.
2. For less frequent routes, varying congestion prevents the operation of
clockface timetables which enable multi-modal integration.
3. Congestion undermines reliability and forces the operator to use additional
resources (which may be paid for by either the farepayer or the taxpayer) to
Of course, the extent of this benefit is dependent on the existence of a bus
service on the road in question, and indeed congestion reduction on highways not
used by buses may actually be a disbenefit to bus users if it encourages more
traffic on this routes, spilling over onto local roads and perhaps abstracting
patronage from public transport.
The paper reinforces my belief that parking levies are the best way forward. In
addition to the benefits shown, they would help to support a diversity of
shopping facilities -- at present the owners of car-based superstores get an
unfair competitive advantage as they don't have to pay for the social cost of
the traffic they generate.
In places with an active carsharing scheme, the parking levy could be extended
to cover residential parking. Indeed, I regard the potential to do this as one
of the main motivations to support the principle of carsharing and as the means
of making it a mainstream rather than a fringe option.