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417Re: [New Mobility/WorldTransport Forum] Info on Free Public Transport or Tran...

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  • Lee Schipper
    Nov 23, 2004
      Trouble is it is very difficult to figure out how many riders are real switchers from cars, how many would have walked (my case
      when I rode in Seattle 10 years ago), and how many are real new trips generated. Not that I would demand 3 digit accuracy,
      but this is an issue if the busses could be better deployed elsewhere..Do we have any figures from any of these systems in any countries
      that give an answer?

      >>> Tramsol@... 11/23/2004 6:02:21 AM >>>
      Many US Cities have RFZ (Ride Free Zones) in the CBD (Central Business
      District) and you pay the fare as you leave the bus after it has left the RFZ. THis
      is a useful tool for keeping MVR (Minimum Vehicle Requirement) down, as the
      biggest burden on any cross-city route is where the bus is delayed by drivers
      collecting or even just processing fares, on the vehicle and other vehicles in
      the traffic queue. By simply allowing walk-on travel during the business day,
      there is considerably less delay to and caused by buses picking up
      passengers, and the cost of this is calculated to be greater than that for collecting
      the fares .
      That essentially is the guiding principle on providing free public transport.
      The Belgian town with the free buses, is hasselt (www.hasselt.be), which put
      in the free bus service because it was cheaper than building a third ring
      road, and it allowed them to rip up the tarmac on the original Green Boulevard,
      constructed in the mid 1800's and eroded from a tree lined circular carriage
      drive to a 4-lane dual carriageway with a few scraggy remnants of the original
      trees. The conversion of the city into a pleasant place with reborn public
      squares, and retail turnover 4 times higher per sq m than in mjor shopping
      districts in Brussels has attracted business to the town, so that the local taxation
      has, in real terms gone down, whilst still paying for the free bus service,
      and reducing the city debt, as the city was no longer burdened by the draining
      and downward spiral of building ever more roads for the relentless supply of
      cars to fill them. We keep trying to tell this to cities like Glasgow where
      roads are on a par with New York in their dominance on the public doimain, and
      lack of maintenance - yet they still think a 6-10 lane motorway carving across
      the south side, with predicted cost of £1bn will be an economic benefit....I
      wish I had their debt manager's skills in convincing my bank manager I need
      money to spend.

      It did take courage - as driven by Steve Steavert the then mayor, who went on
      to become the transport minister for Flanders, and the funding from the
      Flanders Regional sustainability initiative, and equally one should remember that
      80% of the operating costs for all bus services in Flanders is paid by the
      regional government.

      A book on the Green Boulevard Project was published, describing the project,
      and Jan Vanderputte the city transport manager (IIRC) has done a number of
      presentations on this.

      Fundamentally like all Green and 'free' transport there is a prime green
      policy document, one which promises to pay the value printed on it, and folds
      neatly to go into your wallet.

      Dave Holladay
      Transportation Management Solutions
      Glasgow
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