Should public transport be free? Invitation to share your views on World Streets
- sure it should be. And I guess it is worth discussing in order to get our brains going and thinking about new concepts. But from the practical standpoint of making it happen, it's a nonstarter. We ain't got the dough to do it. At least we don't in cities where there is a great deal of transit ridership, such as NYC, Chicago, Washington, or San Francisco.
SF did a study a few years ago, but I have never been able to find the actual study, that came to the conclusion that the cost of getting new equipment and additional drivers was unaffordable, given their budget.On the other hand, there are examples of areas within larger systems, such as the Fareless Square in Portland, where other objectives--congestion reduction, livability, new development and land use intensification--where it works. But to do so, there is a transit withholding tax on wages, assessed to employers. The fareless square in Seattle is under fire by King County, because the City of Seattle only pays a couple million dollars/year to King County Metro for lost revenue, far less than the cost of providing the service.Then there are neighborhood-oriented bus services such as the Orbit service in Tempe. The routes serve multiple neighborhoods in Tempe, and start/end at the Tempe Transportation Center, which has connections to regional bus and light rail service. The Orbit service is free--the regional services are not--paid for by local sales taxes. Declining sales tax revenues have led to serious cutbacks in service. They haven't started charging, because the initial cost of buying fare collection systems is prohibitive, not to mention budget for the cost of processing fares.While I think it's reasonable to develop proposals for certain types of free transit, e.g., I am fond of the Orbit concept, which I call intra-neighborhood/tertiary transit service, I am not going to spend my time advocating for entirely free transit.Instead, I am more interested in pointing out to people how much subsidy is provided to motor vehicles--at least in the U.S.
--- On Tue, 6/22/10, eric britton <eric.britton@...> wrote:
From: eric britton <eric.britton@...>
Subject: WorldTransport Forum Should public transport be free? Invitation to share your views on World Streets
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 6:42 AM
World Streets is pleased to announce publication in the weeks ahead of a series of articles and other media to investigate this idea in-depth in these pages. We would ask our readers to bear in mind that there is a great deal more to this idea, approach than may at first meet the eye. So [...]