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11321Re: Fare-free public transit

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  • chbuckeye
    Apr 17, 2009
      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Sandblom" <eriksandblom@...> wrote:

      > This is auto-centric reasoning. 40% of all trips in the USA are made
      > within two miles of the home, and 50% of the working population
      > commutes five miles or less to work (8 km). Eight kilometres takes
      > 20-30 minutes by bicycle. The solution is more cycling, and
      > free local transit works against that.
      > http://www.1world2wheels.org/get-involved
      > Free transit might work in a planned car-free city. But if you're
      > talking about existing places, cycling is the solution to most
      > problems (congestion, health/exercise, pollution, walkability, etc).

      I agree that more cycling would be great, but it isn't possible for everyone. Particularly for the very young and very old, and in extreme weather conditions.

      I cannot see the populations of say, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis -- US cities that see a fair amount of winter snow -- agreeing to move en masse to only walking and cycling. We might see a snowstorm drop six to eight inches (15-20cm) of snow on the roadways between lunch and rush hour. Few of us would want to or be able to walk or cycle 8km in those conditions. On the other hand, mass transit, although surface transportation is slowed somewhat, can continue to function in those conditions. Similar problems may arise on summer afternoons in the heat of the south.

      We're not going to build car-free cities for everyone from scratch and move the entire population into them. We need to transition our existing cities to car-free environments. It probably will take a long time to change the infrastructure, one neighborhood at a time. Fare-free mass transit can actually help encourage the transition by making it easier for people to minimize their use of and ultimately give up their cars. Also, with fewer cars on the road we can narrow our roadways, reducing maintenance costs and increasing buildable area.

      Collecting fares slows down the loading process on the buses in our area (the only mode of mass transit), so eliminating fare collection could actually improve service, which also would increase ridership.
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