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11327Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Fare-free public transit

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  • Jym Dyer
    Apr 19, 2009
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      =v= The official line from Bay Area transit systems is that
      free transit would increase ridership and they're not prepared
      to handle that. The regional commission that handles funding
      for the area allocates most of the money for cars and roads,
      which is the root problem in need of a solution.

      > 1. If BART were free, homeless people might take to riding it
      > all day just for warmth and entertainment. Homeless people are
      > unpleasant to share a train car with (noise and smell).
      > 2. People tend not to value things that are free. Eliminating
      > fares might attract more riders who like to slash seats, spill
      > food, mark the walls, etc.

      =v= These are just opinions, and are more conservative than the
      population of the Bay Area is generally regarded as being. (Of
      course, BART was built primarily for the benefit of white-flight
      suburbanites, so its ridership may skew more conservative than
      the region as a whole.) Blatantly racist opinions have also
      been put into play.

      =v= It's much easier to sneak onto much of San Francisco's
      intra-city Muni system for free than onto BART, but there's no
      particular difference in noises, bad smells, spilled food and
      graffiti between the two systems. Like most transit systems,
      BART and San Francisco's Muni do have policies against all
      these things, with varying degrees of success.

      =v= The Bay Area's many transit systems used to have free days
      3 to 6 times a year, and the systems were overwhelmed with
      folks (not the homeless in particular) riding for entertainment.
      This is quite a different dynamic from being free every day.
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