Why Free Public Transport is a BAD idea? - Comments
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Author : Anzir Boodoo (IP: 126.96.36.199 , 188.8.131.52)
E-mail : ab@...
I think you are forgetting a couple of other major reasons...
5. Free public transport creates modal shift from walking (and possibly
cycling). For example, the free city centre bus in Leeds (UK) has mostly
replaced trips on foot, not trips by taxi from the railway station (as
intended) or even short hop trips by bus. Free public transport can thus be
a loser on public health grounds (people should be walking and cycling
more), and CO2 emissions (which are higher by bus than on foot)
6. Free public transport may encourage people to travel more, since the only
cost is their time. This will also increase individuals' level of emissions,
not to mention pollution from diesel buses (as they will stop more and we
will need more of them)
7. Free public transport may encourage people to use their city centres more
than local suburban centres (I don't have any evidence for this!), or large
out of town hypermarkets instead of their local suburban centres or local
8. Free public transport is unfair on the "polluter pays principle". All
transport produces CO2 emissions, from breathing when you walk or cycle, to
the fuel use of motorised transport. Are we allowing people to burn fuel and
not pay for the damage this causes?
9. It's well known anecdotally (from observation, if not from studies) that
people value things they pay for, and not necessarily things they get for
free (see "the tragedy of the commons"). What about respect for drivers,
vehicles and infrastructure?
Before you ask, I'm all for cheaper public transport, and believe we should
be subsudising it to an extent, but I don't think making it free is the
answer. I know the mayors and officials of towns like Hasselt in Belgium
(where buses are free) would disagree...
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