Free and Accessible Transit Now

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

France will 'ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040'

France plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the country's new environment minister has announced.

Nicolas Hulot made the announcement as he unveiled a series of measures as part of newly elected President Emmanuel Macron's plan to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. 

Mr Hulot said he recognised the target would put pressure on France's car manufacturers, but he said they currently had projects which "can fulfil that promise"....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Hamilton transit doesn’t need privatization

An arm's length commission would solve HSR's problems — not privatization.

As an HSR bus driver for almost 29 years, and the president of ATU 107 — which represents HSR employees — I'm all too familiar with HSR's shortcomings.

Schedules haven't kept up with demands. Large parts of the city are under-served. Holidays, weekends and special-event service is often lacking.

The HSR, under city management, clearly does not work as well as it could and has not kept up with the growing need for transit in our city. Whether this is a problem of bad hiring choices by HR management, or meddling from city bureaucrats, the result is the same. The HSR needs to be a lot better than it is today.

But just because you don't like the direction of the school board, doesn't mean the solution is to privatize public schools.

The Liberals have already privatized Hydro. Should we add privatized health care, too? No.

The HSR belongs to us. All of us. We own it. And because we own it, we can change it....

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

This isn't exactly about "free" transit, but it's about less expensive transit, and it kind of makes sense.

Here is what the TTC should do instead of killing the two-hour transfer on St. Clair

Quote:
On St. Clair, the TTC has been in the midst of a semi-permanent pilot project for the past dozen years where different rules apply: instead of covering a single trip in a single direction, a transfer is good for two hours of travel on the St. Clair line. If you live near St. Clair, you can go to the grocery store, do your shopping, and return home, all on the same fare. You can hop off, visit a newsstand, hop back on and then get off at the café, then get back on and go to the subway. Or whatever you like. One fare is good for two hours of travel.

If you hop off the streetcar to grab a newspaper at your favouite newsstand, then hop back on, it's not like it costs the TTC something extra.  It is a bit perverse that you can travel the entire length of the east-west subway line, pretty much from Etobicoke to Scarborough, on one fare, but if you take a two block trip on a bus, get off, then get back on for two more blocks, it costs you two fares.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..petition

The Ontario Liberals are privatizing your public transit, but there’s still time to stop them and Keep Transit Public!

How is this happening?

Metrolinx, the provincial arm’s length transit planning organization, is only accepting bids from companies that can supply ALL components of the new Hamilton LRT line.

The components of the bid are: Finance, Design, Build, Operate and Maintain. (FDBOM).

Because the HSR doesn’t Finance, Design or Build, they are ineligible to compete in the tendering process, and are out of the running to Operate and Maintain the LRT. This effectively means that only large groups of private companies may even bid on the project. The current procurement process leaves the door open to the new LRT line being entirely privatized.

However, IT’S NOT TOO LATE. If you take action now, we can pressure Metrolinx and the Provincial Liberal Government to make HSR the default operator and maintenance provider of the new Hamilton LRT line....

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I'll tell you one genius thing that HSR did:  instead of laying streetcar tracks on the main routes, they use electic buses that are powered by overhead wires.  It's similar to a TTC streetcar, but where the streetcar only needs one wire (the track is effectively the other), HSR buses need two.  They connect to the buses via two telescoping "feelers", which allow the buses to change lanes.

This means that one stalled bus (or car) doesn't mean a whole long lineup of others that can't get past -- just pop the feelers down on the stalled bus and any behind it can just go around.  It also means that Hamilton doesn't have to rip up and replace track every few years like here in Toronto.  A clever solution, IMHO.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..what a disaster in the making. 

Public Transit, Privatization and the Canada Infrastructure Bank

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) will create a pipeline of privatization for our public transit systems. Corporations will be able to extract long-term profit from public transit fares and public subsidies.

Our governments subsidize public transit because it’s critical infrastructure for our communities: to get us from place to place, to reduce traffic congestion, and to green our environment. When we allow corporations to plan, finance, operate, maintain and own public transit, we funnel ridership fares and government funding into corporate coffers.

The CIB will give unprecedented control and decision-making power over our public transit infrastructure to private sector investors. This means the public interest will take a back seat in transit planning and development.

Many of our public transit systems in recent years have been built using public-private partnerships (P3s). The CIB will open the door to even further privatization, allowing profit to drive public transit planning and decision-making....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..population 89,000

It’s time for Asheville to move to fare-free transit

It’s time for Asheville to join other cities across the state and the country in a move toward fare-free transit.

Transportation via bus provides access to jobs, housing, education, child care and groceries. Right now the fares paid by riders cover 14 percent of what it costs to operate our transit system. That does not include the cost of maintaining the fare boxes, accounting, or printing tickets and passes. It also doesn’t include the cost of buying new buses, installing bus shelters and other capital expenses.

Going fare-free could potentially save the City of Asheville money by eliminating the impending investment in proposed fare boxes, which would cost upwards of $15,000 per bus. Other cities that have gone fare-free realized the fares generated barely cover the expenses of collecting fares, purchasing and maintaining fare boxes, accounting costs, and managing the funds that are collected.

Shortly after moving to Asheville in 2006, Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) was offering fare-free for 90 days. The invitation to attract new riders included the same reasons as it would now:

  • Reduction of transportation costs.
  • Not having to deal with traffic & parking.
  • A more environmentally conscious commute with less energy consumption and emissions.

That was the first time I had ever used a bus, and I wasn’t the only one to accept the invitation as ridership increased more than 60 percent during that time....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Public transit in Montreal should be free

Montreal is one of the most livable cities in the world, in part because of our safe and clean public transit system.

If there’s one policy that would go a long way to improving our quality of life, however, it would be to make all public transit free.

Fiscal conservatives will immediately balk at this suggestion (as they often do at Big Ideas): after all, the Société de transport de Montréal’s 2017 budget notes that $632 million was culled from transit fares. Even if we take into account an offsetting reduction in road repairs that might result from fewer people driving and more people taking public transit, those figures wouldn’t balance: the City of Montreal’s 2017 budget invested $138 million for road repairs.

But consider that there are hidden costs to having so many cars on Montreal roads and multiple benefits to reducing their numbers. It’s important to include these in the equation....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this page was translated by my browser

Dunkirk: buses will be free from 1 September 2018

From 1 September 2018, Dunkerque will become the first French city with more than 200 000 inhabitants to offer free buses at all times....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

13 cities that are starting to ban cars

In 2015, Oslo announced a plan to ban all cars from its city center by 2019. As the Guardian notes, the plan received some protest from businesses, so the city came up with a clever solution.

Instead of kicking out cars, Oslo's council said in June 2017 that it will just make it harder for them to get there by banning parking spaces. A few months earlier, Norway also confirmed that it will phase out diesel and gas-powered cars nationwide by 2025.

But cities in Norway are not the only ones getting ready to take the car-free plunge. Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions from diesel.

Here are 13 cities leading the car-free movement....

WWWTT

Ok I'm going to contribute to this thread through the perspective of China. The reigning king of public transportation!

in my wife's city of Nanning, Guangxi province in the south, a subway line was built. Started a couple years ago and is very long and also goes to the airport!(but not sure if the airport line is complete)

there's also the numerous buses which I hope now aren't so fuckin packed now and you can actually get a seat!

now I'm not sure how the fees work for Nannings subway line, but in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Bangkok(Thailand) they use tokens dispensed at kiosks with a map and u pay by distance travelled. The buses in nanning use the same pay per distance formula so I would imagine the subway will work same way. 

Then there's the hi speed rails that connect the country! This is another jewel in the crown of the Chinese public transit that ties the whole public transit culture together! Right now I believe most if not all major coastal cities from north to south are connected. Tickets for hi speed is cheaper than air flight. And since train stations are located closer to downtown, the slower speed of hi speed rail compared to jet airplanes is offset with quicker boarding times and cheaper cab/bus/subway fairs closer to downtown. And there's still hi speed lines being built as we speak connecting more and more cities into the interior. Now none of this free. But it is significantly cheaper than Canada for sure! I'm adding this because I believe it's foolishly impossible to look at any aspect of public transportation without being fully aware of what's going on in China! And two side notes. There's talk of building tubes for the hi speed rail and creating partial vacuums within so the trains are travelling through less resistance air such as jets at 30k feet. And in Nanning the gas morticycle was banned a few years ago and electric scooters are soooo freakin popular it's not funny! The real zinger is that u can buy a new electric scooter for less than 500 RMB(100$ Canadian)

Pondering

http://rabble.ca/babble/activism/free-and-accessible-transit-now?page=2

Columbus is the first major US city to give downtown workers free public transport passes regardless of who they work for, and whether they intend to use them. Can the programme change the mindset of this car-centric city?...

SID convinced its members – 500-odd business and property owners – to pay for free mass transit passes for their employees. Under the scheme, which was approved last month, the members will be charged an annual rate of three cents per square foot of space they occupy downtown. The fees will go to the Central Ohio Transit Authority (Cota) for their workers’ passes.

The passes can be used on any day and on any journey – not just the commute. The programme is limited to people who work downtown, turning a financial burden into an incentive.

Foolishly limited to workers. What about students and shoppers?

Montreal would be an ideal city to have free public transport downtown. We have many relatively narrow streets due to the limitations of Montreal Island and it's early development. Cars should have been banned from old Montreal decades ago.

 

lagatta4

There should be free public transport everywhere on the island. It may be necessary to prioritise certain groups at the outset, but this should be transitory as an incentive for public transport and disincentive for car use.

Our narrow pre-car streets are a positive, not a negative.

Pondering

lagatta4 wrote:

There should be free public transport everywhere on the island. It may be necessary to prioritise certain groups at the outset, but this should be transitory as an incentive for public transport and disincentive for car use.

Our narrow pre-car streets are a positive, not a negative.

I absolutely agree. That's why I mentioned our narrow streets. Montreal is already a very walkable city compared to many.  Free transportation would quickly reach critical mass justifying massive improvements to the system which would again increase useage.

lagatta4

Traffic is always gridlocked on Mont-Royal, from avenue du Parc to the eastern end near Iberville. There is no way to make one-in-a-car traffic functional there. It is also hell for cycling, but I often take a "longcut" up to Gilford or down to Marie-Anne or Rachel. Before Richard Bergeron sold out, I thought he was dead right about a tram along Mt-Royal, and limited hours for deliveries to shops (this exists in other cities). It is also possible to have "small freight" cars on trams for deliveries.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..includes an audio interview

Free public transit a growing global movement

Free public transit was a rallying cry for many citizens in Montreal back in the 1970’s when it was Canada’s largest city.

At the time, its metro (subway) system was one of the best in the world and the bus routes moved people effectively.

Today, the metro system has had only minor expansions, the same subway cars still make up the majority of the fleet, and breakdowns and delays are becoming more and more common.

Jason Prince, a Montreal Urban Planner says it is time to make public transit free to the more than a million people in Montreal who use it.

With his co-editor, Judith Dellheim of Germany, Price is releasing a book this week entitled: ‘Free Public Transit: And Why We Don’t Pay to Ride Elevators‘.....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free Public Transit for Ottawa, Monday, October 23 at 7:30pm

Solidarity Ottawa’s Eco-Justice Committee is convening a public meeting to launch a campaign for Free and Accessible Public Transit. The speakers at the event, including Stefan Kipfer from Free Transit Toronto Now, will provide insight into challenges and ways forward. Free transit is the future. The movement starts here.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Paris to ban all gas-powered cars by 2030

quote:

With her ambition of taking gasoline-powered cars off the Paris roads by 2030, Hidalgo wants to go faster than the French government. Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot has said he wants to banish from France all fossil fuel cars by 2040.

"This government goal affects the whole French territory, rural zones included," the Paris City Hall statement said. "If we want to achieve this, it implies that the end of diesel and gasoline should take place several years in advance in urban areas, and particularly in big cities."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..pdf file

2017 Annual report

What has ttcriders done since may 2016?

We defended the TTC against major service cuts and got a lot more money Our priority campaign is to get lower fares and better service for riders on the TTC. It’s a struggle in this age of austerity. At the beginning of this year’s budget season, the TTC was facing a 2.6% budget cut despite significant cost increases, including the roll out of PRESTO and the opening of the TorontoYork Spadina Subway Extension. There was a very high likelihood of major service cuts and fare increases. Here’s some highlights of our work on the budget:

• We shared our story that riders matter and Toronto needs great and affordable transit on mainstream media again and again and again.

• We uncovered and exposed the rampant overcrowding on all streetcar routes and 27% of bus routes. The TTC should have increased service on routes that faced overcrowding but instead chose to simply cut service on less busy routes.

• We organized deputations at City Hall in November and a 150-person “Race to the Bottom” mock run to demand councilors stop the cuts that hurt riders.

• We organized a day of action on January 30th with members handing out postcards and talking to riders at TTC stops across the city.

• We joined the Commitment 2 Community (C2C) coalition and their work to address poverty, and we participated in C2C’s “Have a Heart” rally at City Hall in February

We campaigned against the TTC cuts from September through to the final vote in February. In the end, the TTC budget increased by $54 million! While this was a huge achievement, it just “keeps the lights on” and does not provide any increase in service levels on existing routes.

If we want to reverse the continued drop in ridership and build an affordable world class public transit system, we need more funding, not cuts.

To join our Fair Deal for Riders campaign, please come to a Campaigns Committee meeting. The meetings are held from 6.00pm to 8.30pm on the first Monday of every month of 720 Bathurst St. Contact Bill Worrell for more information by emailing worrellbill@ gmail.com.

We got a low income pass

This year we were successful in getting Toronto’s first low income transit pass.

This decision was entirely the result of years and years of grassroots organizing by TTCriders, the Fair Fare Coalition and our many allies at C2C, Ontario Chinese Seniors Association, Canadian Association of Retired People - Toronto, people are eligible, and about 260,000 people will use the program.... 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Case for Free Public Transit

Metrolinx recently announced a program to discount TTC fare for those transferring from the GO Transit system. (Other TTC riders and those transferring from other systems get nothing.) It’s a little gift that will cost about $18 million, but in the greater scheme of things, it’s a pretty weak gesture.

I say, go big or go home: In 2009, the economist Irwin Kellner argued in a MarketWatch column that public transit should be free. The sociologist Eric Olin Wright has made the same case. Free. Now we’re talking.

Kellner argued that we shouldn’t think of transit as a business that needs to recover its costs from its income. Public transit is not a closed system. It’s a service that feeds the entire economy and enables a society to thrive, because it provides that essential urban good: mobility.....

lagatta4

It also means a saving on enforcement of fare payment. There could still be some form of "police" on transport vehicles, but they could be devoted more to ensuring the peace and also helping people in difficulty. In many places the transport authority police have a reputation for singling out visible minority youth and those who look like "street people". This could mean a more socially positive role.

It would also make it much easier for people on low incomes and/or limited mobility to shop, take part in cultural activities and appointments. Many people find it difficult to go to a library, for example, in the winter cold.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..further to what lagatta is saying...several cities and towns that have free transit experience the financial cost being near equal to the cost of collecting fares. not quite equal but more to the point, not requiring a huge injection of capital. 

Sean in Ottawa

epaulo13 wrote:

..further to what lagatta is saying...several cities and towns that have free transit experience the financial cost being near equal to the cost of collecting fares. not quite equal but more to the point, not requiring a huge injection of capital. 

I once did this math for Ottawa which is a very car-friendly city with increasing difficulty managing traffic in the small downtown.

Fare collection is profitable -- in other words free transit would not be revenue neutral. However, the cost of an affordable levy on all cars plated in the city would cover this shortfall easily. Those driving cars would be given an incentive to use public transit since it would be free for them just like anyone else. Leaving aside the benefit for those without a car, drivers gaining free transit for a small annual fee would come out ahead. The fact that they would finance transit for everyone is compelling.

Public transit systems can be financed by the addition of a sticker on cars plated within the city. Enforcement is easy since the technology to tell if a car is plated within the city or not is already there. $350/year per car in Ottawa was enough to cover the entire cost of transit at the time I looked. The investment would also benefit tourism and business as more people could move freely. It would have benefits to the environment, save on road repair and construction and reduce pressure for more parking. The social benefits are significant with respect to the mobility of people who have marginal incomes.

I do not think there is any reason at this time for municipalities to take a significantly increased position in subsidizing public transit when cars travel the roads without increased taxation. There is little as far as a credible arguement to suggest that those driving a car cannot bear an increased $350 per year when they can save by not using their cars and taking advantage of the free transit. The tax is quite small compared to the other costs of driving.

We cannot assume that free transit would not increase the total cost of transit in a city so you cannot just assume that taking the cost of fare collection away would work within an existing model of transit cost assumptions. It would be expected to increase ridership and expense. We would want this. This is why any model where you make transit free would require something like a registration cost for cars in order to provide the additional revenue needed by the transit system. However, there is nothing wrong with this approach and the amounts are not prohibitive.

I really wish we could head in this direction.

I have a car myself and would welcome an annual fee in exchange for the many times I could leave my car at home and take public transit.

All present efforts seem directed to replacing having a car which will not work for many people. We need a model whereby those with cars have an incentive to use them less if you want to make a major difference. This is why having car owners pay into the system once a year in exchange for free transit is better than trying to make them give up the car altogether. those people will increasingly use their cars more sparingly enjoying the free transit as do their fellow residents.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
several cities and towns that have free transit experience the financial cost being near equal to the cost of collecting fares. not quite equal but more to the point, not requiring a huge injection of capital.

I'd love to see some numbers for that, because I'm sorry but it seems a bit fanciful.

Like suggesting that grocery stores could do just about as well giving groceries away, since they would no longer need to pay cashiers.

If a salary for ticket booth attendants (and fare enforcement and even the accounting and admin involved in this) makes up such a high proportion of the cost for transit (among and compared to fuel, driver salaries, maintenance, fleet renewal, facilities etc.) then that would warrant its own discussion, I think.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i've posted some here in this thread. eta: to be exact i didn't post the numbers but a choice of a city or town to do free because the cost not being a huge factor when eliminating collection.

cco

Well, you can start with the farebox recovery ratio. You'd have to drill down into individual agency operating budgets in detail to find out how much collection and enforcement cost, though, and having tried that last year, I can attest that those budgets are opaque as hell. In my more cynical moments, I'd say that transit agencies are happier when the public (and politicians who vote on their budgets) can't easily determine which part of their budget goes where.

Sean in Ottawa

cco wrote:

Well, you can start with the farebox recovery ratio. You'd have to drill down into individual agency operating budgets in detail to find out how much collection and enforcement cost, though, and having tried that last year, I can attest that those budgets are opaque as hell. In my more cynical moments, I'd say that transit agencies are happier when the public (and politicians who vote on their budgets) can't easily determine which part of their budget goes where.

It has been a few years but I had the numbers of Ottawa. At that time they were not that close and required $350 from every car owner in the city to balance. With the two together it worked, however.

lagatta4

If car owners eventually use their cars less and less  (for "major" shopping and excursions outside the city) eventually that could encourage them to abandon car ownership and opt for carshare schemes.

Sean in Ottawa

lagatta4 wrote:

If car owners eventually use their cars less and less  (for "major" shopping and excursions outside the city) eventually that could encourage them to abandon car ownership and opt for carshare schemes.

Indeed. But the first step is to have drivers finance the public transit system.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
several cities and towns that have free transit experience the financial cost being near equal to the cost of collecting fares. not quite equal but more to the point, not requiring a huge injection of capital.

I'd love to see some numbers for that, because I'm sorry but it seems a bit fanciful.

Like suggesting that grocery stores could do just about as well giving groceries away, since they would no longer need to pay cashiers.

If a salary for ticket booth attendants (and fare enforcement and even the accounting and admin involved in this) makes up such a high proportion of the cost for transit (among and compared to fuel, driver salaries, maintenance, fleet renewal, facilities etc.) then that would warrant its own discussion, I think.

Public transit systems are often extensively subsidized so it is possible that the cost of collecting fares is often similar to the fares collected at the fare box.

If transit fares were eliminated, the demand for transit would greatly increase and this in turn would require spending much more on new buses, LRT's, subways, transit operators, mechanics, etc.... As it is, most transit systems in large metro areas in Canada are running near capacity. So fares on public transit in most of Canada are currently not set to increase profits but to limit demand. It would be interesting to see how much demand there would be for transit if it were free. I suspect the auto industry and the petroleum industry would vigorously oppose a shift to free public transit even though it would greatly benefit society as a whole and the environment.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
If transit fares were eliminated, the demand for transit would greatly increase and this in turn would require spending much more on new buses, LRT's, subways, transit operators, mechanics, etc...

I live in Toronto, so I'll use the TTC for my example.  A trip to work costs $3.25, cash, and the trip home the same.

If someone chooses to drive their car to work, rather than take transit, I have my doubts that it's because the cost of buying, fuelling, maintaining, insuring and parking that car works out to less than $6.50 per day.  So there must be something else.  Do you think we could talk about that something else?  Including what public transit is doing to address that something else?

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
If transit fares were eliminated, the demand for transit would greatly increase and this in turn would require spending much more on new buses, LRT's, subways, transit operators, mechanics, etc...

I live in Toronto, so I'll use the TTC for my example.  A trip to work costs $3.25, cash, and the trip home the same.

If someone chooses to drive their car to work, rather than take transit, I have my doubts that it's because the cost of buying, fuelling, maintaining, insuring and parking that car works out to less than $6.50 per day.  So there must be something else.  Do you think we could talk about that something else?  Including what public transit is doing to address that something else?

For many people driving is much more convenient than taking public transit and even if public transit were free they would still drive. Transit could try to make their service more convenient for more people but the suburban layout of much of our cities makes that difficult and expensive. It seems to me that many people who commute from the suburbs are against inexpensive or free transit for people living in more urban transit convenient areas.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i'm slowly going through this thread and will re post things related to cost. like this from last year.

Calgary Transit to introduce sliding scale for low-income passes

What can some low-income Calgarians do with $5.15? They can ride Calgary Transit for a month knowing they’ll get from point A to B without having to pinch pennies.

On Monday, councillors voted to reach deep into city coffers and expand the lower-income pass offering by adopting a “banded” system. This will change the current $44 pass to one that's price dependant on income, according to the low income cut-off (LICO) scale.

quote:

The move came fully-funded thanks to the provincial government’s low-income transit grant of $4.5 million annually for three years.  There's no additional cost to the city for this program. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free Public Transit

..in the above video the mayor of avesta, sweden population 23,000, says the loss of revenue from tickets almost equaled the cost of administration.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from the euro parliment. part 1 runs about 3 hrs same with part 2 longer 3.5 hrs. you can change the language by switching the camera.

Free Public Transport for a Sustainable Future - Part 1

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..one of the first things talked about in the euro parli piece was mobility related to poverty. the speaker said there was a hundred million people in poverty in europe. 

Kingston gives welfare recipients free public transit in 2017

quote:

Starting January 1, 2017, Thayer and others on welfare won’t have to worry as much about the outdoor elements with free, unlimited bus passes.

“The inability to access necessary transportation can have a significant impact on the ability for someone to obtain and maintain employment,” said a staff report.

It’s expected that up to 3,000 clients a month will benefit from the pilot program.

quote:

The costs will be covered from a discretionary employment fund that’s provided by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. The fund already gives OW recipients money to cover their travel-related costs.

About $200,000 of those discretionary benefits will be shifted to Kingston Transit to help cover lost revenues from the free transit program. In fact, city officials estimate a net increase in revenue of $119,000 even after free bus rides are offered to eligible OW clients.

The city decided to offer free transit for one year only because the province has indicated that it may be altering OW program funding and employment expectations in 2017 or 2018. Staff will report back to council by next September with recommendations regarding the future of the program.

Kingston already offers free transit to all high school students in Grades 9 to 12.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

epaulo13 wrote:

..further to what lagatta is saying...several cities and towns that have free transit experience the financial cost being near equal to the cost of collecting fares. not quite equal but more to the point, not requiring a huge injection of capital. 

I once did this math for Ottawa which is a very car-friendly city with increasing difficulty managing traffic in the small downtown.

Fare collection is profitable -- in other words free transit would not be revenue neutral. However, the cost of an affordable levy on all cars plated in the city would cover this shortfall easily. Those driving cars would be given an incentive to use public transit since it would be free for them just like anyone else. Leaving aside the benefit for those without a car, drivers gaining free transit for a small annual fee would come out ahead. The fact that they would finance transit for everyone is compelling.

Public transit systems can be financed by the addition of a sticker on cars plated within the city. Enforcement is easy since the technology to tell if a car is plated within the city or not is already there. $350/year per car in Ottawa was enough to cover the entire cost of transit at the time I looked. The investment would also benefit tourism and business as more people could move freely. It would have benefits to the environment, save on road repair and construction and reduce pressure for more parking. The social benefits are significant with respect to the mobility of people who have marginal incomes.

I do not think there is any reason at this time for municipalities to take a significantly increased position in subsidizing public transit when cars travel the roads without increased taxation. There is little as far as a credible arguement to suggest that those driving a car cannot bear an increased $350 per year when they can save by not using their cars and taking advantage of the free transit. The tax is quite small compared to the other costs of driving.

We cannot assume that free transit would not increase the total cost of transit in a city so you cannot just assume that taking the cost of fare collection away would work within an existing model of transit cost assumptions. It would be expected to increase ridership and expense. We would want this. This is why any model where you make transit free would require something like a registration cost for cars in order to provide the additional revenue needed by the transit system. However, there is nothing wrong with this approach and the amounts are not prohibitive.

I really wish we could head in this direction.

I have a car myself and would welcome an annual fee in exchange for the many times I could leave my car at home and take public transit.

All present efforts seem directed to replacing having a car which will not work for many people. We need a model whereby those with cars have an incentive to use them less if you want to make a major difference. This is why having car owners pay into the system once a year in exchange for free transit is better than trying to make them give up the car altogether. those people will increasingly use their cars more sparingly enjoying the free transit as do their fellow residents.

Anyone who lives in Ottawa and has to drive a car around it on a regular basis has my condolences.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

cco wrote:

Well, you can start with the farebox recovery ratio. You'd have to drill down into individual agency operating budgets in detail to find out how much collection and enforcement cost, though, and having tried that last year, I can attest that those budgets are opaque as hell. In my more cynical moments, I'd say that transit agencies are happier when the public (and politicians who vote on their budgets) can't easily determine which part of their budget goes where.

..i’d like to expand on this a bit more.

..free transit makes sense in a whole lot of ways. the issue of cost, i believe, for the most part, is a false one. free transit is a political issue. this is not really talked about and usually assumed that administrations are doing their work for the public good. i don’t believe this is reality.

..last feb i went back to van for a month. translink is the system there and while it is a part of bc transit management has been farmed out. in turn overpaid and heavy handed transit security is contracted by translink. last i heard it was contracted to a us firm that does/did security work in the iraq green zone. it’s main purpose is to see that no one escapes paying the fare. turnstiles were placed at the entrances to rapid transit. an multimillion electronic fare card system was brought into existence. and the latest when i went back in feb was fare card machines. these beast are stand alone machines 4 to 5 ft high and about 3 ft wide. all they do is take money and upgrade fare cards or spit out tickets. these machines require constant maintenance. this is plunder! here in wpg they have these electronic cards. you can go say to a 711 and they have a 2x3 inch internet box that upgrades the card.

..plunder like the site c dam. the bc liberal gov was expert at plunder and raised it to heights unrealized. now i also don’t believe that van is the only place this plunder of public services is going on. but what the answer to this is community organizing. both to end the plundering and force free transit.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Air pollution blamed for 500,000 early deaths in Europe in 2014

quote:

Nitrogen dioxide, mostly from vehicle exhausts, cut short an estimated 78,000 lives across the same 41 countries. Ground-level ozone was the other major killer, claiming an estimated 14,400 lives prematurely.

lagatta4

Indeed.

By the way, what exists in terms of bus lines in Kingston?

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Pink metro line and a paradigm shift for Montreal

In Montreal, the last metro station built on the island opened in 1988. In the three decades since, the number of vehicles on our roads has skyrocketed, with cars — the potent emblem of the age of the individual — today accounting for 70 per cent of all trips across the metropolitan region.

Inequalities soared in tandem with the planet-warming emissions coming from the road network. With 39 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions coming from transportation, this poses the greatest obstacle to our climate efforts.

In Montreal, lower-income neighbourhoods nearly doubled between 1970 and 2005 to reach 36 per cent of the metropolitan territory, while middle-income neighbourhoods declined from nearly two-thirds to just under half. Wealthy neighbourhoods were unaffected, and the ultra-wealthy grew slightly.

This story should sound familiar to readers. We can change the names and scales of places — country, province, state, or city — yet the narrative seems to remain stubbornly the same.

quote:

The great urban transformation

In this light, mayoral candidate Valérie Plante’s proposed Pink metro line, which would target some of the most disadvantaged areas of the island, is a welcome proposal. Taken within the context of Projet Montréal’s complete platform, it appears as even more: it is an emblematic policy that singularly captures the party’s push for a paradigm shift, and crystallizes a vision of society that breaks with the destructive and atomizing urban development of the latter 20th century.

quote:

What kind of city will Montreal choose this century? Will it find its inspiration in cities like Stockholm, where 100 metro stations serve 1.4 million inhabitants? Will we look to Stuttgart, Germany, with its 200 stations for a population barely half of Montreal’s 1.7 million? Or instead, will we continue to live in our 20th-century bubble, blocking our ears and dragging our feet while the world’s urban leaders point the way to a viable future?

Tipping the balance: The fast train to a safe and democratic future

Paris just announced its intention to ban all gas-powered cars by 2030. Cities across Europe, from Oslo to Copenhagen to Madrid, are moving in the same direction. Why are such policies not political suicide for their proponents? It’s not because of anything in the municipal water supply. It’s because citizens there have had alternatives for years that have rendered car use more an option than a necessity — and an increasingly costly and cumbersome one at that.

The message is simple. Before Montrealers get to the point of accepting such restrictions on their cars, they must first be offered superior alternatives. We must build our way fast towards a critical mass, so we can finally challenge the culture of car dominance and open people’s minds to the idea of a world with few cars.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

I am generally for Metro expansion, but I am not crazy about the pink line proposed by Project Montreal. They plan redundant stops between the green line and the orange line in the west part of downtown (east of Lionel-Groulx). Nothing addresses the overloading on the 100 Cremazie bus system. We don't only have to think about where poor people live. We also have to think about where they work.

Not only that, but to get rich and upper-middle class people out of their cars we have to provide convenient service for them as well. This is why I am thinking a blue line extension through Cote St. Luc could go out to Ville St. Laurent while addressing the 100 Cremazie bus problem.

Also, if you look at where you could extend the green line to Baie d'Urfe (sic.) along the south of the island by the river, there is a string of taxi and bus centres. It would serve a wealthier crowd, but you would still get cars off the road. On the East end, the green line could head out to Repentigny.

There is some talk that the Orange line is overloaded, but compared to Toronto it is still not so bad. Still, if you wanted to do something about that New York's double-tracking with an express line might be a good idea. (Cote Vertu-Snowdon-Lionel Groulx-Berri UQAM-Jean Talon) With half the population of Toronto, we have about an equal number of subway/Metro stations. Not as intense as some cities in Europe, which we should still emulate but still better than anything else in Canada. And yes, they need more elevators for people in wheelchairs. 200 stations would be great.

Sean in Ottawa

The issues with each city are quite different.

I cannot with any authority speak to the situation in other cities although I have some awareness of how Ottawa is different than some of them.

Ottawa has a compact downtown. The logistics of getting there depend on where you live. If you are in Kanata or Orleans, I suspect that you can get downtown faster by bus on the transitway than you can drive. I know that if you are out of Toronto the same is true. So people in these areas are encouraged to use transit to save time.

If you live south, and not near the transitway things are much more difficult. It would take me more than double the time to take transit as it woudl be to drive. This leads to different calculations than cost alone.

Ottawa transit is designed to get people downtown in the morning and out in the afternoon. If you are going any direction or to any location other than this, things are difficult.

So in moving people to transit you have several considerations:

1) Cost -- and this is divided into two: cost if you can replace your private transportation with public only and running cost if you use public transit when you already have a car at home.

All the discussion on cost that I see from the propagandists relates to how much you can save if you do away with the car. If you need to have a car for any reason (as I do) then this does not apply. The costs quickly move against you if you are trying to use your car less and combine the two. Public policy here tends to be inefficient and inconsistent. If you want to move people to public transit you need to get them on it while they have a car and build up a sense that they can rely on it. So the first step is to make a case for drivers to use the system. The city has terrible issues with parking  in the tiny downtown, gridlock, road construction and danger for cyclists who live close to downtown. It spends a great deal on mitigation in the downtown but does not manage connections to transit. If you are out of downtown you need one of two things: routes that are reasonable from your home or parking that is reasonable at the main transitway stations. Ottawa has niether. If you want people to stop taking their cars downtown in Ottawa you do three things: 1) Build large areas for parking at the stations outside of downtown so people can get from where there is no good transit and then get on at park and rides. Presently there is insufficient parking in these lots. 2) You make this parking free so people are encouraged to hook in there. Presently monthly rates are so high that it makes little sense to not keep going 3) You remove daily maximum rates at downtown lots in order to make parking reasonable for meetings and people doing business downtown but more costly for people commuting and parking all day. An increase in parking rates downtown can fund a reduction in revenue from rates at transit lots. Transit lots are for people already paying to use the system and there is no need to charge them to use the system and then again for parking if their home is not serviced with good enough connecting routes to go from there. 4) It is high time public transit gets financed by car users so starting to introduce an annual fee on cars plated in the city should begin. I prefer to go all the way and finance public transit completely in this way and remove all fare collection but we could start with a $50/year levy and a reduction in fares or at least a levy to cover the costs of parking at the suburban transit stations.

Instead of fighting those who live outside the city centre, many who do so becuase they cannot afford to live downtown (if you have a family you are not fitting in a bachelor pad), work with them and give them a rational path to using transit rather than one that is punative without resolving the issues.

2) Time -- this is also divided into two: Time on the trip and time you can schedule trips.

At present Ottawa offers a good time option for transit East-West along the transitway but a poor offering as soon as you are off of it. Without the parking mentioned above where people can drive to efficient points, the transit offering is unattractive to many. The city has to invest in having enough out of hours transit to accomodate the needs of people moving outside or against rush hour if they want people not to use cars.

Ottawa is investing in the LRT which should make the commutes faster which should help this issue but again only along those routes. Without an adequate feeder system and or parking the transit will only be meaningful for those with access to the stations.

3) Connections -- is there a reasonable route with public transit from where you are to where you need to go. You have to figure out the amenities for each community and have rational routes for people to get there.

Where I live there is no bus to the closest grocery store which is about 4km away. There is no reason why there is no route from my community in that direction. We are forced to go the long way around and it would take an hour to get there by bus. The city has many situations like this. (For those who know Ottawa, the example is that there are no buses that go up Conroy and then down Walkley connecting into the transit station at Billings. Food Basics is on Walkley. Everyone in my community has to take a route either to Elmvale which is north East or to South Keys which is South West. No route to the North West is available even though that is a busy direction with many wanting to go there and excellent road that could accomodate. These roads have buses on them they just turn around and do not go there.

This is just one example and there are many. I present this in case people want to look on a map for an illustration.

For now Ottawa is jacking the parking downtown, building service to certain stations and ignoring the rest of the problem. This means people will keep their cars if they cannot afford to live near good transit.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I don't disagree with you regarding the use of "park and ride" lots, but I do recall them being debated here now and again, with some folk believing that they just promote car use, or advantage drivers, or somehow adulterate the purity of a transit system.  Me, I think that meeting a goal halfway is better than not meeting it at all.  And I don't drive and never have, so I'm not just looking out for my own interests when I say that.

I also basically agree with your points re: time and connections.  The "ethical/civic-minded/altruistic" angle might add a tiny incentive, but realistically I think public transit needs to show that it really is "the Better Way" and not just the more environmentally friendly way.

So I think that public transit needs to be:

1.  Affordable.  Relative to owning, fuelling, maintaining, insuring and parking a car, I think it's already got this one in the bag.  That said, "zone" fares might make some sense.  Why should it cost exactly the same to travel 11km and to travel 200m (one stop)?

2.  Reliable.  Sure, it's the real world and "stuff happens" but some people need to get to work ON TIME, no excuses.

3.  Adaptible.  Surely transit organizations understand "rush hour" the way restaurants understand "lunch time" and "dinner time", but I can't remember the last time I had to visit four restaurants at dinner time in order to eat, but I remember the last time I watched four fully packed streetcars breeze past my stop because it was 5pm.

4.  Sensible.  You'd never again eat at a restaurant if, right after the appetizer, they kicked you out so they could serve some other diners.  So what sense does it make for commuters to be kicked off a bus or streetcar so it can go and pick up passengers somewhere else?  This kind of ties in with #3.  Figure it out.

5.  Comfortable.  I don't expect airline-quality amenities on my ride, but it seems like standing with my face pressed into a fellow commuter's armpit is supposed to be no big thing.  Well, it's a big thing.  I think it also ties in with #3.

And one last thought (though I don't really expect or want any transit organization to change policy on this) is that there's one thing that's definitely different about a 50 minute commute in a private vehicle and the (probably cheaper, possibly shorter) transit commute:  you can smoke in your car.  I sometimes wonder how many people consider that when choosing to drive?

 

cco

Mr. Magoo wrote:

That said, "zone" fares might make some sense.  Why should it cost exactly the same to travel 11km and to travel 200m (one stop)?

Well, the metro train is going the same distance whether I ride it one stop (as I often do, having mild mobility issues) or end-to-end. With the shorter distances, the competition isn't driving, it's walking. What zone fares do in practice is penalize people who live or work farther from downtown, and while some of those (typically the most likely to drive and the least likely to use transit) are big-house-owning affluent suburbanites, others are poor working-class people who can't afford to live close to where they work.

I have a friend who lives on the South Shore, which in addition to having a different bus agency has its one and only metro station in a different fare zone. It used to be accessible with a Montréal monthly pass, but then the extension to Laval opened and cost more, and when the Lavallois complained that they were being treated unfairly, the STM decided to hike the Longueuil price as well. So while our monthly passes could get us to either tip of Montréal Island without paying a cent extra, when we make the far shorter round-trip to Saint-Lambert, we're $19 out of pocket. That's how zone fares work in practice. They turn municipal borders one could cross easily in a car into fiscal barriers for transit users.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Well, the metro train is going the same distance whether I ride it one stop (as I often do, having mild mobility issues) or end-to-end.

Agreed.  But there's an opportunity cost to your seat/space.  If you use it for the whole ride, end-to-end, then many others cannot use it for a partial ride.  So why should they pay the same for that finite seat/space as you do?  Six people (just as an example) can ride one sixth of the route, or one person can ride the entire route, yes?

cco

This is the problem with using the price mechanism for provision of social services. My week in the hospital prevents seven other people from spending the night in that room (if they space out their injuries carefully), but Canadians have decided that health care should be allocated based on individual need, not equal time allocation. Similarly, when it comes to transit fares, people are coming up with solutions based on conflicting inputs: what's an equitable share of the cost of operation and expansion, what's "frivolous" versus "worthy" when it comes to trips, how to set the fare to discourage suburbanites from overburdening the system, whether higher-income people should be prioritized to get them out of cars, and so forth.

Since this thread is about free and accessible transit, and since I believe in free and accessible transit, I'd say the actual question is: What's it worth to provide the ability for everyone in the metropolitan area to get where they want to go without driving, whether that's because they can't afford a car, they don't want the hassle of parking, or the use of private cars is leading to an environmental apocalypse? To me, that's worth a lot, including removing fares.

Not everyone agrees. At a meeting with some NDP types a few months back, my bringing up free transit was met with the effective response "Poor people take transit because they have no alternative, so eliminating fares won't encourage higher transit use." I was rather dismayed at that answer; if someone's so poor they live in a low-income suburb and take transit out of necessity, wouldn't an extra $1500/year in disposable income help them a great deal?

WWWTT

This thread is titled wrong. Or everyone commenting here is engaged in slight thread drift. 

Let me explain. Title of thread is free and accessible transit right. But everyone seems concerned only with LOCAL transit? What about commuting from Hamilton to downtown TO? Or Peterborough to downtown TO. Or the equivalent for other Canadian cities. 

As well, what about Toronto to Montreal? Does free and/or transit debate apply with these longer commutes? And if not, than why?

I think this is an important part of the debate and can not be brushed aside. Especially in a large country like Canada (but perhaps the size of Canada is irrelevant?)

I believe transit cannot be pulled apart in terms of distance and addressed in separate parts, ignoring long distance travel. 

 

Sean in Ottawa

WWWTT wrote:

This thread is titled wrong. Or everyone commenting here is engaged in slight thread drift. 

Let me explain. Title of thread is free and accessible transit right. But everyone seems concerned only with LOCAL transit? What about commuting from Hamilton to downtown TO? Or Peterborough to downtown TO. Or the equivalent for other Canadian cities. 

As well, what about Toronto to Montreal? Does free and/or transit debate apply with these longer commutes? And if not, than why?

I think this is an important part of the debate and can not be brushed aside. Especially in a large country like Canada (but perhaps the size of Canada is irrelevant?)

I believe transit cannot be pulled apart in terms of distance and addressed in separate parts, ignoring long distance travel. 

 

Excellent point. When it comes to getting cars ofthe road in some cases critical. I agree.

Sean in Ottawa

I do not agree with zone fares -- they are cumbersome to calculate and the longer the commute the more value it is that the person take transit than drive.

 

The issue of park and ride being an incentive to cars is a bad approach. Park and ride recognizes that transit to homes in some areas is not present or the service is not high enough. Allowing them to participate by getting on at the closest viable stop is important and, very important, reduces traffic going downtown. Getting people to take transit and use it from a park and ride is good preparation for the person, when the service is there to take it from home. Park and ride should be free in my opinion.

The economics of transit, like park and ride, would do better to work with drivers instead of considering them all evil enemies. This means transit should be designed to be economical for those already with a car. This is the reason I would have car owners pay into transit as a part of plating their cars so they do not pay again to use it.

I disagree that reduced fares are the ultimate answer since the fare is more inefficient the lower it is in terms of collection. Go the whole way and make transit no charge for riders and finance it through car ownership and public investment. The public investment is already there so you just have to divide the balance by the number of cars plated in the area and recoup that.

Some of the additional volume will require added investment but some of that volume may also involve running buses that are more full. It is not clear that the additional demand woudl be very significant in cost as some efficiencies will also happen.

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