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Free and Accessible Transit Now

epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009


Free Transit flash-mob in downtown Toronto.


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epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Free and Accessible Transit Now:

Toward A Red-Green Vision for Toronto

Free and Accessible Transit Campaign, GTWA

Transit is a critical issue for people in Toronto, as in all major urban areas. More is at stake than reducing traffic congestion and gridlock. Transit and general mobility are intimately related to larger issues in capitalist society: how goods and services are produced and delivered; the location of and nature of jobs; where and how we live and travel; issues of class, inequality and oppression related to race, age, gender, and sexuality; climate justice; and the very shape and nature of our democratic institutions.

The GTWA Free Transit initiative opens the door to a broader transformation of urban life and the current social system. Our ‘Red-Green’ vision is socialist, based on the working-class, environmentally just, internationalist, and transformative.....

http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/750.php



Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Toronto? Isn't that the city governed by Rob Ford? Laughing


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005
Not only accessible but "free," too? Nothing is free.

epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

..their looking to build a new world. from the bottom up. something that came out of the occupy movement and the arab spring also europe. i find it quite exhillarating. the resistence across the board is exploding. the crisis guarantees it will grow and the more it grows the more it permiates every aspect of society. this direct democracy stuff is our last best chance. tell me you don't see that? if not what do you see that can save us from the insanity of capitalism?


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

Sven, of course nothing is "free" as in not costing anything, but you know very well that here, "free" is used as shorthand to mean users don't have to pay individually each time they use public transport. 

As in free public education, free healthcare, and the biggie here, free roads, as in roads that don't require a toll to be paid every time they are taken. 

We could say "socialised" (remembering that most roads, dear to the right, are also socialised) but that would piss off neocons far more. 

This is also an important struggle against the environmental and social destruction (pollution, sprawl) caused by a system centred on individual private motor vehicles. 


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

..i see this thinking as a way of getting around the ndp/labour leadership. this broadens the discussion to include the 99% on a more equal footing and not hidden behind walls of bureacurcy. this feels right to me.

quote:

Public Ownership and Democratic Planning

Free Transit can only happen if transit is fully public in ownership and operation – it is not compatible with private-sector logic. But public-sector bureaucracies and even unionized workers may think this demand threatens the financial viability of public transit. Achieving it will require a strong alliance among public transit workers and their unions, transit users and all supporters of robust and expanded public transit. The goal is not to make public managers more powerful, but to democratize planning and administration by empowering transit workers and users.

Free Transit is in the medium- and long-term interest of transit workers. It would end fare-policing, a major source of tensions between transit workers and users; lead to increased transit employment; and raise transit workers’ importance and prestige in users’ lives.

Democratic planning must be introduced, from local neighbourhoods through to high-level co-ordination and planning. Regional and inter-regional transit needs can also be articulated from below, by creating regional democratic planning bodies that are mandated to improve transit – not to take resources from transit-dependent but underserved areas (such as inner suburbs) or transit-dense areas (such as downtown).


abnormal
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Joined: Aug 18 2001

Sven wrote:
Not only accessible but "free," too? Nothing is free.

Didn't you know?  "Free" simply means "someone else is paying for it".


mmphosis
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Joined: Apr 28 2009

There are lots of things that are free as in doesn't cost any money.  The notion of private ownership at all costs:  the ideas that one must pay for everything, and that nothing is allowed to be publicly available simply don't work.  So much energy is wasted by corporations trying to "protect" obscene profits and bar people from freely gathering.

I have heard that the energy alone from the flaring off of gas in Aberta is enough to heat every home in Canada.  This energy is free but it is wasted.  I don't support the gas industry but this is a very obvious example of something that is free but is wasted.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

abnormal wrote:

Sven wrote:
Not only accessible but "free," too? Nothing is free.

Didn't you know?  "Free" simply means "someone else is paying for it".

No, actually, in this case, what "free" means is that everyone pays for it, according to their ability to pay, whether they use it or not, because it's a public good.  Like the way we pay for our "free" health care.


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

..in vancouver transit management has been privatized. we now have a transit that operates on a business model. transit funding has squandered millions on putting in turnstiles for “security” purposes meaning bar those trying to get on free. i figure the loss at the out most is no more than $100,000 for the whole year..if that. but in no way justifies the cost and maintenance of this “security”.

..there is a transit card that's coming out soon that you need to swipe getting on a bus or skytrain and when you get off. both these measures work to clog the smooth flow of users yet it is sold as benefiting the users. the tracking ability of the card has been a concern with me. they're up to no good i suspect. they also just raised transit fare. $91 for a monthly bus pass 1 zone from $81.

..advertizing has been expanded to obscene levels. the stations are inundated with shit and i once saw a digital ad they were testing out on the side of they bus that fit between front and back doors, in the space below the windows. big, bright and flashing it was. in france, marseille each station had a theme. one had pictures of fruit and veggies. another had a history of the subway, models included. no ads!

..they are twinning port mann bridge because the single bridge could not handle the increasing amount of vehicles. which the cost of, someone worked out, is enough to put 400 new buses on the road and pay fuel costs and labour for 30 years.

..as a user i'm really unhappy at this present direction. it's not practical and works to benefit narrow interests.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

epaulo, I hear you on your concerns.  The transit user fees are getting outrageous in Toronto too. 

Regarding transit ads - I actually don't have a huge problem with them if they would help bring the cost down.  But somehow that just never happens, does it?  If we went to a no-user-fee system, I wouldn't have a problem with expanded ads to contribute to offsetting the cost of it.  It ain't a perfect world this side of the revolution.  But we're going in the wrong direction both user-fee wise, AND ad-wise.


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Michelle:

..i agree with what you wrote. i have an issue with ads though. across the street from my place is a school and beside the school is a bus stop shelter that has big ads behind glass. a lot of students use this stop. increasingly i see ads for rum, vodka and whiskey. ads as tall as a person. reclaiming our public space is on the table i'm thinking. maybe increased regulation as we transition to a better place. Smile


Kaitlin McNabb
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Joined: Oct 19 2011

epaulo13 wrote:

..in vancouver transit management has been privatized. we now have a transit that operates on a business model. transit funding has squandered millions on putting in turnstiles for “security” purposes meaning bar those trying to get on free. i figure the loss at the out most is no more than $100,000 for the whole year..if that. but in no way justifies the cost and maintenance of this “security”.

..there is a transit card that's coming out soon that you need to swipe getting on a bus or skytrain and when you get off. both these measures work to clog the smooth flow of users yet it is sold as benefiting the users. the tracking ability of the card has been a concern with me. they're up to no good i suspect. they also just raised transit fare. $91 for a monthly bus pass 1 zone from $81.

..advertizing has been expanded to obscene levels. the stations are inundated with shit and i once saw a digital ad they were testing out on the side of they bus that fit between front and back doors, in the space below the windows. big, bright and flashing it was. in france, marseille each station had a theme. one had pictures of fruit and veggies. another had a history of the subway, models included. no ads!

..they are twinning port mann bridge because the single bridge could not handle the increasing amount of vehicles. which the cost of, someone worked out, is enough to put 400 new buses on the road and pay fuel costs and labour for 30 years.

..as a user i'm really unhappy at this present direction. it's not practical and works to benefit narrow interests.

Vancouver transit is such a nightmare, and those in charge seemingly do not listen to the concerns of the people (re: evergreen line out to surrey instead of UBC).

What bugs me about Vancouver transit specifically is that everything was set up on the honor system, but then the transit authority spends A LOT of money employing guards and herds of police to monitoring and 'surprise' unwilling payers. That is a waste of money and opposite of the system implemented, especially when they use their techiniques of hiding around corners to trap users and give them huge fines.

The gates are another ridiculous solution as they are taking forever to put in. What irks is that things like the Canada line were built new enough for the company to research other forms of transit and realize that in order to make that profit off of transit, gates were necessary. I think they had some bullshit logic like there was going to be too many people for the Olympics that it would crowd the gates and would be rendered ineffective. Also you built a train with three cars to house all the travellers for the Olympics. Just saying.

Okay, I'm about to go into full on rant mode about Vancouver transit, which is not the point of this discussion, but implemented the above system, and then trapping people into huge fines is not okay, and building million (billion?) dollar systems only to have to modify two years later is also not okay especially when Vancouver is the size of a dime.


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Why must transit users complain when another transit user gets services that they also need? Oh well I guess that is what happens when you see our regional transit system as a Vancouver transit system.  Vancouverites are only about a quarter of the population who need transit in the metro region.  A large part of the problem are bad priorities that lead to the waste of money on things like the Port Mann and the Perimeter Roads. 


Kaitlin McNabb
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Joined: Oct 19 2011

@kropotkin me complain? 

I would love if transit were free, or a public service. I take issue with Vancouver transit specifically because of the structure and value behind it. It seems the whole system was set up to screw users. The three years I lived in the metro area, the zone one card went from $65 to I think it is $91 or $93? So not affordable, especially if you go outside the tiny zone 1 lines.

Bad priorities for sure.

 


Mr.Tea
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Joined: Jul 9 2011

Are there jurisdictions in Europe that don't require a fare?

I'm in New York right now visting my in-laws and the system here is both far more extensive than Toronto's and the fare is actually a bit cheaper.


onlinediscountanvils
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

I believe Austin's public transit system was fareless for a while. Portland, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City all had fareless public transit within certain zones. Calgary's C-Train has its 7th Avenue Free Fare Zone.


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

..in torrevieja, spain, a city of around 100,000 transit is free for the residents and 1 euro for non residents as of 2008. in auckland there is a free bus that travels the downtown area. new zealand was one of the 1st places to privatize almost everything back in the 70's. auckland transit is operated by no less than 7 different companies as of 2010. eta: car traffic is heavy and bus fares are high.


Kaitlin McNabb
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Joined: Oct 19 2011

In Germany and Austria they run on honour system and everyone seems to pay their fares. In Italy it is honour but from what I saw absolutely no one paid to the point where I actually thought it was a free system until I was corrected. 

Portland, Oregon is free transit in the downtown core and most transit is free on new years eve!


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

RR and I were watching a neat travelogue video and I wish I could remember the country - it was a Scandinavian country and I think it might have been Finland.  Anyhow, they did a humourous bit where the tourist host is asking the locals why they're paying on an honour system, and it never even occurred to them not to pay!  It was cute.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

BTW, all public transit in Toronto (including GO Transit) is free after 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and they expand the hours of the subway to something like 4 a.m.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

In Germany and Austria they

In Germany and Austria they run on honour system and everyone seems to pay their fares. In Italy it is honour but from what I saw absolutely no one paid to the point where I actually thought it was a free system until I was corrected

This IS a bit stereotyped, but it is true that Northern European cultures tend to be more law-abiding than Mediterranean ones. Great in terms of people paying on honour system, not littering (or polluting more seriously like dumping raw sewage or waste oil), and more importantly, in terms of corruption levels. 

Not so great when Germany/Austria and Italy were all fascist.  A Parisian friend of mine of Italian Jewish origin had her and her family's lives saved by a nominally fascist Italian functionary who delivered them a "certificate of Aryanity". Kindness/thinking the Racial Laws were nuts or micro-corruption? Quite likely all three. 

Stereotyped as of course there were a lot of fascist beasts among the Italians and Spaniards, and brave anti-fascists in Germanic-speaking countries... But extended stays in those cultures really underlined differences in behaviour and outlook. 

Your name:

 


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Bus Stewards Win More Routes Through Alliance with Riders

New York City transit workers ran a winning campaign when we turned to community organizing in our fight against cuts in service. The cuts to bus service were severe: 38 routes eliminated and 76 with shorter routes or shorter hours. Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 fought the Metropolitan Transportation Authority every step of the way, protesting at board meetings and in front of the director's house. And we managed to get our laid-off workers back over the course of a year.

But the local officers, headed by President John Samuelsen, had run on a promise to form coalitions with the riding public. We knew that to restore lost service, we'd have to involve the communities hit by the cuts. When we did, we discovered an untapped resource of connections our stewards had – outside the workplace....

http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/759.php


RevolutionPlease
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Joined: Oct 15 2007

abnormal wrote:

Sven wrote:
Not only accessible but "free," too? Nothing is free.

Didn't you know?  "Free" simply means "someone else is paying for it".

 

And "free" is choosing to ignore the statements above you. (or perhaps below you in my honest opinion.)

 

You wannago there punk? You 'll give up your "free" health care, roads, pension" and all that???


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Privatization and Public Transit in Toronto:

The 2012 Provincial Auditor's Report on Metrolinx

quote:

Because of the higher interest costs of borrowing privately and the expectation of a 10–15 per cent profit, P3s inevitably end up costing more than government projects. Therefore, ways are found for P3s to appear to have better value.

One way is through risk assessment and transfer. When using public procurement the province is liable for all risk. But with a P3, risk is shared between the province and the private consortium, driving down the estimated cost to the public of a P3. In many cases, Infrastructure Ontario hires an outside consulting firm to develop the “risk matrix” for the project. This allows further manipulation of the results. If the risk estimate is inflated, the supposed saving by transferring the risk to private hands is equally inflated. Numerous studies have documented the economic fallacies of this process, and the assault on the most basic principle of democracy of accountable expenditures. For example, John Loxley, in his study for CUPE Asking the Right Questions: A Guide for Municipalities Considering P3s (June 2012, p. 18), commented:...

http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/774.php


Kaitlin McNabb
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Joined: Oct 19 2011

For anyone interested, Babble Book Club is reading Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile, and subsequently discussing it as we reading along or just as we think about transit.


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

Fare Increases to Pay for
New Transit in Toronto: Punishing those who can least afford to pay

Metrolinx, the Greater Toronto Area's regional transit authority, has released a short list of revenue tools that they will consider using to help pay for new public transit in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. Projects like the Eglinton, Scarborough, Sheppard and Finch light rapid transit lines (LRTs) will need $2-billion a year from sources other than existing government revenue. Options that made it to their short list were: development charges, employee payroll tax, gas tax, high occupancy toll lanes, highway tolls, land value capture, parking space levy, property tax, sales tax, transit fare increase and vehicle kilometres travelled....

http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/798.php


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

May 29, 2013 - Public Forum: Making Transit Work

When: Wednesday, May 29 -- 7pm
Where: Ralph Thornton Centre, 765 Queen Street East

Featuring:
* Jennifer Keesmat, Toronto's Chief Planner
* Stephan Kipfer from the Free and Accessible Transit Campaign, GTWA
* Jessica Bell from TTCRiders

This public forum will explore the complexities of transit planning, raising revenue for transit, the relationships between public transit and social/environmental justice, and ways of improving the state of Toronto public transit.


Kaitlin McNabb
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Joined: Oct 19 2011

That sounds like a cool forum. Unfortunately, I don't live in Toronto, but if you're going epaulo13, any details would be much appreciated.

I feel like Toronto's first step to transit is probably (1) oust Rob Ford.


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

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