Free and Accessible Transit Now

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
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.

Well, what we decided was that we'd pool our resources into some state-administered health insurance.  Having bought that insurance, we don't pay out of pocket, but the government certainly does pay more for your seven-day stay than for a one-day stay.

But if paying more when you travel further is a backwards and antiquated idea, why is it part of just about every other form of paid-for transportation?  Why can't I just pay $50 to ViaRail for a trip to wherever I need to go, whether that's Toronto to Hamilton, or Toronto to Vancouver?  As you say, that train's going all the way, with or without me.

I suppose my main opposition to free municipal transit is that it's not really like health care at all.  I don't think many people go their whole lives never using health care, nor do I think that there are many people who will use health care every day of their lives.  I'm not averse to it remaining subsidized, for various reasons, but it seems a bit illogical to expect those who don't intend to use it to actually pay MORE than those who do.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The list of Polish municipalities with full or partial free public transport is long.

No automatic alt text available.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Cities

Here is a list of cities that currently provide public transport for free. If you know any city which isn’t represented in the list, please contribute to the site with that information and we will ad it to the list.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

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

..i have no problem, so far, with how this thread is going. as the thread creator i can say that free transit is a specific struggle which is why it is in the activist forum. for the most part i report on this struggle though it does spill over to other issues from time to time.

cco

Mr. Magoo wrote:

But if paying more when you travel further is a backwards and antiquated idea, why is it part of just about every other form of paid-for transportation?  Why can't I just pay $50 to ViaRail for a trip to wherever I need to go, whether that's Toronto to Hamilton, or Toronto to Vancouver?  As you say, that train's going all the way, with or without me.

Out of curiosity, I ran Via fares for two trips on identical dates: Montréal to Toronto ($44) and Montréal to Kingston ($41). Kingston to Toronto was also $41, so it's not like that half of the line is really cheap to operate. The other big fare difference (doubling it) was what time of day the train was. Similarly, a flight from Montréal to Paris is less than half the cost of a flight from Montréal to Saint Pierre, which is less than a quarter of the distance. So then, I'd say that airfares and intercity rail fares, like local transit fares, aren't directly determined by distance, but a mixture of factors including subsidies, destination popularity, arbitrary zone grouping, and most of all, competition.

The competition for subway systems is, overwhelmingly, the car. Those who don't use cars still pay a lot for automotive infrastructure, not to mention climate effects. I'm not necessarily on board with pay-by-plate to subsidize transit (hiking the gas tax, so less efficient vehicles pay more and electric cars pay nothing, seems like a better alternative to me), but the taxes of non-drivers still help pay for those who own cars. We have good reasons to get people off cars and onto transit, and a distance-based fare system that makes it more expensive for people living in the suburbs to take transit would both hurt people in poorer suburbs and discourage transit use by people in richer ones.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Those who don't use cars still pay a lot for automotive infrastructure, not to mention climate effects.

If highways and roads existed solely for the convenience of car drivers then I'd be among the first to say that those car drivers should be the only ones paying for them.  But they're also there for shipping trucks, inter-city buses, etc.  And if I'm not mistaken, even progressives seem mostly opposed to toll roads and toll bridges, even as these charge only those who directly benefit from them -- namely, those car drivers.  If it's wrongheaded to charge them to use a highway or to use a bridge, how does it make sense to charge them for something they DON'T use?

Quote:
a distance-based fare system that makes it more expensive for people living in the suburbs to take transit would both hurt people in poorer suburbs and discourage transit use by people in richer ones.

The hurt that people would feel living in the boonies and commuting to work would presumably be offset by the much lower shelter costs that they're paying in those suburbs.  Or else why choose those suburbs?

As for the rich, if the plainly cheaper cost of using public transit over driving a car isn't wooing them then what does the cost of transit really have to do with it?  Clearly there's something more going on than just a bottom-line analysis.

WWWTT

epaulo13 wrote:

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

..i have no problem, so far, with how this thread is going. as the thread creator i can say that free transit is a specific struggle which is why it is in the activist forum. for the most part i report on this struggle though it does spill over to other issues from time to time.

thanks brother understood

point I’m making is that everyone is ignoring long distance commuting and I’m known for being over dramatic to bring attention to a concern I feel is important.  I must add that I have not read every comment here so other posters may have touched on long distance 

WWWTT

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
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.

Well, what we decided was that we'd pool our resources into some state-administered health insurance.  Having bought that insurance, we don't pay out of pocket, but the government certainly does pay more for your seven-day stay than for a one-day stay.

But if paying more when you travel further is a backwards and antiquated idea, why is it part of just about every other form of paid-for transportation?  Why can't I just pay $50 to ViaRail for a trip to wherever I need to go, whether that's Toronto to Hamilton, or Toronto to Vancouver?  As you say, that train's going all the way, with or without me.

I suppose my main opposition to free municipal transit is that it's not really like health care at all.  I don't think many people go their whole lives never using health care, nor do I think that there are many people who will use health care every day of their lives.  I'm not averse to it remaining subsidized, for various reasons, but it seems a bit illogical to expect those who don't intend to use it to actually pay MORE than those who do.

 

your points are logical and have merit from my perspective. 

I don’t want to compare health care to transportation! This is a no no! 

our human bodies are not similar. We are different and there’s no shame in being different! 

WWWTT

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

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.

so then where do we bring our debate to address the concerns of distance I raised?

i believe a huge advantage for the car is speed and convenience. How does public transit address these?

first speed. Public transit reply is high speed rail. Canada’s answer-crickets chirping 

where’s the Montreal Toronto or Windsor 400km/hr bullet train for 50$ a shot? I guess Canada isn’t going to see it in the 21 century. 

Now how about convenience. I guess more trains more times more routes would address this. Now can we apply this for longer distance commutes?  What about 2am travel?

for me it’s becoming clear that this is all about investment. And where’s the corporations that benefit the most from this? Ya I know, those fuckin crickets again are getting louder and louder. Maybe if the corporate tax rate was closer to 20% than some of the stuff mentioned in this thread could actually materialize 

WWWTT

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

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.

so then where do we bring our debate to address the concerns of distance I raised?

i believe a huge advantage for the car is speed and convenience. How does public transit address these?

first speed. Public transit reply is high speed rail. Canada’s answer-crickets chirping 

where’s the Montreal Toronto or Windsor 400km/hr bullet train for 50$ a shot? I guess Canada isn’t going to see it in the 21 century. 

Now how about convenience. I guess more trains more times more routes would address this. Now can we apply this for longer distance commutes?  What about 2am travel?

for me it’s becoming clear that this is all about investment. And where’s the corporations that benefit the most from this? Ya I know, those fuckin crickets again are getting louder and louder. Maybe if the corporate tax rate was closer to 20% than some of the stuff mentioned in this thread could actually materialize 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

WWWTT wrote:

epaulo13 wrote:

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

..i have no problem, so far, with how this thread is going. as the thread creator i can say that free transit is a specific struggle which is why it is in the activist forum. for the most part i report on this struggle though it does spill over to other issues from time to time.

thanks brother understood

point I’m making is that everyone is ignoring long distance commuting and I’m known for being over dramatic to bring attention to a concern I feel is important.  I must add that I have not read every comment here so other posters may have touched on long distance 

..i am not ignoring long distance commuting and i don't believe anyone else is. maybe you can make the case on how it connects to the free transit struggles. otherwise, howerever important, it belongs in a different thread.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from #121

The Case for Free Public Transit

The TTC's goal should be to help Torontonians get around. So why do fares keep rising?

quote:

Reducing TTC fares to zero for everyone, not just kids, would increase ridership significantly.

Many cities already have some degree of free transit. Merced County in California offers free transit every August, and their ridership jumps by over 30 per cent. Columbus, Ohio, did a pilot study over the last two years, providing free bus passes to workers at four companies, and saw the share of workers using buses double.

The increased economic participation pays dividends, as do the positive environmental and health impacts from fewer cars.

Studies regularly show that the cost of travel is one of the highest-rated concerns for transit riders, along with accessibility and frequency/reliability. The sensitivity to cost comes through consistently across gender, race, age groups, and even income groups. Not surprisingly, lower-income households rank transit fares as a more important issue than those in the top 5 per cent, but even about half of the wealthy rank it as an issue.

As soon as anyone starts talking about managing congestion with tolls or congestion charges in the absence of good alternatives, they are arguing for less movement or less efficient movement. Neither is good for a city.

We want people to choose better modes, not to choose to stay home. Transit surveys often ask people what they would do if the mode they use were not available. As many as 20 to 25 per cent say they wouldn’t make the trip—perhaps giving up a job, or a class, or a social contact, or a hobby they like. None of those is a good outcome.

It’s not just about direct economic participation. We should not underestimate the cost of people foregoing recreation or social contact. Some researchers believe the costs and health impacts of loneliness are as high or higher than for smoking or obesity.

There’s a common concern that saving the environment shouldn’t come at the cost of the economy. That’s a valid aspiration. But it turns out moving people more efficiently also helps the environment, because private cars are the least efficient and highest-polluting mode of transit available.

The great advantage of cities is that their built form enables all kinds of efficiencies. Private cars undo that advantage. If we were serious about getting this city moving, we would be doing everything possible to give as many people as we can a reliable alternative to driving. Instead, we keep raising transit fares, and we have extended battles over bike lanes and sidewalks.

WWWTT

epaulo13 wrote:

..i am not ignoring long distance commuting and i don't believe anyone else is. maybe you can make the case on how it connects to the free transit struggles. otherwise, howerever important, it belongs in a different thread.

What's the difference between long distance commuting and transit?

Here are a couple definitions I found

Commuting is periodically recurring travel between one's place of residence and place of work, or study, and in doing so exceed the boundary of their residential community. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations, even when not work-related. A distinction is also often made between commuters who commute daily or weekly between their residence to work place, and are therefore considered respectively local or long-distance commuters.

1.

the act or fact of passing across or through; passage from one placeto another.

2.conveyance or transportation from one place to another, as of personsor goods, especially, local public transportation:

city transit.

1.

a system of large-scale public transportation in a given metropolitan area, typically comprising buses, subways, and elevated trains.

So from the definitions I have found "mass transit" appears to be commonly used term refering to local transportation. Makes sence to me.

As well, I have already made my case of why my concerns belong in this thread. I'll give other posters a chance to reply. 

lagatta4

This article from Ricochet isn't about free-of-charge public transport, but about increasing accessibility for many neighbourhoods via the pink line Projet Montréal advocates. The pink line would also reduce the saturation of the orange line and make it more viable to extend the blue line much farther east.

https://ricochet.media/en/1992/the-pink-metro-line-and-a-paradigm-shift-...

But I agree that the woman worker in Mtl-Nord also needs lower and ideally NO fares; she will commute to work even with existing fares, but her social contacts and even ability to comparison shop will be severely curtailed.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

What's the difference between long distance commuting and transit?

..it takes a different campaign i believe. but you can talk to the folks in to, ottawa or montreal that are pushing for free transit. i doubt they are against addressing long distance commute or even ignoring it.  

Sean in Ottawa

I won't be able to answer all the posts right now but would like to point out a couple things:

1) Everyone benefits from public transit whether you use it or not. It reduces congestion which saves al taxpayers; it reduces pollution which affects the health of everyone (including those living far away in the country). It spurs mobility and the spending of money that helpd the entire economy. It is socially progressive providing more access to people who need it and this leads to a more civilized society (I hope I do not have to explain this one here) Public transit is a public good.

2) one of the arguments against fares by users and especially fares by distance is that this process of collecting revenue is very inefficient.

3) The bulk of road costs are based on areas public transit can mitigate:

-- Overuse of the infrastructure requiring more building and more public land dedicated to it

-- Overuse requiring greater maintenance costs

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Seoul to provide free public transport, depending on fine dust level

Seoul Metropolitan Government will be providing free public transportation to citizens starting in November amid rising health concerns due to heavy fine dust saturation within the metropolitan area.

Free public transportation during commuting hours will be provided starting on Nov. 20, depending on the fine dust level in the city.....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Big transportation investments needed now in Metro Vancouver: Budget 2018

Whether enduring a long wait to cross a bridge or get on a bus, everyone can relate to the additional time and stress caused by a transportation system under strain. Metro Vancouver is, for all intents and purposes, at “peak car”: the mobility of a growing regional population cannot be accommodated with more private cars. A 2015 study put the costs of congestion in Metro Vancouver at between $500 million and $1.2 billion per year.

It is widely agreed that major new investments are needed for Vancouver’s public transit system to alleviate crowded conditions for transit users and congestion for drivers. Special arrangements—like priority lanes and increased services—during the 2010 Winter Olympics provided a taste of what an expanded transit system could look like. Public investment in convenient, high-quality transit can reduce costs for many households, improve air quality, boost public health and help reduce greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change.

Stable, long-term funding for public transit is the missing ingredient.....

Pondering

Nobody in my family will give up their cars but with free transit they would use it for coming into Montreal. People with cars that live in Montreal would use transit more as well. I was on the bus today and at rush hour the traffic was bumper to bumper with horns blaring. People who must use their cars for one reason or another would benefit greatly with less competition for parking spaces as well as lower traffic.

When my sister and family come into town they aways drive because public transit is so expensive. They have to pay for parking at the metro station. Then each has to pay full price round trip. It's not worth it. If transit were free that would change the equation.

Concerning longer distance travel. Within a city there is a critical mass of population that is ever growing further choking highways and requiring big investments in repairs and new roads. Economically it makes sense to institute free transit in lieu of expanding the infrastructure for car use. It helps attract families. Big companies evaluate public transit systems when deciding where to locate.

Long distance travel in general can't be free because there is no critical mass to tax to pay for it. Having said that I believe any highways not served by commercial transit should be considered for some limited free transit. The highway of tears comes to mind.

cco
lagatta4

For many cities, free public transport simply makes sense. Projet Montréal had promised to make it free for youth, seniors, and I believe full-time students, but it seems that fares aren't a municipal responsibility. It will be important to press for it.

I also think Richard Bergeron was right about the need for a tram along Mont-Royal from the mountain to Iberville in the east, as traffic is pretty much a constant snarl there.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Nobody in my family will give up their cars but with free transit they would use it for coming into Montreal.

How much is a fare in Montreal?  Here in Toronto, a TTC fare is $3.25 if you pay cash.  I'm not sure how many drivers can reasonably say that their cost for ownership, insurance, maintenance and fuel for their vehicle is a whole lot less.

Why do you feel that "free" would convince your family, but less than the cost of a Starbucks would be too much?

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Nobody in my family will give up their cars but with free transit they would use it for coming into Montreal.

How much is a fare in Montreal?  Here in Toronto, a TTC fare is $3.25 if you pay cash.  I'm not sure how many drivers can reasonably say that their cost for ownership, insurance, maintenance and fuel for their vehicle is a whole lot less.

Why do you feel that "free" would convince your family, but less than the cost of a Starbucks would be too much?

Because many/most will not give up car ownership and take public transit 100% of the time. They will still have the costs of a car to deal with. I don't see people living outside of major cities giving up cars. Chateauguay has a population of 46,000 and the local transit system is extremely limited. The Montreal/Chateauguay bus at times is only 1 an hour on Sundays. 

For 1 adult from Chateauguay to Montreal is 4.50 plus 3.25 to wherever in Montreal so 7.75. Round trip is 15.50. If my sister and her husband go to town pubic transit would be 31.00. They could take the car and pay for parking at the metro station then pay 6.50 each round trip, so 13.00 plus the cost of parking say 10$, so 23.00. They might as well just take the car and pay for downtown parking. 

Even if they were on island the 13$ for the round trip makes taking the car more appealing. Gas plus parking would still be more than 13$ but the difference isn't enough to give up the comfort of car travel and it is possible to find cheap or free parking. 

If, however, transit were free, all of a sudden it begins to make sense to give up the convenience of the car to save money. It also changes the equation for buying a car in the first place. 

NDPP

Thanks for posting this. Not only is the price of transit in TO too high for poor people, but aside from the glitzy new subway construction, the service is atrocious. Buses don't connect on transfer points, they are unbelievably crowded and unsafe and TTC staff are outrageously rude and unhelpful in far too many cases. Big changes need to happen and soon!

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