Free and Accessible Transit Now

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free Public Transport and the Right to the City

quote:

Free public transport and citizen participation

For citizens to be able to feel that their taxes are not going to be spent behind closed doors, a good idea could be the parallel introduction of participatory budgeting on a municipal level. In this way people will be able to determine what portion of the city’s budget should be spent in the form of subsidies for FPT, and thus have an idea of what the real costs are and how they can best be covered. As sociologist Erik Olin Wright suggests [8], public transportation has to be paid for but it should not be paid for through the purchase of tickets by individual riders—it should be paid for by society as a whole.

“This should not be thought of as a ‘subsidy’, in the sense of a transfer of resources to an inefficient service in order for it to survive,” he says, “but rather as the optimal allocation of our resources to create the transportation environment in which people can make sensible individual choices between public and private means of transformation that reflect the true costs of these alternatives.”

From this follows that FPT is not a panacea but should be thought of in relation to the general struggle for the right to the city. Its implementation through the current non-transparent mechanisms of local authorities can compromise the whole idea. Instead, FTP should be linked to projects like participatory budgeting and libertarian municipalism, in order to allow citizens themselves to observe the way their taxes are being spent.

The implementation of FPT cannot be left to local bureaucrats. There must be grassroots pressure by social movements. A good example for such activism can be found in the Swedish and Norwegian network Planka. Part of their activities is the so called freeriding insurance [9]. With it they aim at showing how FPT can function in a grassroots manner. In its essence it is a cooperative fund, to which members contribute monthly with certain small amounts of money, and in case they get caught riding public transport without a ticket or a card, the freeriding insurance covers their penalty. With this activity Planka attempts to not only help its members get around the city, but to advance a vision for a free public transportation, owned collectively by all citizens and controlled by the workers that operate it.

The example of Barcelona in 1936

In history there are also cases when citizens took their public transportation system in their hands. In 1936, during the Spanish Revolution, the rebellious population of Barcelona took the control the entire city. The public transportation system was placed under direct workers control [10]. The various modes — buses, subway, streetcars — were all managed through elected committees, answerable to assemblies of the workers. An engineer was elected to each administrative committee, to facilitate consultation between manual workers and engineers. There was an overall assembly for decisions that affected the transit-system as a whole, where all citizens could voice their concerns regarding the transportation system. There was no top manager or executive director. A 7-member elected worker committee was responsible for overall coordination.

One of the first acts of the citizens of Barcelona through this new self-managed public model was the abolition of the fare zone system – a zoning scheme which forced people taking longer commutes to pay more. This in practice affected mainly the poor that lived away from the city center. They switched instead to a flat fare throughout the metropolitan area, in order to make the transportation system more inclusive. Despite this lowering of the fare, the worker-run transit system operated at a profit.  This move was quite radical for its time and can be compared to the contemporary idea for FPT.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It certainly doesn't mean free transit, but starting this Sunday, TTC riders can ride for two hours, anywhere they wish, on one fare.  This might entice people who need to run errands -- i.e. make multiple stops -- to use the TTC rather than driving.

The one downside is that it's only available for Presto card users.  Cash and token fares are the same as usual.  The TTC was surprisingly honest about that though:  "We really want people to use the Presto system".

lagatta4

I suppose Presto cards are only for residents? Not via controls, but like our OPUS cards - one has to pay for them in addition to the fares, but they are good for several years. If so that is a bit of a shame because being able to hop on and off could be a draw for visitors.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

As I understand it, Presto cards aren't hard to get, and involve no premium above whatever you choose to "fill" it with when you get it.  And if I'm not mistaken, each ride is about a quarter cheaper than cash fare.  The downside is that of course you cannot get on a streetcar with a $20 bill and get a Presto card... to get them it's stations only, if I'm not mistaken.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Public Transport Should Be Free

We don’t put coins in street lamps or pay by the minute in public parks. Here’s why we should make subway and bus fares a thing of the past.

If we are to believe transport experts and practitioners, abolishing fares for all passengers is the last thing public transport operators should be doing. For Alan Flausch, an ex-CEO of the Brussels public transport authority and current Secretary General of International Association of Public Transport, “in terms of mobility, free public transport is absurd.”

According to Vincent Kauffmann, a professor at University of Lausanne and one of key figures in sustainable mobility, “free public transport does not make any sense.” Getting rid of tickets in mass transit is judged “irrational,” “uneconomical” and “unsustainable.”

However, if we turn to commentators from outside the field of transport, the perspective on fare abolition changes radically. Social scientists, activists, journalists and public officials—often speaking from cities where fare abolition has actually been put to the test—fervently defend the measure.

For Judith Dellheim, a researcher at Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin, providing free access to public transport is the “first step towards socio-ecological transformation.” For Michiel Van Hulten, one of the earliest proponents of free public transport in Europe, “it is about returning to the commons.” Finally, according to Naomi Klein, this is precisely what cities around the world should be doing —“to really respond to the urgency of climate change, public transport would have to become free.”....

WWWTT

Hi epaulo13!

If you haven't already posted this, I will do so again

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/05/estonia-will-roll-out-fre...

I live in southern Ontario, rural and urban. And now with a pc government bent on cutting government spending, fair free rides on any subway bus or train in Ontario will probably never be realistic for another 30 years

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..hello wwwtt. and txs.

..sometimes out of great adversity good things come. it seems that in trumpish times local level organizing has increased. maybe in due course the same will be said of ont. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Metroshuttle: free bus travel in the city and town centres

Get on and off as often as you like

Metroshuttle route 1

Piccadilly Station; Portland Street (Chinatown); Peter Street (Manchester Central); Deansgate (Spinningfields); Deansgate; Victoria Station; Northern Quarter; Piccadilly Station.

Metroshuttle route 1 live departure times

Metroshuttle 1 service is in operation:

  • Monday to Friday: 7am to 7pm, every ten minutes.

  • Saturday: 8.30am to 6.30pm, every ten minutes.

  • Sunday and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day): 9.30am to 5.55pm, every twelve minutes.

Metroshuttle route 2

Piccadilly Station; Northern Quarter; Withy Grove (Printworks); Victoria Station; Deansgate; Deansgate Station; Oxford Road Station; Peter Street (Manchester Central); Deansgate; Victoria Station; Shudehill – Northern Quarter; Piccadilly Station.

Metroshuttle route 2 live departure times

Metroshuttle 2 service is in operation:

  • Monday to Friday: 6.30am to 6.30pm, every ten minutes.

  • Saturday: 8.30am to 6.30pm, every ten minutes.

  • Sunday and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day): 9.35am to 6pm, every twelve minutes.

Metroshuttle route 3

Piccadilly Station; Portland Street; Charlotte Street (Chinatown); Cross Street; St Mary’s Gate; Deansgate; (Spinningfields, peak times only); Deansgate (John Rylands Library peak times only); John Dalton Street; Cross Street; King Street; New York Street (Chinatown); Chorlton Street (Central Coach Station); Piccadilly Station.

Metroshuttle route 3 live departure times

Metroshuttle 3 service is in operation:

  • Monday to Friday: 7.25am to 7.20pm, every ten minutes.

  • Saturday: 8.35am to 6.25pm, every ten minutes.

  • Sunday and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day): 9.40am to 6.05pm, every twelve minutes.

These Metroshuttle services are funded by Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this page is in estonian. i opened it with chromium browser and it translated the piece.

Free public transport rushes: the number of bus passengers grew almost all over Estonia

The number of passengers exploded in Ida-Viru County: when the number of public transport users in July last year was 126,523, this year the number of free public transport services increased by 242 408, which is almost twice as much as last year.

The descent of the number of users of public transport in Läänemaa is due to the administrative reform of the removal of the rural municipalities that joined the county of Pärnu. The smallest growth occurred in Pärnu County, where the number of passengers increased by only one percentage point, but one has to take into account the fact that Pärnumaa is one of the four counties where only part of the transport was transported.

In counties where transport is partly free, the number of passengers increased by an average of 15.5%. The average growth number of the other eleven counties is more than double: 37.63%.

Partly free transport was implemented in Lääne-Viru County, Pärnu County, Rapla County and Harju County - only young people and pensioners can travel only if they do not buy tickets.

lagatta4

I applaud both initiatives, but metroshuttle seems to target tourists above all - pretty much all those destinations are known to travellers. Yes, it will benefit some Londoners, especially those who work in the tourist trade, but not those who live and/or work in less-known areas.

There was a ringtram like that in Amsterdam (I don't think it was free, though) but it has been cancelled. A pity, because it had many passengers and not all were tourists.

Amsterdam is many, many times smaller than London.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..in wpg there are 3 free lines called the downtown spirit. they travel the inner city and are used by shoppers and tourists but also serve a large segment of poor folk who live in the area. they don't run near as often as the metroshuttle nor are they as extensive in the area they cover. so i too applaud metroshuttle.

lagatta4

Yes, personally I think pretty much all such initatives are positive, and if they are free, some poor people will find ways to make it work for them. But of course we also have to discuss the inadequate transport in "marginal" areas. The Pink Line has many purposes, including easing overcrowding southbound on the Orange Line, but also the horrific travel times faced by workers in Montréal-Nord. It is no secret that many local residents, including those of Haitian origin, tend to work in the health sector. Some work closer by, but many work in the "superhospitals" in the heart of the city. The Pink Line would dramatically shorten their commute. It would to the same for people in Lachine. Some parts of southwestern MTL have métro stations close by, but not all.

The Blue Lines should also go west, but there is a lot of disagreement about the route. Initially CSL actually didn't want it because of the riffraff, but with so many senior residents  they are having second thoughts. But the huge industrial areas in Ville St-Laurent could also benefit from better and closer public transport...

Western NDG is also very poorly served. I'd love to be able to make a quick jaunt to Akhavan to pick up Iranian and Persian Kulturraum foods!

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..there is tons of roadwork being done here at the moment. i suppose a lot of this is being done with the money from the feds. many buses are being knocked from their regular scheduals because of it to the point of being more unreliable than normal..which wasn't that bad imo. i would like to see the same amount of money going into improving the transit system..which is greatly needed. instead fares keep rising and the city has been paralysed for years in debate. there's been a plan in place for years yet nothing has happened.  

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Liberals promise free public transit for seniors and students

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard has promised to make public transit free for all seniors and full-time students across Quebec, if elected Oct. 1.

Couillard announced the plan in a busy common space at a Laval CEGEP Tuesday morning, leading to spontaneous applause from students who had stopped to listen.

"We want the next generation to develop the habit of using public transit, and to turn away, by choice, from driving solo," Couillard said....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..reason number 2,006 to go free transit.

The Presto fiasco: Another in a long line of Toronto transit disasters

It is hard to overstate what an utter fiasco the TTC's new fare payment system has been and the worst is likely yet to come.

There is the staggering cost. Metrolinx will have spent $1.2 billion to transition various provincial transit systems to Presto in the end. That could have built a lot of desperately needed actual routes. As The Toronto Star noted: "The whopping sum is equal to the entire construction budget for the 11-kilometre Finch West LRT."

In Toronto alone the installation will cost at least $487 million.

$487 million would have gone some ways towards John Tory's entirely fictional "Smart Track".

It is half-a-billion squandered in one city alone just to collect fares....

lagatta4

e paulo, Manon Massé found Couillard's clinging to the QS transport plan funny indeed! Idem the dental plan - Couillard knows very well that denying universal dental coverage seriously compromises overall health.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..txs lagatta. i understand. listened to the english debate where massé accused couillard of stealing qs ideas. glad to see though that free transit made it into the debate forum.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Shawn Menard, a former senior staffer for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, is a candidate in Capital ward for Ottawa city council.

Here's why I'm supporting fare-free public transit

What if no one had to pay for public transit?

Ottawa’s public transit system certainly has its share of shortcomings. But the biggest problem preventing an efficient transit system is that we have never thought of our public transit as a truly essential public service.

We don’t need to dig though our pockets to find change before we can enter a library and we certainly are never expected to find exact change before we drive on Ottawa’s ever-expanding public road system. Just like libraries, sidewalks and parks, a free and efficient transit system would operate for the common good.

Currently, transit fares don’t come close to covering expenses and the public is left paying twice – once in taxes and once in fares – to subsidize a substandard service. OC Transpo’s ever-increasing fares are some of the highest in North America. Women represent the majority of public transit users and are disproportionately affected by high fares. And our city’s Dickensian policies squeeze money from the most marginalized in our community: The (un)affordable EquiPass will cost someone living below the poverty line almost $700 a year.

And the thing is, a fare-free transit system leaves us all better off – even if you don’t use it....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Making Toronto transit free isn’t realistic now. But it’s a terrific idea

In two debate performances this week, mayoral candidate Saron Gebresellassi showed that she isn’t prepared to quietly stand by and be considered an also-ran. Particularly on Tuesday, at a debate hosted by Global, she was a dominating presence, often steering the agenda of the entire discussion.

Gebresellassi also brought up the most interesting discussion idea of the debate — one that occupied an outsized amount of debate time, given that it’s a promise she alone has made. Free public transit, for everyone....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this piece is from 2008 and changing city has a population of over 800,000.

Is Free Public Transportation Sustainable?

Ever wished public transportation was free? Well, if you're in Changning City, central China's Hunan Province, your wish just came true. Starting from July 1, local residents and visitors enjoy a free ride along the city's three public transportation lines and the government has allocated 7 million yuan ($1 million) to facilitate the initiative.

According to the local media, on the first day of the free public bus service, passenger numbers jumped by over 60 percent.

The move is unprecedented in China. Elsewhere in the country the public transportation system follows a market-oriented model, with the government offering financial subsidies.

Why does Changning's local government choose to pay for the entire public transport operation? The local authority announced that in order to save energy, protect the environment, standardize urban transportation service and boost public welfare, it decided to offer free public buses. Meanwhile, Changning has already exempted the local rural population from water fees and medical insurance premiums. And it seems, it's a city with no money problems, as the annual fiscal revenues of Changning had increased by around 100 million yuan (nearly $15 million) for three consecutive years until 2007.

After eight months of feasibility studies and discussion by relevant government departments and based on the public's opinions on this issue, it was decided to make public transportation free. According to the government's explanation, the financing comes from three sources: local financial budget, income from advertising on buses and the fuel subsidies from the Central Government.....

WWWTT

Thanks for the link and comment epaulo13. But there’s something missing. I recently had a trip in China. Rode subways in Nanning, Chengdu and Beijing and the buses in Nanning. My children never had to pay. So technically, China does have free transit for children accompanied by adults. 

I believe the TTC has a similar policy for children riding for free

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..how old are your children if you don't mind me asking. depending on their ages kids ride free most places.

'I leave the car at home': how free buses are revolutionising one French city

One month after the French channel port of Dunkirk introduced free public transport for all, a small revolution is taking place.

Two women, perfect strangers until now, are chatting across the aisle about nothing in particular. One admits she sometimes takes the bus “just for the fun of it”. A young man wearing headphones is charging his mobile in a socket just above the “request stop” button.

On another bus, Claude Pointart, 65, who is retired, says free buses mean her pension goes further. “I’m saving money and they come every 10 minutes so I don’t have to wait long. But there’s a lot more people taking the bus so you have to avoid the rush hour if you want to sit. Still, I think it’s a good thing.”

On a city bus making its way around the historic port city, passengers smile at the driver and say “Bonjour” as they board. Some of the city’s fleet of new buses, painted in dazzling colours – pink, orange, green, yellow and blue, with upholstery to match – have wifi. The urban authorities have plans for debates, music and possibly the occasional celebrity on board. A “Sport-Bus” with an interactive game, quiz screen and a selfie camera is already in operation.

Georges Contamin, 51, says he has reconsidered how he travels about the city since the buses became fare-free. “Before, I almost never took the bus, but the fact they are now free as well as the increase in the cost of car fuel has made me reflect on how I get about,” Contamin says.

At the bus stop opposite the port, even the persistent drizzle and howling wind rocking the boats cannot dampen Marie’s enthusiasm. “I never used the bus before,” she says. “It was too much bother getting tickets or a pass. Now I leave the car at home and take the bus to and from work. It’s so easy.”

One month ago, Dunkirk – with a metropolitan population of 200,000 – became the largest city in Europe to offer free public transport. There are no trams, trolleybuses or local commuter trains, but the hop-on-hop-off buses are accessible and free – requiring no tickets, passes or cards – for all passengers, even visitors .....

Pondering

It's heartbreaking to be because had the Liberals won in Quebec we were going to have free public transit across the province. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..yes for seniors and students. a gold nugget dangled trying to divert attention from the pile of shit. 

cco

No party has a more extensive list of the stuff they were going to do, if only they hadn't been defeated, than the Liberals in all their incarnations. The credulity of the voting public means they seldom get asked why they hadn't gotten around to it in their 10-15 years in power. (Federal Liberals spent the entire Harper administration blaming the NDP for everything Martin was just about to do before the NDP voted to bring him down.)

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

cco wrote:
No party has a more extensive list of the stuff they were going to do, if only they hadn't been defeated, than the Liberals in all their incarnations. The credulity of the voting public means they seldom get asked why they hadn't gotten around to it in their 10-15 years in power. (Federal Liberals spent the entire Harper administration blaming the NDP for everything Martin was just about to do before the NDP voted to bring him down.)

Indeed, and for a good part of that time, Pondering was posting long winded defenses of the Liberal lies here on babble.

Pondering

cco wrote:
No party has a more extensive list of the stuff they were going to do, if only they hadn't been defeated, than the Liberals in all their incarnations. The credulity of the voting public means they seldom get asked why they hadn't gotten around to it in their 10-15 years in power. (Federal Liberals spent the entire Harper administration blaming the NDP for everything Martin was just about to do before the NDP voted to bring him down.)

The Kelowna accord and the national daycare plan were both ready to sign not just vague promises. Last election the NDP would not have kept their promise on balancing the deficit every single year right away and everyone knew it. Do you doubt that they would have kept their promise on PR? 

If Legault keeps his promise on PR does that make him a left-winger?

At the very least Montreal would have had free public transit if only as a pilot because Plante would have pushed hard. She already talked about free transit for students and seniors. Yes, I believe it would have happened and it would have a been a huge step forward for people living in poverty not only in Quebec but in all major Canadian cities as Quebec's example would be followed eventually. 

 

cco

Pondering wrote:

The Kelowna accord and the national daycare plan were both ready to sign not just vague promises.

Which is why Trudeau implemented them right away after the 2015 election, right?

Pondering wrote:

Last election the NDP would not have kept their promise on balancing the deficit every single year right away and everyone knew it. Do you doubt that they would have kept their promise on PR? 

I do, in fact. The NDP only seems to keep those types of promises in minority situations. I also know for a fact that Trudeau broke his promise.

Pondering wrote:

If Legault keeps his promise on PR does that make him a left-winger?

Nope. It would mean we'll be able to vote for left-wingers in 2022 without all the hand-wringing on how we really can't afford not to vote Liberal despite everything the Liberals have done wrong, though.

Pondering wrote:

At the very least Montreal would have had free public transit if only as a pilot because Plante would have pushed hard. She already talked about free transit for students and seniors. Yes, I believe it would have happened and it would have a been a huge step forward for people living in poverty not only in Quebec but in all major Canadian cities as Quebec's example would be followed eventually. 

Couillard would've met with her, given a vague solemn speech about how transit's a good idea, then told her to fuck off and pay for it herself if she wanted free transit, just like he did with the Pink Line. But now that he's out of office, by all means, let's canonize him for the stuff he theoretically might have been pressured into doing but didn't actually do when he had the power to.

Pondering

The Pink line wasn't Couillard's idea. By no means am I cannonizing him. If the only way to get anything at all is from the NDP we wouldn't have EI, medicare or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

I don't want to take the focus off free transit which is the point of this thread. That Couillard support it doesn't mean he is left wing. It means he saw the economic argument for it and that the future demanded it. That, and he probably wanted to have a legacy program he would have gotten credit for instead of just cuts and austerity. 

WWWTT

@epaulo13

My eldest boy is 5 and the twins are 3.

I felt it was important to mention that children ride for free in China. And just before I posted that comment, I did some quick research to see if the TTC offered the same thing. When I was a kid growing up in Toronto, we had to pay just like everyone else. But according to my research, children 12 and under are free since 2015.

Not sure if you are other posters mentioned this fact upthread somewhere???

I'm going to stick my neck out here a little and say that free local transit is an idea that at least 66% of the population will support! 

Also, providing free transit for children is a huge huge step in the right direction! When the children of today, 2018, whom ride the TTC for free get older, I'm going to guess that 100% of them will support free transit for everyone! And not to mention the parents/gaurdians of these children today.

I also suspect(there's actually overwhelming evidence so it's really not a suspicion I may have) that currently there is a global shift in the reasoning/methodology behind local public tranportation towards free easy convenient access.

This also makes labor markets much more competitive. Free transit drives the cost of living down! 

I'm going to speculate that free local transit is coming to a local transit system near everyone. Question now would be when?

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