Free and accessible transit now

378 posts / 0 new
Last post

That is very interesting. Do you know how they define "low income"?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture bc seniors can get a bus pass for $45 per year. the criteria is that you collect gis. for those seniors that don't qualify for gis it's a reduced fare per month bus pass.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Trudeau gives B.C.'s Christy Clark a transit boost after train ride

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier Christy Clark made a dramatic entrance on the SkyTrain at its local operation centre, where a host of mayors, members of Parliament, and MLAs were gathered to hear the good news. The federal government's investment — combined with funding from the province and municipalities — brings B.C.'s pot of public transit money to $934 million in total....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free public transit

Free Transit event at the Social Forum in Montreal (Aug 9-14, 2016)

Discussion workshop

We want to support some panels/wkshps on free transit with the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

SpeakersStefan Kipfer, Free Transit Toronto
Kamilla Pietrzyk, TTCRiders, Free Transit Toronto
Matthias Bärwolff, Landtag of Thuringia
Judith Dellheim, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
Jason Prince, Urban planner

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Public transit should be free

Anti-poverty advocate Gabriel Enxuga is running for city councillor in District 5, Dartmouth Centre with Solidarity Halifax

Just like public health care and public schools, I believe that free transit is a public good because we would live in a better world if everyone was healthy, educated and able to get around.

We collectively fund public health care because we see it as an important public good, but we fail to provide the means for low-income people to be able to afford to take the bus to the doctor. Many minimum-wage workers scrape together $78 every month to be able to afford to take transit to work. Meanwhile, most income assistance recipients looking to re-enter the workforce are denied funding for transit to get out and find a job or go back to school.

I believe that, as a society, it is our collective responsibility to provide people with the means to realize their full potential. So that’s why I think it’s time for our city to step up to the plate and provide free transit for all residents of Halifax....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free Public Transit

The beginning of the end of autosprawl.

Small business and #freetransit A big reason people go to malls and big box stores is they know they will be able to find parking. Here is how your downtown small retail stores can fight back.

#freetransit means

  • You don't have to depend on the two parking spaces in front of your store
  • Your customers will arrive without the stress of finding parking
  • Your customers will have more money to spend
  • You will have less stink and noise of traffic out front
  • The town center will revive and become a place where people want to go
  • There will be more pedestrian traffic able to see your store

Too bad there were so many rightwing (and doubtless, carcentric) commenters at that Halifax story. I'm glad there is a topic about this at the WSM. When I was in Le Monde à bicyclette, we always fought for better and more accessible public transport as well as for the rights of cyclists and pedestrians. Later, Solidarités Villeray was advocating a "social fare" for people beneath the Low Income cutoff.

Halifax once had a street railway, and as in many North American cities it was killed in the carcentric madness following the Second World War. There are European cities no larger than Halifax who have state-of-the-art trams (which are also accessible to the vast majority of people). But not enough have adopted the fareless model.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..yes too bad. some of those comments are quite nasty

Could intercity cycle highways revolutionise the daily commute?

Germany is building the world’s biggest ‘bicycle autobahn’ to connect 10 cities and remove 50,000 cars from the road every day. With the popularity of e-bikes growing too, is Europe about to see a new era of long-distance cycle commuting?

In 2010, when the motorway between the German cities of Duisburg and Dortmund was closed as part of a cultural project, three million people walked, skated or cycled along the road. For one day only it had been transformed into a gigantic city boulevard.

Spatial planner Martin Tönnes took the opportunity to cycle from Essen to Dortmund. “There were so many people that, for the first time in my life, I experienced a bicycle traffic jam!” he recalls. “But that was when we started thinking about building a highway for bikes through the Ruhr Area. When we saw this mass of people cycling down the motorway, we understood there was a real demand.’’

Five years later, in December 2015, the first Radschnellweg (bicycle highway) in Germany was opened, between the western cities of Mülheim an der Ruhr and Essen. It is just the first stretch of what is going to be the biggest bicycle highway in the world: 62-miles long, connecting 10 cities and four universities....


Yes, lagatta has weighed in there too. There is an article under the Guardian "Cycling" tag about Le Monde à bicyclette and others mentioning Montréal; Carlton Reid was here for a visit and spoke to many of us veteran vélorutionaries - and younger ones, fortunately.There are idiotic comments there too, but also some good ones.

Germany is a federal state and as the article states, provision for cyclists varies greatly by Land and even between cities.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

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.

This will deepen the current discount for pass holders up to 95 per cent based on their income for 2017.

The item was carried unanimously, and followed by a raucous applause....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free Public Transit

Public transit lies at the intersection of several critical social struggles today. Affordable (or free) public transit is an important mechanism for redistribution, and particularly targets low income women and people of colour. A central component of public policies to address climate change must be mass expenditures on public transit to reduce reliance on private cars and fossil fuels. Mass transit also enables an increase in the density and livability of cities. And public transit that is free and available as a social right is a core demand to decommodify everyday life in opposition to endless consumerism. Transit justice is, then, a crucial aspect of social justice today, and should be a fundamental part of the political programme of progressives and socialists. The struggle for the extension of free and accessible public transit rubs directly against neoliberal policies, and raises the vision of alternate production and provision essential to anti-capitalist politics.

This video mostly focuses on Tallinn, Estonia, and includes interviews with international activists: Roger Fowler (FareFree New Zealand), Greg Albo (Toronto Free Transit), Erik van Hal (traffic planner, Eindhoven), Michel van Hulten (scientist, Netherlands), Anna Ujma (advisor to the mayor of Zory, Poland), Dan Diaconu (deputy mayor of Timisoara, Romania), Raymond Polus (journalist Hasselt, Belgium), Mao Xiang (Chengdu Transport Department), Siim Kallas (European Commissioner for Transport), Lars Isacsson (Mayor of Avesta, Sweden), Allan Alakula (Head of Tallinn EU Office), Taavi Aas (Deputy Mayor of Tallinn).

Video produced by Revo Raudjarv for Tallinna Televisioon (2015).


That looks wonderful and I'll be viewing it, though at the start at least, all the interviewees are men, which is disappointing especially given the degree of equality attained by women in the Scandinavian countries in most fields, including government. Perhaps because men still predominate in engineering and planning?

It is extremely important from perspectives of social equality and environmental sustainability.


The thing that confuses me about Tallinn's model is that they make transit free only for city residents -- meaning that all the infrastructure of fare collection remains in place, taking a chunk out of the budget that could be spent on improving service if it were just made free to all. It also makes it more difficult to use all-door boarding and eliminates the speed advantage that would come from not scanning anybody's pass upon boarding. (The STM has started all-door honour system boarding on a couple of lines; since they're not lines I take regularly, I haven't had the opportunity to test it out yet.)


Yes, it doesn't make sense; I can see the purpose for a city like Venice, with far more tourists than residents (for the boat-buses), but while Tallinn is a more popular destination than it used to be, there is still not such a crunch of tourists for that to impose the expense and bother of fare-collection, fines and court challenges.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i agree as well that it doesn't make sense. in the video the swedish mayor, after winning the election, decided to go the free route. the loss of revenue from tickets, the mayor said, almost equaled the cost of administration. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Traffic Hierarchy

One is not born a motorist, one becomes one.

Mobility and class are deeply entangled. Not only because one's potential for mobility often has to do with one's economic position, but also because a society built on today's mobility paradigm – automobility – directly contributes to growing economic and social differences.

A society which puts the car on a pedestal quite obviously favours motorists. Another obvious fact is that white high-income and middle-aged men are an over-represented group among motorists. And the opposite is true among public transport users. But, a society that prioritises motoring, and looks at ever-growing mobility as an almost magical recipe for development, increases the differences between its citizens and different parts in other ways as well.

The current traffic hierarchy, with the car on top and with public transport, bikers and pedestrians at the bottom, manifests itself in the fact that these means of conveyance are given different amounts of space and resources. With the car on top of the traffic hierarchy we get a society built on automobility: a world where our lives, to a far too great extent, are steered by cars.... is a network of Swedish groups that work for free public transport. Apart from engaging in public debate, direct action, and guerrilla media, the network administers the “P-kassa,” a solidarity fund covering fines for people commonly known as fare-dodgers, although they are more aptly described as passengers in public transport engaged in an anti-fare strike. In 2008 started the international site, a meeting point for activists working for a free public transport.


Recently, yet another pedestrian was hit and killed by yet another hit-and-run driver. It seems that the killer was driving a stolen vehicle. This so-called "accident" occurred at the very busy corner of Mont-Royal and St-Urbain in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough (there are buses on both streets, a bicycle lane on St-Urbain, and many, many pedestrians using both of these streets). The victim was a 79-year-old woman. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture have a high cost in lives and disabilities attached.


Yes, for humans and other living creatures. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Fighting for free public transit in Canada's largest city

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, Scott Neigh speaks with Stefan Kipfer and Herman Rosenfeld. They are active with Free Transit Toronto, an activist network focused on a long-term vision of high quality and completely free public transit, as well as on supporting short-term organizing that seeks winnable immediate reforms that move in that direction.

There used to be a project in Toronto called the Greater Toronto Workers Assembly. The Assembly doesn't exist any more, but for a period of time it brought together activists and organizers from a range of movements, organizations, and communities-in-struggle in the city. One of its campaigns was Free Transit Toronto. Since the Assembly faded away, Free Transit Toronto has become a network in its own right, bringing together a small but dedicated group committed to organizing around a vision of high quality, widely available, public transit that is completely free....


Very interesting. In the meantime, a snake in the grass in the Projet Montréal mayoralty race: He comes from Uber, it seems. I did spot strange trickery in his campaign blurbs in local media, talking about "mobility", in terms of transport mobility, also "social mobility"... and of course carshare, which can mean anything from CommunAuto to Uber, but not a word on the increase in public transport we sorely need - people want to take the métro and buses, but often the buses are short (i.e. some cancelled) and the orange line is completely saturated at rush hours and even beyond.

Now, the party founder Richard Bergeron, while strong on ecological issues, had some very quirky and at times reactionary ideas including antagonism to young homeless people and many of us were happy to see the back of him. But in general Projet Montréal has been a progressive force, especially in the Plateau and Rosemont-La Petite Patrie.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free Transit Library


Kingston gives welfare recipients free public transit in 2017


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.

Thayer says she plans to take advantage of the bus pass, calling it an equity issue that will benefit those who are trying to find employment.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture



In recent years, and the past 18 months, in particular, the idea of freely accessible local public transport has taken root in Germany. 1  Roughly half of the country’s population and more than half of SPD, Green, The Left Party and Pirate Party voters favour the idea of state funding for buses, trams, underground networks and trains, and making public transport available free of charge. 2  These circumstances should encourage us to take new, bolder steps; this article is intended as a contribution towards doing just that. Above all, it aims to contribute to the ‘Plan B debate’, and thus to The Left Party’s discussion about a sustainable future....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..while this doc is mostly about bike vs car it demonstrats the power of the car proponents that rule over and other modes of transportation. good doc by the way.

Bikes vs Cars

Air Date: Jan 19, 2017

Length: 1:27:42

Available Until: Feb 16, 2017

About this Video

Bikes vs Cars depicts a global crisis: climate, Earth's resources, cities where the entire surface is consumed by automobiles, an ever-growing, dirty, noisy traffic chaos. The bike is a great tool for change, but the powerful interests behind the private car invest billions each year on lobbying and advertising to protect their business. In the film we meet activists and thinkers who are fighting for better cities, who refuse to stop riding despite the increasing number killed in traffic.

Martin N.

Interesting idea - thinking outside the box. Sounds quite efficient.


Yes, I remember when this was under development (being involved in urban cyclists' and pedestrians' associations). It is important to remember that these forms of public and active transport act in synergy - for example, in the Netherlands there are a lot of commutes between towns and cities in the Randstand (the large conurbation that includes Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and smaller centres); many of these are by commuter rail. These cities are all relatively small and many people can access their final work or home destination by bicycle. Planning making many destinations walkable (including the use of mobility devices for disabled people) is another important facet.

And yes, free public transport.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free Public Transport

english version of a 1hr video.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

A reasonable and maybe possible step to free public transport in the German land/region Hessen: 45.000 employees get a job ticket. It means, the way to and from the working place is paid by the employer and other agents. After 19.00 o'clock and on weekend the ticket is valid for the whole region and also for another person.

Hessen-Tarif bringt zahlreiche Verbesserungen für rund 45.000 Beschäftigte

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

St. Louis Voters Choose Transit Over New Stadium

In a Tuesday vote, St. Louis residents opted to direct funds from a tax increase toward public services rather than a privately owned stadium. Voters passed two tax increases, but turned down a proposition that would have funneled one of those taxes toward a new Major League Soccer stadium, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

Proposition 1, which passed with about 60 percent of the vote, puts a half-cent sales tax increase toward expanding public transportation and providing public safety equipment. Another increase on the tax that businesses pay on out-of-state purchases will go toward affordable housing, public safety and public health....


Great articles! While I like the Hessen initiative (I know people in that Land), it would be more important still to provide free public transport to the many precarious workers. 


Not free, but this is what we are fighting here right now:


Yes, I read about that. Ghastly. 


Yeah, and there's a limousine service claiming they are ready to step in and fill the gap with a self-described "classy" bus service. That's how anxious the Sask Party is to privatize our transportation company - they'd shut the whole thing down and sell it piece by piece (including a whole bunch of brand new buses that just got delivered.

As an aside, the cuts to our library system include shutting down the provincial program which allowed anyone in the province to borrow and have books shipped from anywhere else in Saskatchewan. That interlibrary loan program also depended on the bus system. So basically for less than the cost of paving a kilometer of highway the whole thing is on the chopping block.


That is horrible. We have a similar program through la Bibliothèque nationale du Québec. And now, with the road, even people in Kegaska, the remote village where Boom Boom lived, can borrow books from anywhere in Qc. It is a cultural lifeline for people in remote areas. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i've been reading some stuff as well. how's resistance smith?

lagatta4 Recent mobilisations in Montréal. Much of it is also in English (click on that). 


epaulo13 wrote:

..i've been reading some stuff as well. how's resistance smith?

Haven't budged on STC. Not surprising as I am sure they have been itching to put one of the crown corporations in the ground. They just dropped 20 points in polls though, to below 50 percent, so they are talking about reconsidering lubrary cuts. Problem is, the service they are embarrassed about losing - inter library loans - depends on public transit.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Transit cops or free transit?

After the February murder of Winnipeg transit operator Irvine Jubal Fraser, and other violent attacks, there is a push for transit cops to be introduced in Winnipeg.


If we are serious about reducing violence on public transit, we need to examine the leading source of violence against transit workers: fare disputes.

Fare disputes are the biggest problem

A 2016 survey of transit operators by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) found 74 percent of assaults on operators arose from fare disputes. Survey respondents were allowed multiple answers. “Inadequate service” and “high crime area” were the second most cited reasons, but they were a distant 35 and 32 percent, respectively.

Another more extensive 2005 survey of seven Canadian ATU locals found fare disputes the source of 60 percent of physical assaults and 71 percent of verbal assaults (cited on p.17-18 of this study).

If fare disputes is the leading reason for verbal and physical violence against operators and fare collectors, then we need to look seriously at eliminating fares from transit services. Not looking at this option is simply irresponsible. Can we provide the service free at the point of use and fund it like other free public services through progressive taxation? This question is not even being asked but now is the time to raise it.

But let’s look at what’s being pushed right now: transit cops.

Transit cops: solving or causing problems?

The fact is transit cops simply cannot be on every single bus and at every single transit stop. They are not going to stop those determined to make an attack on operators. Nor will transit cops be able to stop every attack that erupts with a fare dispute. The Toronto Transit Commission employs dozens of “Transit Enforcement” officers but this hasn’t stopped an average of one transit worker being assaulted each day.

Where transit police don’t exist, local police are involved anyway in violent attacks. This means transit cops actually spend most of their time focusing on fare evasion which is an enormous expense.

Yet, just like a regular police force, transit cops are placed in an adversarial position with the public and it is “the usual suspects” who are going to be on the receiving end of their main job of fare enforcement. Poor people, Indigenous people, people of colour are going to be these usual suspects....


Yes, and public transport cops are expensive. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..very expensive! in vancouver 6 top transit security officials were making $100,000 each.


..from the piece

For example, in 2014, Metro Vancouver Transit Police cost $34 million.


Here is an article in Le Devoir about the problems of particulate and noise pollution experienced by people who live near our major autoroutes. In general they are poor and don't own cars, but experience the negatives caused by a high volume of traffic (and many heavy trucks).


Here is a better direction from China. They even pay for it with a capitalist solution. 

There are several keys to the scheme’s success. For starters, although a card is required to hire a bicycle, the first hour is free so if you can get to work or a train or bus stop in under an hour you never have to pay. More than 90% of all rides taken are free.

Plus, the organisation provides a cycle park every 300 metres, with attendants nearby to solve any problems. Each attendant runs 35 stands. A central control room keeps an eye on the entire operation, ensuring there are plenty of cycles available where they are needed.

Another reason it works so well is that it is integrated with all other forms of public transport, so the card that you use for bicycle hire also works on buses, the metro, water taxis and trains. Across the city there is a network of bicycle lanes and bicycle traffic signals providing access to every public transport hub. The authorities have boosted the scheme by imposing parking restrictions and, in some parts, banning petrol-powered motorcycles and scooters.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Laval, Quebec seniors to ride buses fare-free

"“Taking into account that active mobility and mass transit are priorities for Laval residents, the sums announced by the Finance Minister over five years to improve the service offer, including an increase in the frequency of buses, is good news,” the mayor added.

“It will be interesting to see how the new aid package from Quebec for longstanding senior citizen owners is implemented,” he continued. “This type of program, combined with Laval’s measures, including a subsidy for at-home seniors 65 years of age and older and the free public transit for seniors, contributes to the legitimate recognition that we all owe them.”"

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..where community organizing around transit can lead.

What Seattle’s New Left Wants

Katie Wilson, general secretary of the Seattle Transit Riders Union—a pro-transit group—says taking on corporate interests is daunting, but is of central importance to the goals that groups like hers hold.

“If we’re going to really create a society that’s equitable, we as a community need to be taking ownership of services, not just regulating how corporations provide those services,” she says. The current economic structure—capitalism—has left a lot of people on the outside, she says, prompting conversations about a better way. “I think there is increasing interest in non-market solutions to things like the housing crisis.”

On that point, there are a number of ideas on how the city can rein in housing costs—Wilson notes community land trusts as one idea, and a push by South Seattle residents to get a new elderly-housing development built by the city as another. But in the leftist vanguard, the most popular is rent control....


Rent control is important, but so is a stock of social housing. Amsterdam has quite a lot of social housing, even in the historic centre and nearby older areas, which puts a bit of a brake on otherwise runaway speculation - as you can imagine in a desirable historic city which is not very large. 

On the 17th, public transport was free here to mark the 375th anniversary of the (European) foundation of Montréal (though of course people have lived on the island for thousands of years). Yes, many people did go to the events but many others just took advantage of the "free rides". As well they should have! I ran a few errands, for one thing taking a couple of heavy/bulky items that would have been unwieldy on my bicycle to Le Chaînon, a charity shop that helps homeless and otherwise marginalised women. 

Though this increased ridership, the buses were also much quicker loading, as people didn't have to stop to pay with a pass or cash. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Though this increased ridership, the buses were also much quicker loading, as people didn't have to stop to pay with a pass or cash.

..for a long time i've argued this point. that and lower stress levels all round. and yes i agree lagatta re the need for diverse housing strategies.

..seattle has always had progressive elements within but these days i find the left flurishing and making important gains. really coming into its own.

Mr. Magoo

I know this isn't an example of free transit (exactly), but on some of the busier and more overburdened streetcar routes in Toronto -- King, Queen, Dundas and College -- it's a POP (Proof Of Payment) system.  If you've already paid somewhere else and you have a transfer, or you have a pass, you can board by the rear doors.

If you don't have a transfer or a pass, and you haven't actually paid, you can still board by the rear doors and take your chances.  FWIW, I've taken the TTC a zillion times, and never once seen Transit authorities checking, so I'm sure there are some free rides being had.  But it certainly makes the whole thing less of a PITA.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture
epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Free Public Transit

100 reasons to make public transit fare-free