Public Transportation

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Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Holding a referedum should be about serious issues like how we vote, and not the purview of the transportation ministry.

Do you feel that the question on the table is just "should we expand transit"?

Or is it more like "should we increase sales tax on everything in order to fund transit expansion"?

Again, I don't really have a personal stake in this, but I also don't think that consulting the electorate on how they want their money spent is some kind of Jedi Mind Trick.  If the citizens don't want this, what's the rationale for doing it anyway?  The government knows better?

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

The government has the right to set the sales taxes to any amount. The government also has the right to build transit.

Bacchus

The government has the right to eliminate transit and set sales taxes to zero

 

Doesnt mean they should, regadless of what the electorate believes (Im pretty sure they would say build transit and eliminate taxes even tho you cant do one without the other)

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
The government has the right to set the sales taxes to any amount. The government also has the right to build transit.

Of course.

I'm just suggesting that if a big part of the reason to NOT hold a referendum on a particular topic is the fear that the electorate might vote "No" when you wish they'd vote "Yes" then it's a bit hinky to say "well, let's just go ahead with our plans, knowing as we do that the people we represent don't want them".

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Im pretty sure they would say build transit and eliminate taxes even tho you cant do one without the other

If I'm not mistaken, the State of California holds lots of referenda, and they're all legally binding on the current administration, no matter how absurd or contradictory the results might be.  So, we want a reduction in taxes, PLUS a 50% increase in education spending.  As I recall, something like that forced their legislature to cut health care spending in order to square the circle, and of course the electorate was all up on their hind legs about that too.

Sean in Ottawa

In terms of those who get the benefits paying when it comes to transit I think  we should have a wider definition of benefit.

- when cars come off the road everyone gets better air quality

- this better air quality reduces the cost of health care for everybody

- when cars come off the road the remaining cars have less congestion to deal with and get to where tehy are going faster

- if transit is more efficient and affordable economic activity is improved

- if people who need work can afford to move around more easily they may find work faster helping the entire society.

My preference for the bulk of transit costs would be a licence plate tax to all cars within reach of the public transit and a removal of fares.

Those who have cars have an incentive to use transit where practical and they contribute to the social goods of public transit.

I worked out the rough costs of doing this in Ottawa -- it came to about $350 a year per car and this would replace all the money collected in fare boxes while allowing for expansion.

Public transit is a public good.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:

In terms of those who get the benefits paying when it comes to transit I think  we should have a wider definition of benefit.

- when cars come off the road everyone gets better air quality

- this better air quality reduces the cost of health care for everybody

- when cars come off the road the remaining cars have less congestion to deal with and get to where tehy are going faster

- if transit is more efficient and affordable economic activity is improved

- if people who need work can afford to move around more easily they may find work faster helping the entire society.

I would agree that those who don't regularly use transit enjoy those benefits.

And those who do regularly use transit enjoy those benefits PLUS the more immediate and obvious benefit of getting where they want to go for a few bucks.

If I use taxis on those rare times where I need to get from A to B as quickly as possible then everyone enjoys the benefit of me not owning and using a private smogmobile, and of me supporting a more reasonable alternative to private car ownership in the city, but neither of those is on the same scale as the benefit I get from being able to go from A to B as soon as possible.

So why should I, and everyone else, be "equal partners" in my cab fare??

I totally get that public transit does benefit everyone, to some degree.  But as I understand it, everyone DOES actually help fund it, to some degree.  But what's my "fair share" of a meal I don't eat?

NorthReport

The Lower Mainland referendum sounds like it is dead in the water. 

NorthReport

Christy Clark has pilled off a brilliant political coup.

You know it's over when you hear the mayor talk like this.

Mayor Gregor Robertson mystified by billions of dollars for bridges while public transit requires a vote

http://www.straight.com/blogra/412291/mayor-gregor-robertson-mystified-b...

NorthReport

Somehow Translink have allowed themselves to be tarred and feathered. I listening to a public transportation analyst being interviewed this week who said overall, he had several different categories, that Translink does as good a job as any in North America. 

TransLink brand a ball and chain for Yes side, poll finds

http://angusreid.org/transit-referendum/

jas

NorthReport wrote:

Mayor Gregor Robertson mystified by billions of dollars for bridges while public transit requires a vote

http://www.straight.com/blogra/412291/mayor-gregor-robertson-mystified-b...

Hear, hear.

Mr. Magoo

Is it really "transit" that requires the vote, or the increase to the existing sales tax?

Did those bridges also come with a sales tax increase?

NorthReport

Any new bridges will be tolled. 

A major international consortium that met within the past year in Vancouver that basically is in the business of building roads and/or tolling. Eventually people are going to be charged per kilometre but the profits I'm sure will primarily go to this consortium.

NorthReport

Pete McMartin: Port Mann takes its toll, just not the one hoped for 

A single bridge has run up as much debt as the price tag for half TransLink’s entire plan
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Pete+McMartin+Port+Mann+takes+toll+just...

Rev Pesky

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Is it really "transit" that requires the vote, or the increase to the existing sales tax?

Did those bridges also come with a sales tax increase?

The referendum is a non-binding vote on a 0.5% increase in the sales tax in Metro Vancouver. That is, an increase from 7% to 7.5%. The money collected will ostensibly be used to expand transit throughout this area.

I am opposed to this initiative primarily because I am opposed to sales taxes. Sales taxes are the most regressive of taxes, In this case, many people who neither own vehicles, nor use transit, will be paying.

I am also opposed because the province already has a carbon tax that was supposed to be used for 'greening', but apparently is returned fully to taxpayers, and therefore amounts to nothing more than a bureaucracy that removes money from one pocket and puts it in another. We also had a Pacific Carbon Trust that was designed to, well it was supposed to reduce carbon emissions...what it did was take money out of school and hospital budgets and turned that money over to the private sector for carbon offset projects. The government was never able to show a single project that would have not gone ahead without the school and hospital money.

In the meantime, the government has spent hundreds of millions (indeed, billions) expanding roads throughout the lower mainland, including a monument to the car, the Port Mann bridge which was briefly the widest bridge in the world, and was built to allow easier access by car into Vancouver. So much for vehicle congestion...

There is currently 1 Billion dollars a year in carbon tax collections. Plenty of money to expand the transit system.

 

Basement Dweller

Rev Pesky wrote:

I am opposed to this initiative primarily because I am opposed to sales taxes. Sales taxes are the most regressive of taxes, In this case, many people who neither own vehicles, nor use transit, will be paying.

Who are you refering to? Most people who can't afford a car, and live in the city, use transit.

Rev Pesky

Basement Dweller wrote:
Who are you refering to? Most people who can't afford a car, and live in the city, use transit.

The point is that the sales tax is collected from everyone who buys things, yet many of those people neither have cars or use transit.
This would include many people at the very bottom income level.

In any case, as I pointed out, there's plenty of money being taken in right now. The carbon tax amounts to about a billion dollars a year, which is four times what the proposed sales tax increase will provide. At the same time, the people paying the carbon tax are drivers, and that tax was supposed to be used for green initiatives. There's plenty of money for transit expansion (certainly if they can afford a 3.5 billion dollar bridge) within the existing tax structure.

 

Sean in Ottawa

The argument to promote spending on public transit relies on a conception of the public good that some people miss or refuse to consider: a healthy environment, a more just and humane society; health benefits derived from cleaner air and a reduction in commute times; social benefits from eliminating traffic jams; reduced road repairs costs from lower traffic; more access to transit for job seekers leading to a reduced need for the volume of social benefits; greater independence for people without cars; better circulation improving commercial activity etc. To name a few.

If you accept these social goods -- or indeed even just a few of them, it is not difficult to justify community support for transit including funds raised from people who may not use transit. Perhaps some of those people will simply make do with a faster commute with fewer cars on the road, lower taxes due to health care cost reductions and reduced road maintenance, and the benefits of living in a vibrant city. They also benefit from the fact that they would have access to this service should they need it for any reason that might prevent them from driving in the future. We should not pity them.

I have long believed that public transit should be a free service as a public good -- a number of costs would be eliminated: tickets, fare inspectors, fare boxes, sales and security of fares collected. An additional charge on all plates in an area served by transit can pay for transit. Drivers will want to keep their cars but may use them a lot less with prepaid transit. Some exceptions could be considered for people with very low incomes who need a car. But there are not that many who fit in that category. Most lower income people would benefit from the provision of public transit.

Basement Dweller

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

social benefits from eliminating traffic jams

Yeah, this is a big one for low income people who are in poor health. Less air pollution and faster response time for emergency services.

Basement Dweller

Rev, I think most of us here agree that the Port Mann was a poor priority. The money spent on it, should've been spent on transit and other more worthy infrastructure.

So where does this leave us? We still need money for expanding public transit, replacing the Pattullo etc. I have to disagree with you when you say the money is already there. It clearly isn't there, and raising more money has proven a political nightmare. Apparently, the municipalities turned down the idea of raising property taxes for this (IIRC) so now we are faced with this plebiscite.

At some point, we need to just get on with it. Most of what I'm hearing from the NO side is generalized negativity, so I'm starting to feel better about voting YES.

I do think it's a mistake for the YES side to talk so much about another million people 30 years in the future. People want to know how their lives will improve in the near future and not population projections that may not even become true. Face it, many people avoid the Lower Mainland because of insane real estate prices and earthquake risks.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Basement Dweller wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

social benefits from eliminating traffic jams

Yeah, this is a big one for low income people who are in poor health. Less air pollution and faster response time for emergency services.

Huh?

Your sarcasm is out of place if that is what it is meant to be.

Thousands of people with compormised lung function die from polution. Try looking up the social determinants of health to get an idea how low income and health concerns relate to each other.

And if you want to target what I said to low income people only I would suggest you look also to my comments about increased mobility without the disproportionate costs transportation take out of low income budgets.

A larger family with highschool students can pay more in bus passes than they spend on rent.

At $7 for a round trip unemployed people have to be careful of what jobs they go to apply for when their income assistance is barely over their rent.

It does not look like you have a huge grasp of low income issues becuase if you did you would be able to make better connections from what I said about social benefits and public good.

Basement Dweller

Sean, I wasn't being sarcastic. I agree with you.

I guess I'm so bitter, I sound sarcastic even when I don't mean it. Undecided

Sean in Ottawa

Basement Dweller wrote:

Sean, I wasn't being sarcastic. I agree with you.

I guess I'm so bitter, I sound sarcastic even when I don't mean it. Undecided

Sorry -- I thought you were becuase you picked up that but not the obvious access to transportation issue.

Again my apologies.

ETA I am going to blame AJAY in part for this. His constant sarcasm has me reading past literal meaning for intended meanings on sarcasm alert all the time.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
The argument to promote spending on public transit relies on a conception of the public good that some people miss or refuse to consider: a healthy environment, a more just and humane society; health benefits derived from cleaner air and a reduction in commute times; social benefits from eliminating traffic jams; reduced road repairs costs from lower traffic; more access to transit for job seekers leading to a reduced need for the volume of social benefits; greater independence for people without cars; better circulation improving commercial activity etc. To name a few.

I don't especially disagree, but while more and better transit does have some slightly nebulous benefits for everyone, it has very clear and obvious -- and I think, much more significant -- benefits for users.

Taxi service is also beneficial to "everyone", in the sense that it keeps some private cars off the road some of the time, allows for safe transportation from bars and parties, allows people without a car to occasionally shop in bulk and so on, we generally understand that the primary beneficiary of someone taking a cab is the person who's taking a cab.

I'm not saying this is the only consideration, of course, but transit isn't in the same category as, say, a water treatment plant.  EVERYONE uses water.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i agree that transit should be free or pretty dam close to it. context is important though. those who stiff the transit system here was reported to have cost no more than $200,000 a year. and i'm not sure it is that high. the true cost maybe half that. the cost of keeping people from riding fee though, is humongous. at translink 6 top security officials earn around $100,000 each a year. then there's the small army of security personnel. there's the costs and maintenance of the gates that allow you to get to a skytrain platform. and the cost of the smart card system they are trying to introduce..which keeps getting delayed. fines for not paying a fare is $175 which is outrageous. it criminalizes transit users. this is a ridicules way to run a transit system.

Mr. Magoo

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fines for not paying a fare is $175 which is outrageous. it criminalizes transit users.

All of them?  Or just some of them?

Do library fines "criminalize" library users?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..all of them not just some. this goes further..the army does spot checks. 2 or 3 of them get on a bus while 1 or more stand outside by the doors in case someone wants tries leave. they ask everyone to show proof of fare. so yes this criminalizes transit users. having said that magoo i would appreciate you addressing my post as a whole.

Mr. Magoo

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the army does spot checks. 2 or 3 of them get on a bus while 1 or more stand outside by the doors in case someone wants tries leave. they ask everyone to show proof of fare. so yes this criminalizes transit users.

Do "RIDE" checks (which is to say, drunk driving spot checks) criminalize drivers?

Do random audits criminalize tax filers?

I don't think that recognizing that anyone could be a criminal then, de facto, makes everyone one.  The flip side of any program which relies on people's honesty is that it has to, occasionally and randomly, test people's honesty.

So my thinking is that a random check of who paid their fare and who didn't "criminalizes" solely those who didn't.  Is that really inappropriate? 

Quote:
having said that magoo i would appreciate you addressing my post as a whole.

OK.  Let me start by suggesting that if enforcing fare paying costs more than is CURRENTLY lost to fare-cheats, perhaps that's because we enforce it.  How many more people would choose to "jump the turnstile" if we didn't?

I'm sure that enforcing speed limits loses us more in enforcement than it could ever recoup in tickets, but if word got out that you can drive whatever speed you want and nobody will stop you, wouldn't it seem likely that we might have more speeders than we do now?

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
The argument to promote spending on public transit relies on a conception of the public good that some people miss or refuse to consider: a healthy environment, a more just and humane society; health benefits derived from cleaner air and a reduction in commute times; social benefits from eliminating traffic jams; reduced road repairs costs from lower traffic; more access to transit for job seekers leading to a reduced need for the volume of social benefits; greater independence for people without cars; better circulation improving commercial activity etc. To name a few.

I don't especially disagree, but while more and better transit does have some slightly nebulous benefits for everyone, it has very clear and obvious -- and I think, much more significant -- benefits for users.

Taxi service is also beneficial to "everyone", in the sense that it keeps some private cars off the road some of the time, allows for safe transportation from bars and parties, allows people without a car to occasionally shop in bulk and so on, we generally understand that the primary beneficiary of someone taking a cab is the person who's taking a cab.

I'm not saying this is the only consideration, of course, but transit isn't in the same category as, say, a water treatment plant.  EVERYONE uses water.

 

I disagree-- both with your minimization of the public goods I raised and your comparison to taxis which are not much more efficient people movers than private cars. If people all used cabs instead of cars we would have the same number of cars on the road at any given time except more of them would be taxis. Taxis offer none of the benefits I raised.

Taxis are a rare luxury without the social benefits I raised. They are part of a solution for people who do not have a car -- that is all. They are certainly not a daily option to driving.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

magoo

..that is why i prefaced with the free transit position. the other was context for that and only using the security aspect to do so. maybe you don't agree with what i'm saying about the criminalization. but i know what things used to be like before translink. i am aware of the debates that took place before the the gates were put in at the stations. and i'm saying to you that this is a criminalizing process. where transit users are deemed potential criminals until they prove otherwise. bus drivers before and even now in spite of the security let people ride free. most of this happens along the more impoverished routes but many other people have been allowed because they don't have change or for whatever reason. now a kind of militarization has taken place within translink. the security contract was initially won by an american corp that provides military security. this is not comparable to other fee collections.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
I disagree-- both with your minimization of the public goods I raised

I made clear that I don't entirely disagree with those public goods.  I just think that the direct, "private goods" that individual users receive is significant.  I really can't see how a person who doesn't use transit receives even slightly as much benefit from it as someone who does.

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and your comparison to taxis which are not much more efficient people movers than private cars.

Taxis were only meant as a (hopefully clearer) example of the individual user benefitting significantly more than a non-user.

Quote:
and i'm saying to you that this is a criminalizing process. where transit users are deemed potential criminals until they prove otherwise.

Then what of my examples?

Is the RIDE program similarly criminalizing?

Are CRA audits similarly criminalizing?

Again, as I see it, any program that mostly relies on the honesty of the public needs, occasionally, to test that honesty, if only so as to convince that segment of the population who would drive drunk, cheat on their taxes, or jump the turnstile if they believed that nobody was looking.

I think that being asked to show proof of payment is much less of a problem (and/or a "criminalization") for those who did, in fact pay.  What's your thinking on this?

Years ago, when I'd ride the train, the conductor would come around to each car and punch everyone's ticket.  You're telling me that that made me some kind of criminal or something?  Really?

 

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I disagree-- both with your minimization of the public goods I raised

I made clear that I don't entirely disagree with those public goods.  I just think that the direct, "private goods" that individual users receive is significant.  I really can't see how a person who doesn't use transit receives even slightly as much benefit from it as someone who does.

Quote:
and your comparison to taxis which are not much more efficient people movers than private cars.

Taxis were only meant as a (hopefully clearer) example of the individual user benefitting significantly more than a non-user.

Quote:
and i'm saying to you that this is a criminalizing process. where transit users are deemed potential criminals until they prove otherwise.

Then what of my examples?

Is the RIDE program similarly criminalizing?

Are CRA audits similarly criminalizing?

Again, as I see it, any program that mostly relies on the honesty of the public needs, occasionally, to test that honesty, if only so as to convince that segment of the population who would drive drunk, cheat on their taxes, or jump the turnstile if they believed that nobody was looking.

I think that being asked to show proof of payment is much less of a problem (and/or a "criminalization") for those who did, in fact pay.  What's your thinking on this?

Years ago, when I'd ride the train, the conductor would come around to each car and punch everyone's ticket.  You're telling me that that made me some kind of criminal or something?  Really?

 

Tell me do you feel the same way about taxes?

Should all tax payers expect the exact same return in value for the money they pay?

This has the same logic you are employing here.

The public good does not have to have absolute or even proximate individual benefits.

How about the police?

The people who have more to protect get more benefit so should they be the only ones who pay?

What about schools -- should people who do not have kids not have to pay -- why not privatize them all?

What about hospital they disproportioantely help sick people should only the sick pay?

All these are public goods there when we need them. When they are more efficiently paid collectively or when by paying them collectively we get greater social justice or public benefits, it does not matter if everyone does not make direct use at the same rate.

The person who does not use the pubic transit might use more of something else the public pays for. And that's okay.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i feel i have responded to your examples. they don't apply. your are trying to compare it to something in the broader field of fee collection when i have given specific information. ie the militarization like change that has taken place. this is a reality and the implications are real as well. just recently they have had to back off working with immigration because people objected and it was creating very bad press. there was even a death involved. their presence exudes intimidation and it's not just me saying this. some pack guns. this is not a way to run a transit system.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Should all tax payers expect the exact same return in value for the money they pay?

I wouldn't let perfect be the enemy of the good.

I just think that those who most clearly and most significantly benefit from something should expect to pay a bit more in support of it than those who don't.  It seems to me hardly unreasonable that those who most clearly benefit from transit might pay more for it in the same way that those who most clearly benefit from driving a car pay more for it.  And it's really not like transit isn't already subsidized.  I just don't have a huge problem with a fare, either, and I say this as a non-driver who uses (and benefits from!) the TTC.

ed'd to add:

Quote:
What about hospital they disproportioantely help sick people should only the sick pay?

I dunno.  Can you assure me that no matter what they require, the fee for service will be a fixed $3?

If so, I wouldn't worry too badly if they (or I) had to pay that $3 out of pocket.

Same with police services, or fire services.  If it's three bucks a call, just put a few loonies in a jar, labelled "emergency fund", and then if it happens to you, grab the jar.

"But wait!!", you're surely thinking, "what about someone who calls the police every day?!?!"

Sean in Ottawa

Wow Mr. Magoo --  I did not expect such libertarian views here.

The $3 bit is not a relevant comparison. Public tranist is not such a small cost and nor is hospital care.

I will add one thing that you are missing: there are already more subsidies for cars than exist for public transit.

Where I live in Ottawa:

The city spends more on roads than transit

The province despite service charges spends more on MTO than it gets back

The policing of drivers on the roads costs millions

The health costs of accidents are paid by the public

 

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Wow Mr. Magoo --  I did not expect such libertarian views here.

I think that any real Libertarian would be arguing for no taxes on anything, at all, and I'm doing no such thing. 

I don't have a problem with non-transit-users subsidizing the system some, the same as I have no problem with non-drivers subsidizing roads some.

Quote:
The $3 bit is not a relevant comparison. Public tranist is not such a small cost and nor is hospital care.

Six dollars, both ways, as a fixed and known cost IS pretty small.  $170,000 for a double lung transplant you couldn't have planned for IS NOT a small cost.  That's why we have socialized health insurance.  And that's why it's really insurance, not just a fixed cost.

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The city spends more on roads than transit

Where do Ottawa buses drive?  Here in Toronto, they also drive on roads.

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The health costs of accidents are paid by the public

And what of other health-care needs in Ottawa?  Here in Toronto, all health-care needs are paid by the public.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Wow Mr. Magoo --  I did not expect such libertarian views here.

I think that any real Libertarian would be arguing for no taxes on anything, at all, and I'm doing no such thing. 

I don't have a problem with non-transit-users subsidizing the system some, the same as I have no problem with non-drivers subsidizing roads some.

Quote:
The $3 bit is not a relevant comparison. Public tranist is not such a small cost and nor is hospital care.

Six dollars, both ways, as a fixed and known cost IS pretty small.  $170,000 for a double lung transplant you couldn't have planned for IS NOT a small cost.  That's why we have socialized health insurance.  And that's why it's really insurance, not just a fixed cost.

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The city spends more on roads than transit

Where do Ottawa buses drive?  Here in Toronto, they also drive on roads.

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The health costs of accidents are paid by the public

And what of other health-care needs in Ottawa?  Here in Toronto, all health-care needs are paid by the public.

Are you going to calculate the cost of a lung transplant by the price per breath? If not don't suggest that public transit is small money. Public transit if you use it regularly costs over $100 a month $1200 a year for an individual. This can represent as much as 10% of a low income earner's income. In the case of families the math can be worse. No it is not small.

Health care is not just socialized when it comes to huge expenses it is a social good that is available without out of pocket charges for small amounts. A single vist to a doctor costs less than a monthly bus pass but it is still covered.

Our buses drive on roads and on the the transit way. The cause a lot less damage to the roads per person moved than cars do and are a lot more efficient to regulate. Buses do not need as many lanes, bridges or roads as cars.

You are missing the point about accidents. Additional accidents are caused by having people drive themselves. The fewer cars on the road the fewer accidents so it is clear that driving is subsidized through public health insurance. And yes, it is the same in Toronto where you ahve a higher accident rate than we have in Ottawa which is why you have higher car insurance. But car insurance does not compensate the public health system.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Are you going to calculate the cost of a lung transplant by the price per breath?

No.  Just looking at the difference between a fixed, and relatively low expenditure compared with a sudden, unexpected bill for three years' earnings (or more).

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Public transit if you use it regularly costs over $100 a month

And any other transit, if you use it regularly, costs even more.  But you're the one who wants to go from A to B, and gets to.

I do understand that if you don't earn much, $6 per day is more of a ding to your paycheque than if you're a one-percenter, but those people who don't use transit are also having to pay for their trip, so it's just not obvious to me why they should be the primary contributor to yours too.

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Health care is not just socialized when it comes to huge expenses it is a social good that is available without out of pocket charges for small amounts.

Yes, big or small amounts, just like my house insurance covers a catastrophic fire or a broken eavestrough.

But my interest in home insurance isn't really the eavestrough... that's my point.

Transit doesn't sometimes send you a bill for $100,000.  It's three bucks, paid up front.  No surprises, nothing you can't plan for.

Quote:
You are missing the point about accidents. Additional accidents are caused by having people drive themselves. The fewer cars on the road the fewer accidents so it is clear that driving is subsidized through public health insurance.

Fair enough, but public health also covers some dipshit who injures himself trying to do a double-olly down the handrail on his sk8board.  If we want to debate which injuries should or should not be covered, or to say that we're all unfairly subsidizing sk8rs, maybe that should be a different thread.

 

Sean in Ottawa

We will not agree on this -- I see a public role in a way you obviously don't. I don't see the public only stepping in only for one-time expenses but also where there are a number of public goods as I have outlined. In many ways transit enables other goods -- like making it easier for people to find work and get to it. It changes behaviours in ways that improves society where individuals could not on their own make the change. And it contributes to fairer access to just about anything in the material world.The cost of transit does range from insignificant to some people to an impossible burden for others.

I think we are probably on very different ideological lines here.

 

Rev Pesky

Basement Dweller wrote:
...I have to disagree with you when you say the money is already there. It clearly isn't there, and raising more money has proven a political nightmare.

The province is currently colllecting a billion a year from the carbon tax. As I pointed out, that is four times what they might collect from the sales tax increase. So the money is most definitely there. What isn't there is the principled opposition to sales taxes from the left. I would say the NDP is afraid of their own shadow, but unfortunately here in BC the NDP doesn't cast a shadow...

When they move to improve and expand transit with progressive taxation, I'm all for it. I am also for free, or very nominal pricing, to ride transit. One of the things that gets in the way of people using transit is that they've already paid, or are paying, for their cars. The cost of additional miles is very small compared to the cost of monthly paymenbts, depreciation and insurance.

And just by the way, who will benefit most from less congestion on the roads? It would be drivers of private cars who can still enjoy the privacy of their vehicle for their commute, with the poor paying for transit through sales taxes. Now there's a win/win for the wealthy. Who could argue with that?

 

 

jas

Rev Pesky wrote:

The province is currently colllecting a billion a year from the carbon tax. As I pointed out, that is four times what they might collect from the sales tax increase. So the money is most definitely there. What isn't there is the principled opposition to sales taxes from the left. I would say the NDP is afraid of their own shadow, but unfortunately here in BC the NDP doesn't cast a shadow...

Yes, it sounds to me like the money is there. As it is for BC Ferries.

What exactly are they doing with the carbon tax? Wouldn't this be the very thing such a tax is for? By pegging it to a sales tax, they've ensured a 'No' vote.

Basement Dweller

Sean, no worries. I don't read Ajay's posts as he is obviously trolling.

Regardless, a massive NO vote (over two-thirds) seems to be a foregone conclusion. I wish it would be seen as a vote against regressive taxation. It will more likely be seen as a vote against transportation infrastructure spending, whether we want it seen that way or not. So we'il just muddle along with our worldclass traffic jams and patchy public transit.

Who knows, maybe that's why TPTB ensured a NO vote. They won't have to do anything, because the people said so.

Rev Pesky

jas wrote:
...What exactly are they doing with the carbon tax? Wouldn't this be the very thing such a tax is for? By pegging it to a sales tax, they've ensured a 'No' vote.

In that the vote is non-binding I'm not sure even why we're having a vote. They'll do what they want anyway. A NO vote may delay things, but only long enough for them to make another plan.

But yes, where does that carbon tax money go? Well, according to the government it doesn't exist. According to them, the carbon tax is revenue neutral, so what they are taking with one hand they're returning with another. They also claim that in fact the tax is revenue negative in that they are returning more money to small business than they are taking in. Or to put it in another way. what they take from drivers at the pump is being given to small business, so therefore there's no money for the green projects they said it was for when it was instituted.

Exactly how this is supposed to reduce carbon emissions is a bit of a mystery, but again, mysterious accounting is the forte of this government. For instance, they've claimed balanced budgets for years, but the provincial debt keeps rising. Now, you and I would say those two things can't both be true. If you taking in what you're putting out, you shouldn't be going further into debt. Of course you and I would count all of the money we spent as outgoing. Not so the BC Liberal party. According to them, money spent on infrastructure is not money spent, therefore doesn't show up as government spending, therefore the budget is balanced. This is an interesting concept, but one which is accepted wholeheartedly by the media here. We should all be so lucky.

 

 

jas

Rev Pesky wrote:
Exactly how this is supposed to reduce carbon emissions is a bit of a mystery, but again, mysterious accounting is the forte of this government. For instance, they've claimed balanced budgets for years, but the provincial debt keeps rising. Now, you and I would say those two things can't both be true. If you taking in what you're putting out, you shouldn't be going further into debt. Of course you and I would count all of the money we spent as outgoing. Not so the BC Liberal party. According to them, money spent on infrastructure is not money spent, therefore doesn't show up as government spending, therefore the budget is balanced. This is an interesting concept, but one which is accepted wholeheartedly by the media here. We should all be so lucky.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here, as money spent on infrastructure is a legitimate capital expenditure, and will show up on the books as assets. If, however, that government is the BC Liberals, and spending far exceeds the value of the goods or services received, then yes, that's not legitimate spending. I suspect this is how the debt is accumulating -- through quasi-privatization and P3 arrangements which have the net effect of driving up public costs (while services remain the same or are reduced).

Rev Pesky

jas wrote:
I'm not sure I understand what you mean here, as money spent on infrastructure is a legitimate capital expenditure, and will show up on the books as assets...

 

I didn't say it wasn't legitimate, I said it wasn't counted as money spent. They are borrowing money to build roads and bridges, but not including the money spent in the budget, then claiming a balanced budget.

Remember that money spent on a road is not quite the same as you spending money buying a house. To begin with, your house in most cases would be of increasing value, increasing your equity without costing you anything. Secondly, you could turn around and sell your house, getting your original investment plus your increased equity (minus of course the money spent on mortgage payments, etc.).

But let us take Highway 17 in the lower mainland as an example. This is a new section of road roughly 44km running from Exit 53 on Highway 1 to Deltaport. Total cost $1.26 billion. The question of whether it's legitimate spending or not is immaterial. The point is that the spending doesn't show up in the budget as spending. But unlike the home you purchased, it will never be sold, nor will it increase in value. Whether the spending of the money is legitimate or no, the money spent is still money spent, money that had to be borrowed. Money that adds to the debt of the province. Money which should show up on the deficit side of the government ledger.

Or to put it another way, why not treat spending on schools the same way? Hospitals? What counts as 'infrastructure' (showing net zero on the balance sheet) seems to be subject to the whim of government. Thus transit is government spending, and roads are not, schools and hospitals are government spending and bridges are not.

When the next inevitable economic downturn comes along, whoever is the government of the day is going to be saddled with this debt, which we know has only one payer, unless of course we could just sell off the province to the highest bidder...  

onlinediscountanvils

Basement Dweller wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

I am opposed to this initiative primarily because I am opposed to sales taxes. Sales taxes are the most regressive of taxes, In this case, many people who neither own vehicles, nor use transit, will be paying.

Who are you refering to? Most people who can't afford a car, and live in the city, use transit.

 

I live in the city, can't afford a car, and can't afford public transit fares.

onlinediscountanvils

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I have long believed that public transit should be a free service as a public good -- a number of costs would be eliminated: tickets, fare inspectors, fare boxes, sales and security of fares collected.

It would also make the drivers' workplaces safer, as the overwhelming majority of assaults on drivers stem from fare disputes.

Rev Pesky

Spent some time this weekend with a person living in the Commercial Dr. area. According to her, transit drivers let anyone one the bus, often by the rear door. They do not check for fare paid. So in a sense, transit is free if you're getting on transit in that area (exclusive of skytrain). Translink tries to overcome this by stopping busses every so often and demanding each passenger show proof of paid fare. She described it a 'a bunch of blackshirts' getting on the bus and harassing the passengers. I should point out that the person who told me this is working and does pay fares. But it is obvious to her that the whole scenario is ridiculous, and I agree.

Meantime Translink has been trying to introduce the Compas Card setup for 5!! count'em, 5 years, and still haven't been able to accomplish it. So far the cost for the non-working system is up to almost $200 million! Could they have used that $200 million to expand transit? Yes. Is this one of the reasons people don't trust Translink? Yes.

So the powers that be have spent years pissing money away on useless systems, transit police and horrendously expensive roads and bridges. Now they come to people and beg for more money. Believe me, there is no guarantee that the sales tax money will be any better spent than the several billioin dollars they've spent so far. 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
According to her, transit drivers let anyone one the bus, often by the rear door. They do not check for fare paid. So in a sense, transit is free if you're getting on transit in that area (exclusive of skytrain). Translink tries to overcome this by stopping busses every so often and demanding each passenger show proof of paid fare. She described it a 'a bunch of blackshirts' getting on the bus and harassing the passengers.

We have a similar thing on several streetcar lines in Toronto -- called POP, or "Proof of Payment" lines.  If you have a pass or a transfer you can board via the back door(s), and if you're paying cash or using a token you need to get on at the front, and get a transfer that will be your proof of payment.

99% of the time, that's it.  But occasionally, like a "RIDE" spotcheck, or a CRA audit, transit officials may demand that proof of payment.

Seems to me that this means that boarding is way more efficient than if everyone had to board using only the front doors.  And if you're not a dishonest rider, being asked to show your pass 1% of the time rather than 100% of the time isn't really the end of the world.  Or is it??

To compare this to fascism ("blackshirts!!") is stupid. 

Basement Dweller

There are various nodes - eg. skytrain is at a bus terminal - where you don't generally get asked for proof of payment when you get on a bus. I used this all the time when I was a teen back in the 80s, and I understand this hasn't really changed.

Rev Pesky

Mr. Magoo wrote:
...To compare this to fascism ("blackshirts!!") is stupid. 

 I believe she was referring to the attitude of the fare checkers towards the riders. Given that most of the riders are fully paid, one would expect a certain level of politeness from the transit police. Apparently that's not part of the training...

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