Hello Eric, Thanks for forwarding the short reply by Lloyd Wright on Free Public Transit to the list. It made me think: Hmm possibly that is a strong, valid point. Here are some rough, somewhat wide-ranging and unstructured thoughts:
Like so many issues I feel that this one could benefit from a structured presentation perhaps in the form of a matrix or a similar arrangement to provide an overview of the most important issues, arguments and counter-arguments. (I am open for editing-collaboration for such an undertaking.) However, counterarguments and other considerations came flowing as I sat down to write.
Ali Clabburn, Founder, MD, and Possiblist of the UK ridesharing group Liftshare (at right above) reminds us 18 years later of how much has changed in the world of ridesharing, but also the whole spectrum of sustainable transport thinking and practice.
Ali’s personal story with ridesharing got started by accident.
“Big Data” is a term referring to all the massive amount of information with which people can work in this 21st Century. It is fundamentally different from the casual denomination of “simple” or “historic” data because there is such a huge mass of information generated with Big Data that normal tools of treatment cannot deal with it. This change in the data itself is due to the technological revolution we call “digitalization”.
Following up on Simon Norton comments here of 2016/08/07
“Public Space” is generally mostly free. This includes footpaths, parks, and town squares. If one advocates charging for public transport, it would seem most of the same arguments would apply to public space. And yet few would actually support such a position, principally on grounds of equity.
There are also ways to make public transport funded on a sustainable basis while making it free to the user. There are cities which utilize a parking levy to completely cover all public transport costs.
Such modal funding transfers also carry a great deal of appropriateness when one considers the actual societal costs brought by private motor vehicle use and the actual societal benefits of collective transport.
Simon Norton comments: Submitted on 2016/08/07
There are 2 overriding arguments for free transport:
- It avoids the cost (in both person power and time) of fare collection. The latter is particularly relevant when a bus has to spend ages at bus stops collecting fares from boarding passengers. Then motorists demand that the bus pulls into a layby so that they can get past, and the bus has to waste further time waiting to pull out after all the fares are collected.
- It encourages people to think of public transport as the default option. This increases the likelihood of it being able to provide a comprehensive service, as on less used routes it will be able to capture a high proportion of the overall travel demand.
Now for some counter arguments to the ones put forward by Eric:
What do the 4,448 readers (today) turn to when they check into Word Streets in the morning? It never fails to surprise us. The variety of choice is enormous, and it often happens that articles which we consider minor if still interesting suddenly take off, because it turns out that our readers make up their own minds for their own reasons. Take the most read posting over the last half-dozen years for example — Why Free Public Transport is perhaps a bad idea. We thought it was an interesting and timely topic, but never suspected the depth of interest and that in time it would attract more than ten thousand readers. And what is more continue to show up on the most read list day after day.
In any event once a year we sit down and review the most popular articles going all the way back to the first one published in March 2009, and share the top contenders with our readers and anyone who might be curious about what sort of thing shows up here. In this spirit you will find below the most consulted articles of more than 1,720 that have appeared in these pages. These are the issues that our 4,455 readers in 149 countries on all continents show they care about.