Op-ed: LLoyd Wright In Response to Free Public Transport?

Following up on Simon Norton comments here of 2016/08/07

Lloyd Wright“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.

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Op-ed: In Response to Free Public Transport?

Simon Norton comments: Submitted on 2016/08/07

simon-norton

There are 2 overriding arguments for free transport:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

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Free Public Transport? Hmm, are you quite sure?

free public transport standing bus

                                                                        Anything missing?

There are a good number of proponents around the world — politicians and activists for the most part —  supporting the idea that public transport should be free. It certainly is a tempting idea on a number of grounds. And if we here at World Streets have  our own thoughts on the subject (stay tuned),  it is always good practice to check out both sides of the issues. to get the ball rolling, just below you will find four short statements  taken from the Wikipedia entry, setting out arguments against FPT. More to follow on this but in the meantime we are interested in hearing from our readers and colleagues around the world both with (a) their comments on these criticisms and (b) yet other critical views. (This is sure to be a bit exciting.)

* Note: See numerous, extensive comments below.

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Public transport advocate solicits ideas to break ‘car culture’ in Penang

Penang has over-built infrastructures that are poorly used, says Eric Britton. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

From the Archives. George Town Malaysia. Sept 23 , 2013  http://themalaymailonline.com/ —

By Opalyn Mok

A predilection for cars means that 80 per cent of transport funding is used to cater for the needs of 20 per cent of society, according to a public transport proponent today.

World Car Free Day founder Eric Britton pointed out this uneven distribution in public expenditure was an issue in many modern cities, including Penang.

“It should be the other way around where only 20 per cent funding is needed and it can fulfil the needs of 80 per cent of the society,” he said during a media focus group under the Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda two-week programme this morning.

In a bid to change that, Britton is here for the two-week Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda.

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Op-Ed: Is Tallinn’s “free public transport” initiative doing its job?

tallinn free pubic transport 2celsius.netAs previously documented on World Streets the city of Tallinn, Estonia implemented Free Fare Public Transportation (FFPT) in January of 2013 for all registered citizens of the city. A year and a half into this policy voices from politicians, the media and academia presented an array of opinions in favour of, and refuting benefits of the policy. Thus in May of 2014 I visited Tallinn to conduct interviews with City staff, independent environmentalist consultants and academics alike for my master’s thesis in Urban and Regional Planning Studies at the London School of Economics. My research question was ‘Is Tallinn, Estonia’s free fare public transportation policy meeting its claimed motives as stated by the city’s municipal leaders?

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