“Those that fail to learn the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat them.”
– Attributed to Winston Churchill (and others)
Discussions of free public transport are often presented by the media and too often even in expert discussions as if it were a new concept that has no history. To make wise policy decisions we need to be aware of this history.
To this end, this broad historic overview and critical expert commentary on the international evolution of Fare Free Public Transport (FTP here) covering the last half century was prepared by Dr. Michel van Hulten (see below) and submitted as a working paper in support of the international conference organized in Tallinn under the title: “Free public transport for all. Dream or reality” In this working paper the author looks at the issues of the ‘why, how, when, where to pay for public transport’ (FFPT) – issues and questions that need to be at the heart of our discussions and in time our decisions and actions.
To get a better feel for this from the perspective of day to day reality when it comes to trying to get wherever you want to go during morning rush hour in Tallinn, let’s have a look at a report by two Estonian researchers, – by Helen Poltimäe and Mari Jüssi, under the title . . .
Factors Affecting Choice of Travel Mode in Tallinn
Leading edge TDM strategies showing the way in Washington D.C..
* Report from David Alpert, Executive Director of Surface Transit of Greater Washington D.C.
World Streets has committed to carry out a series of articles, in cooperation with informed on-the-spot collaborators, looking into various aspects of transport user groups, on the grounds that they are increasingly emerging in many cities around the world as important potential players in the uphill struggle to sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives.
Throughout most of the 20th century transportation decisions were strictly made by government administrations and elected politicians, more often than not in cooperation with interests representing industrial and financial partners supplying infrastructure, vehicles, electronics and services. In most places these were closed loops in which the public was occasionally, at best, invited to approach the table and then asked to share their views on the specifics alternative proposals as prepared and presented by the various administrations and agencies, but for the most part were excluded from the actual planning and decision process. They were at most shadow players.
However this is starting to change, to the extent that in many cities in recent years these groups are increasingly becoming important players in the planning, decision and investment process.
* Exracts: Article by http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38252405continues at
The town of Summit, New Jersey, is about 30 miles west of Manhattan. It has a population of around 20,000. While I’ve never been there myself, I can tell you one thing: finding a parking spot at the train station can be a complete nightmare.
So Mayor Nora Radest was planning to do the obvious and build more spaces to accommodate the growing demand. It would have cost around $10m (£7.9m).That’s an awful lot of money, and so instead she took on an interesting experiment. Everyone who has a parking permit at the station is now entitled to a free Uber ride to and from their homes.
Hello Eric, Thanks for forwarding the short reply by Lloyd Wright on Free Public Transit to the list. It made me think: Hmm possibly the comparison of Free Public Transit to public spaces that are generally open to use by the population free of charge is a strong, valid point. Beyond that 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.