Op-ed: Morten Lange (Iceland) in response to Free Public Transport?

iceland Reykjavik free shuttle busHello 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.

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Op-ed: In Response to Free Public Transport?

Simon Norton comments: Submitted on 2016/08/07


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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Towards Sustainable Transport in Malaysia – What we already knew in 2001 and are steadfastly ignoring today

Penang Changing Directions - color

The Consumer Association of Penang organized a National Seminar on Changing directions from 7-10 September 2001  in Penang, subsequent to which a report was published and we now make  freely available here in its entirety at https://goo.gl/kQVD0T. This is a remarkably prescient document which was largely ignored at the time despite the vigorous effort of the Consumers’ Association of Penang and others in the city’s lively civil society and NGOs.  Somehow neither Penang or the national government were prepared to devote time and resources to finding the path to sustainable transport in cities. (And they were not the only ones.)

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Mobilien: Better, Faster, Cheaper. . . than BRT (for Penang)

While Penang is thinking once again about its transportation arrangements, we are hearing a lot of late about BRT and tramways — and rightfully. Both a huge improvement over earlier proposals for a mad spaghetti mix of intrusive monorails, elevated LRT/LRV systems,  Sky Cabs hanging uselessly in the horizon, over-built road infrastructure projects  to serve and encourage yet  more car traffic, and a backbreaking  proposal for a sea tunnel that would bring yet more traffic into the island and in the process extend and multiply today’s traffic mess and associated inconveniencies

But before we make up our minds let’s also give a thought to another less well known mobility option, the Mobilien.  It may be just what you were looking for.

Paris Mobilien 1

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Talking Modern Trams (And Global Transport Strategies) in Penang

France Paris Mobilien bus priority
From Sustainable Penang WhatsApp 24/7 public dialogue of this date:

* More on S/P‘s Online 24/7 Open Town Hall Meeting http://wp.me/psKUY-4iA

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European Mobility Week 2015: Why not Penang?

European mobility week 2015 - page banner

Since 2002 European Mobility Week has sought to influence mobility and urban transport issues, as well as improve the health and quality of life of citizens. The campaign gives citizens the chance to explore what the role of city streets really is, and to explore concrete solutions to tackle urban challenges, such as air pollution. Local authorities are strongly encouraged to use the Week to test new transport measures and get feedback from citizens. It is also an excellent opportunity for local stakeholders to get together and discuss the different aspects of mobility and air quality, find innovative solutions to reduce car-use and thus emissions, and test new technologies or planning measures.

Below you have the list of the 822  cities thus far signed in to support the 2015 week event, as of 27 August 2015. To discover more about how participating cities have used the campaign to enhance their sustainable transport policies, visit the best practice guides.

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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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