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bikes/transportation | environment

Free Public Transit

Announcing a new website to promote removing the user fee from urban buses, trains, trolleys, street cars, and light rail.
Auto and sprawl [autosprawl] are heavily subsidized. But the subsidy is hidden in "externalities." That means the true cost of autosprawl such as the cost of oil wars and carbon dioxide emissions are not charged against oil, coal, natural gas, and automobile company profits.
At the same time, mostly poor people are being charged a fare to do something - use public transit - that benefits everyone.
We should pay the fare from general tax revenue.
There is a new website (as of 14 April 2007) for the people who want to promote this. As advocates send in their suggestions, the site is improved.

homepage: homepage: http://www.freepublictransit.org

buses should be free 25.Jun.2007 08:15

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

I have been saying buses should be free for years now. It only makes sense.
From Eat the State, Oct. 22, 2003 ( http://eatthestate.org/08-04/EatTheseShorts.htm)

As I sat on a bus today, inching along in traffic, it became clear to me that all buses should be free. People who ride buses are providing a public service. To charge money to ride the bus is insane. Bus riders are reducing traffic congestion for the one-person-per-car overload on our streets and freeways. Bus riders are reducing pollution. Bus riders are using considerably less gas, and many buses are run on electricity, not Middle Eastern oil. According to statistics, three percent of the population rides buses. A way to increase the number would be to make buses free.

We should add a tax to auto licensing fees, car sales taxes, etc. to subsidize the bus systems. If cars insist on clogging the roads to a point where the traffic is impenetrable, the sky is hazy, the gas is priced sky-high, and we need to wage war to satiate our endless gas needs, then car drivers need to be willing to pay anyone willing to ride a bus. If people expect to continue to clog streets and guzzle gas, sitting in their cars alone, they are going to need to convince someone else to not drive, to make room for their SUV. We cannot sustain a land of one car per American. That is insanity. It is time to make the people driving cars pay outright for the traffic-reducing, pollution-reducing, gas-conserving buses, not the bus riders.--KA

After I wrote the above I saw a local news story in Seattle. It was mid-October 2003, and there was a proposal to up the requirement from two people to three people for carpool lane usage on Seattle's clogged freeways. People did not like that, and instead proposed express lanes be built for the rich, basically. The idea is to build more express lanes, but to charge toll fees to use the new express lanes. I am sure people in Bellevue would fund an express lane on 520 that kept the poor out of their way on the highway in a second, even while their libraries were shut due to lack of funding. Instead of subsidizing and improving mass transit in Seattle, or learning how to carpool, people are now proposing more highway construction and elite, private roads for those who can afford them? Wow. --KA

Public Transportation could be Free and non-Polluting. 25.Jun.2007 10:52

Blacklisted yardforeman, conductor.

The proposal to Free Public Transportation has been around since the late nineteeth century. Remember the electrification of rail that the trams brought in around 1890's Tacoma-- Seattle and the millions of peoples that rode them back then. It was popular and non-polluting and public. Vancouver B.C. Canada first started their electric streetcar, and tram service in 1891. In those days the industrial revolution was looked on as a liberating force in nature and the peoples using these services had intelligence and theory how to further liberate society. The predominant theory whent something like this. If the government paid the transportation workers from the company via the mint, the peoples could ride free. In fact what possible good can come from a lifetime of paying feudal tolls individually such as tickets, as that act does not contribute one iota to the Public socialization of the Constant Capital required to make a railway operational. It hinders progress and wastes both the driver-conductors time , as well as the passengers time. Same applies to electric, and telephone bills. Those workers can and should be paid from the mint via the company as well. Workers are not a cost of production that way, but the perveyers of value added labourers and fully the creditors of the companies involved. Voila, simplification of relations between government, public, and the workers. Companies such as telephone, electric, and raillines would recieve their needed constant capital funding from the government via the mint to the company. The workers being the variable capital, and the constant capital being the machinery of transportation,and communication. In short the public utilities would bcome free to the peoples and with the re-tooling to wind, tidal, and solar power which transforms to electricity there would always be more power than can be used by society. What good is free buses that pollute the air and burn out the oxygen leaving co2 when we cannot live on carbon-dioxide? The answer was there in the early days of the first industrial revolution. The problem came with the Bosses wars for re-dividing the world and its resources , coupled to the invention of the inturnal combustion motor, and the private automobile. Since the first available pollution free electric motors, till their extinction during the early and middle fo the last century, there has been a steady build up of pollution causing vehicles so much so we are beginning to witness in nature an eclological crisis that is much like a cancer victim in the inevitable agony, that results from breathing poisonous fumes in place of livable oxygen. Could this case be terminal. You bet your life it could, and inevitably will, if this system does not use its intelligence medicare wise and re-tool out of coal, gas, oil, and atomic energy and back to relatively pollution free electricity from wind, tidal, and solar power. Our houses, and factory roofs and railways and ports could be plugged into electric solar power and the blue carbon- monoxide haze over our cities killing not only the peoples but also the birds that fall from the sky when flying over their traditional migration routes, and sickening the plants. We are at the point where mother nature is warning us to either change or else face planet wide destruction that is not maybe, but inevitable in the loss of species which is picking up pace ever day the system of coal, gas, oil, and atomic energy is in place. It is really becomming not an opton to get out of coal, gas, oil and atomic energy for our very lives on this planet depends on it. Viva socialist liberation. End pollution wars, not endless wars for more pollution. Viva la telecommunication workers unions for liberation, and the Transportation workers' unions re-tooling for liberation.

buses should be free 25.Jun.2007 17:43


Yeah, I've thought that free rides might be the most cost-effective way to promote mass transit. Some cities do something very close to this already. It certainly would encourage more people to use the buses, and volume is one of the big issues that Tri Met supposedly concerns itself with.

Amsterdam 27.Jun.2007 14:03


In addition to the cost of public transportation, we need to focus on ways to get people to use it other than economic. In Amsterdam, traffic lights are set individually for streams of traffic for pedestrians, bikes, private autos and trams. This means that the dependence on private autos for speed is defeated, since other forms are preferred.