Monday, December 27, 2010

U.S. not ready for rail projects

With a few exceptions, rail projects in the U.S. are premature. They consign the advocates to a spaghetti plate of conflicting interests, and open them to the charge of "picking winners and losers" in the market.

The auto and sprawl have critical mass. It took a hundred years and trillions of dollars of subsidy. It cannot be reversed without some economic thinking.

Do not superimpose rail on autosprawl. First, end autosprawl subsidy. The most harmful subsidy is the hobbling of public transit. Local public transit has been kept in disarray by the following intentional, purposeful devices:

  • the charging of fares
  • mismanagement
  • uneven funding
  • unpredictable service
  • infrequent service
  • arbitrary service cuts

Remove those fares first. Fare-free local transit will increase ridership and lead to demands for decent service. This will eventually break the critical mass of the autosprawl system.

Otherwise you will spend all your political capital getting a rail project done, only to find it declared a boondoggle and used as a reason to cut public transit.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Part II – Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up « From the NonProfit Industrial Complex with Love

Part II – Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up « From the NonProfit Industrial Complex with Love: "Those who have succumbed now hold hands in a circle and taunt the very planet that gives us life. The ugly side of humanity continues to violently pierce our Earth Mother with drills and slash her beautiful skin with razors. She is losing breath. She is dying. Yet, when she lashes back, it will be with an Armageddon deathblow against which our own actions will resemble childish prattle. And perhaps not until this time will global society finally recognize that our shared purpose was not to compete with one another and claim dominance and superiority over our Earth Mother – but rather our role was to protect, defend and nurture."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cars are eating your lunch

Fuel Vs. Food: Ethanol Helps Boost Meat Prices : NPR: "The U.S. corn crop is enormous. But about a third of it doesn't go to cereal or cows — instead, it helps run your car. To boost our use of renewable fuels, the federal government subsidizes corn-based ethanol."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oil companies, feeling the heat of transit demand -- direct their trolls to cut service

The one thing that scares the oil and auto companies more than anything is local public transit ridership. They are terrified that ridership will increase, which will lead to demands for more and better service. This could eventually reach a tipping point at which local public transit would be a viable option and the subsidies for the auto system would be exposed to the light of day and be shown to be the albatross on the back of the economy that they are. Through the ballot box and opinion polls, the people have consistently asserted their desire for more transport options, even to the point of higher taxes to get them.

There is a quiet war going on as the oil-company-funded trolls redirect funds, dissemble, and obfuscate on the local and national level to derail local public transit by any means necessary. They are proposing every thing possible to maintain the critical mass of the private auto as the only viable public transport system.

Public transit advocates: we need to bring the truth out into the open. We need to be bold. Here is a message from our colleague in Utah:

Dear Editor

  Voters Voted for a Improvement in the Transit System and Help Out Our Environment.

   Voters did not Vote for Bus Routes being Cut every Change Day to Increase Vehicles on the Road and Unemployment going up do to Individuals losing their Transportation to Work

  Voters did not Vote for the Disable and the Elderly losing their Independent.

  Voters did not Vote for not having Good Bus System Increase in Poverty and Crime in Neighborhoods.
 
   People are Shopping Online because Traffic Grid Lock. This Increases the Unemployment and Reduces the Sale Tax.

   A Good Bus System Helps Out Job Growth and the Economy.

   Tammi Diaz

South Salt Lake City, Utah


see also http://farefreesouth.blogspot.com/2010/12/tea-party-dupes-vote-for-freedom-get.html
see also http://farefreene.blogspot.com/2010/12/more-oil-trolls-in-congress-now-thanks.html

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Make public transit free first. Then it will be obvious where to put the rail.

Below is an excerpt from an article by an urbanist who knows what he is talking about. Capital-intensive rail projects require density. Subways are excellent in dense areas, but the purpose of some subways is simply to reduce the pain of the auto-system and keep it viable. As long as the auto-system is heavily subsidized, no proper planning is possible. First... GET RID OF THE PRIVATE AUTO. Make public transit free. Use buses first, then light rail and streetcars as indicated. When the city is revived, the development patterns will change and it will become obvious where to put the rail.

Why Private Transit is Destined to Fail | The Mark: "...The critical factor in transit provision is density. High-density areas can support high volume transit like subways. As the density is reduced, the supportable form of transit changes from subways to streetcars to buses to minibuses to jitneys. Putting the wrong vehicle in an area is an invitation to requiring operating subsidies, or to inadequate service that will lead to declining ridership...."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Attention "free market" people - fossil fuel subsidy USD 500 B/yr

Irena chief wants to map energy: "Another priority was to raise awareness about subsidies received by the fossil fuel sector, he said. Globally these 'massive' subsidies amounted to an estimated US$500 billion (Dh1.8 trillion) annually, he said, and remained one of the main factors blocking countries from adopting renewable energy options. When governments help oil companies defray the cost of exploration and production, prices of their end product are kept so artificially low that renewable forms of energy cannot compete."

Monday, November 29, 2010

User fees matter

Plastic bags:
Charging for plastic bags cut bag consumption by half in China: "ScienceDaily (Nov. 28, 2010) — Research from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) shows that people in China -- the number one consumers of plastic bags in the world -- reduced their consumption of plastic bags by half when stores were forced to charge consumers for the bags."
Smoking:
The cigarette companies have opposed tobacco tax increases by arguing that raising cigarette prices would not reduce adult or youth smoking. But the companies’ internal documents, disclosed in the tobacco lawsuits, show that they know very well that raising cigarette prices is one of the most effective ways to prevent and reduce smoking, especially among kids.
http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0146.pdf
Public transit: Read our blog and website for numerous examples of how removing the user fee from public transit lowers the unit cost of this public investment and vastly increases the ROI.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Citylink Edmond ridership nearly triples » Local News » The Edmond Sun

Citylink Edmond ridership nearly triples » Local News » The Edmond Sun: "EDMOND — Ridership on Edmond’s relatively new public transit service has nearly tripled during its first year, a city official said.

During Wednesday’s City Council workshop members of the Edmond Public Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilman David Miller, discussed the increase in ridership with Citylink Edmond.

The city’s new free public transportation service, managed by McDonald Transit, began operating in July 2009, and currently manages eight buses equipped with bike racks and wheelchair tie-downs, according to the city. Two Expresslink buses seat 30 passengers each while the six local route buses can carry 19 passengers each."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Streetsblog New York City » In Memoriam: Ted Kheel, [Free] Transit Advocate and Visionary

Streetsblog New York City » In Memoriam: Ted Kheel, Transit Advocate and Visionary: "The New York Times called Ted Kheel, who died Friday at the age of 96, New York City’s pre-eminent labor peacemaker from the 1950s through the 1980s. And he was. Ted was also a steadfast advocate for civil rights, a fierce champion of mass transit, a stalwart defender of labor, an urbanist, a philanthropist, and a visionary. And, for the better part of a century, a vital element of progressive struggle in New York and beyond."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Equality is our main goal

It is important to say that the main argument in all this discussion of the zero fare in the public transport is related with the fact the we need cities more equitable socially and economically speaking. Beyond global warming and environmental problems, the concrete change related with our subject it's the displacement of people in the cities.

Being direct: a town only exists for those who can move inside of it. For those who can live all the urban equipments that the modern city provide to us. The right to the transport is only a right that leads us to other rights (health, education, leisure, work etc.)

That said, I would say we need to focus, internationally speaking, our work in more social arguments and not only the environmental ones. We know that both are important, but when it comes to Zero Fare, in practice we are talking about income redistribution, which directly affects social changes.

-Yuri Gama

Friday, November 12, 2010

Voters: We’ll Pay for Good Transportation - DMI Blog

Voters: We’ll Pay for Good Transportation | DMI Blog: "Think last week’s election was nothing more than a massive voter referendum in favor of lower taxes, reduced spending and less government? A roundup of transportation ballot measures from the Center for Transportation Excellence should make you think again.

From Anchorage to St. Louis to Fairfax County, Virginia, when they were asked to weigh in directly on local transportation spending measures, voters chose to approve the investment 77 percent of the time. In many cases, voters opted to raise their own sales, property, or vehicle registration taxes in the process, indicating a strong support for mass transit, infrastructure maintenance, and upgrades in street safety even during lean times. Some highlights:"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Growth consumes efficiency


Warning To the People of Earth from Bruce Mohun on Vimeo.
William Rees is the co-creator of the Eco-Footprint concept. He has measured humanity’s use of the planet’s resources, and what he has discovered is frightening. We are using more resources than the planet can possibly supply us with. Without a huge change in the way we live, our planet-wide civilization will likely collapse. This 29-minute documentary is a compilation of his lectures, and a summary of his warning.
click here to watch on vimeo

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I am paid $26/hr to take the bus | Hithatsmybike's Blog

I am paid $26/hr to take the bus | Hithatsmybike's Blog: "This isn’t a joke, I make roughly $26/hr taking public transit. I’m not paid by the city or ETS or any green organization — I’m paid by myself, with the money I’m not spending on a car.

I take the bus and/or the train every single day. Assuming a 20 minute commute, there & back, that’s about 40 minutes, 7 days per week. This works out to roughly 20 hours per month.

Now, to do this calculation we have to consider the alternative: car ownership. Very, very, very few people recognize how abhorrently expensive owning a vehicle actually is. They will purposely deceive themselves, make wild justifications, omit essential calculations, all in the name of keeping their car. Oh I know, it’s so convenient and you need it because you live out of town or whatever, but some vehicle owners are just kidding themselves."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No more free subsidy -- everyone should contribute to the economy

No one wants to work hard and pay taxes while someone else gets a free ride. People are acutely aware of unfairness when this situation pertains. So, if you are the one getting the free ride, it behooves you not to try to oppose this natural feeling. The fossil-fuel industry and those who profit from autosprawl have hired the best lobbyists and propagandists to convince people to misdirect the public debate away from their subsidy gravy train.

Working urbanites are paying taxes to cover the externalities of the the car-dependent suburbs. This is autosprawl welfare. But you will not see this exposed in the mainstream media. Instead the target of budget-cutting will be some amorphous group of n'er-do-wells who are getting a "free" ride. When you actually crunch the numbers, leaving out the very wealthy, there are not really very many people getting paid to do nothing. That leaves poor people, unemployed, disabled, elderly, ill, children -- surprise -- these are the people who are going to suffer benefit cuts.

Autosprawl welfare will continue. Billions wasted sitting in traffic while grandmothers and oil-war veterans dig through trash cans looking for a bite to eat.

US - a pathetic excuse for a country. Not for the brainwashed and stupid. But because the educated, healthy, often liberal, people who still think electric cars are progress and autosprawl can still work.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Robert Reich, economist, free public transit advocate

(8) a sizeable increase in public goods such as transportation, public parks, recreational facilities, public museums and libraries, with free public transportation, including high speed rail; and,


Sauer-Thompson

Monday, November 1, 2010

US cuts transit, Dubai invests.

Dubai: Free public transport day in Dubai received a positive response from the public, with many people leaving their cars at home to ride the metro, public buses and water buses.

The free transport day is being celebrated on Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Shaikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Cultures and Arts Authority, officially launched the day by riding various public transportation.

Shaikh Majid was accompanied by a number of senior officials from various government departments.

He was briefed about the RTA's public transport projects by Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA.

Shaikh Majid along other officials took the Dubai Metro from the World Trade Centre station to Union Square station in Deira.

He got off the station and took the public bus to reach Baniyas marine station. He finally took water bus to arrive at Al Seef Station in Bur Dubai. The whole journey took around 35 minutes.
GulfNews

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Greece -- Free Public Transport -- How we would benefit

Για να μην πούμε τα ΠΡΟΦΑΝΗ ΩΦΕΛΗ στο
- ΚΥΚΛΟΦΟΡΙΑΚΟ (και στα νεύρα μας…)
- ΟΙΚΟΛΟΓΙΚΟ – Μόλυνση – Εκπομπές CO2 – Ηχορύπανση
- ΜΕΙΩΣΗ ΚΑΤΑΝΑΛΩΣΗΣ / ΕΙΣΑΓΩΓΗΣ ΚΑΥΣΙΜΩΝ
- ΜΕΙΩΣΗ ΑΝΑΓΚΗΣ ΓΙΑ ΑΥΤΟΚΙΝΗΤΑ (ΕΙΣΑΓΩΓΕΣ)
- ΤΟΥΡΙΣΤΙΚΗΣ ΕΛΞΗΣ ΓΙΑ ΤΙΣ ΠΟΛΕΙΣ ΜΑΣ
- ΛΙΓΟΤΕΡΑ ΑΤΥΧΗΜΑΤΑ/ΔΥΣΤΥΧΗΜΑΤΑ ΣΤΟΥΣ ΔΡΟΜΟΥΣ (προφανώς από το λιγότερο κυκλοφοριακό)
- ΛΙΓΟΤΕΡΑ ΚΟΣΤΗ ΣΥΝΤΗΡΗΣΗΣ ΔΡΟΜΩΝ (προφανώς λιγότερη φθορά στα οδοστρώματα)
- ΑΝΑΓΚΗ ΓΙΑ ΛΙΓΟΤΕΡΕΣ ΝΕΕΣ ΕΠΕΝΔΥΣΕΙΣ ΣΕ ΝΕΟΥΣ ΔΡΟΜΟΥΣ

Read more....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Start the Bus! Initiative Lobbies for Free Transportation | News | Santa Fe College | Gainesville, FL

Start the Bus! Initiative Lobbies for Free Transportation | News | Santa Fe College | Gainesville, FL: "Tired of fruitlessly searching for vacant campus parking spots, Santa Fe College students are the driving force behind an initiative to provide better public transportation for community college students statewide.

The Start the Bus! program, sponsored by Santa Fe Student Government, hopes to raise support for a transportation bill that gives state colleges the right to collect a small fee in exchange for free bus access for students and expanded bus routes."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Delayism not working against public transit

Those who profit from subsidized autosprawl are moving heaven and earth to keep the subsidies flowing. But, oh-oh, bad news, climate change is baking the streets and flooding back yards. People are starting to get it. More worrisome, the insurance industry is catching on. They don't want to pay the storm-damage claims.

What to do. Well, there is always that handy racist/religious/misogynist coalition. So some oil money was invested and a tea party got started. Emphasis was taken off of burning crosses and killing doctors. Instead scientists are now the new enemy. Great target. Don't have to win, just establish doubt. Scientists are full of doubt and easy to engage in endless debate. Easy work.

But what about public transit? Sad to say, there is not a single passage in the Bible calling it an abomination. Worse, there are plenty of reasons to have more of it that have nothing to do with climate change. Ouch. So deny/delay is not going to be enough. Again, what to do?

Recently foxxil-fuel news had an article blasting public transit as a plot by the left to control your life. Many transit advocates laughed. Others yawned. But this piece is an instruction manual for tea party people to teach the rank-and-file that their job is to hate public transit as well as science. It is hard for them to make the intuitive leap.

Expect more attacks like this.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Switzerland-based group, actif-trafiC, opposing the private auto 20 years

We focus on sustainability and not depend on any party. The association was founded in 1990 to divide in half the individual motor traffic doubled in the space of ten years....

Since 1990 we are committed to a non-motorized, car-free days and make pressure on the authorities to recognize public transport, pedestrian and bicycle mobility as viable alternatives to private motorized traffic.

Our principles are as follows: diversity of opinion within the association, non-violent action and positive independent.

actif-trafiC

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lack of Transit Intensifies Suburban Poverty | Planetizen

Lack of Transit Intensifies Suburban Poverty | Planetizen: "In addition, suburbs are simply not setup to deal with increasing levels of poverty because this is such a new problem. Expanding public transit through suburban areas is costly compared to inner city projects. In downtown areas efficiencies of scale 'ensure people will use new rail lines,' but in the suburbs this guarantee almost evaporates."

Friday, October 15, 2010

The missing link between economic growth and nature

...Look around you. The clothes you are wearing, the chair you are sitting in, the implements on the stove, the stove, the floor and walls of your room, its carpet, the lights and the switches, the electrical lines in the walls, your mobile phone, the road outside, the car you drive and all its tyres, wires, metals, glass, fabrics, batteries; airplanes, skyscrapers, tanks, missiles, computers ... were all once minerals and metals dug up from the earth, then shipped around the world, transformed, assembled, shipped again to a store near you, and sold. Or else they were living beings: trees, plants, animals, fibres, corals that had their own independent existence. Even "synthetics" began as natural elements. Is your shirt made of polyester? Polyester is plastic. Plastic is oil. Oil used to be dinosaurs, trees, plants. All of it is nature. The entire material economy began as part of the earth, buried in the ground, or it grew from it, or it was alive before we transformed it. But it's disappearing fast.

The whole situation is something new for capitalism, a shock. For two centuries it's been like a closely guarded secret that the entire economic system we live in, and assumed was forever, is actually part of another larger system, but with only so many resources and dump sites. But the secret is out. We are eating up the materials that sustain us, and the feast is almost over....
Guardian

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Parliamentary Report Warns Of New Oil Shock Looming | Voxy.co.nz

Parliamentary Report Warns Of New Oil Shock Looming | Voxy.co.nz: "'World oil production capacity will not grow or fall for the next five years, while demand will continue to rise,' said Mr Smith.

'While the world will not run out of oil reserves for decades to come, it cannot indefinitely continue to produce oil at an increasing rate from the remaining reserves.

'There is a risk that the world economy may be at the start of a cycle of supply crunches leading to price spikes and recessions, followed by recoveries leading to supply crunches.'"

Friday, October 1, 2010

fare-free would "create a tipping point toward more people using public transportation"

A way to realign these incentives and increase public transit use is to make all public transportation free to passengers, Erik Olin Wright, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told Big Think. According to Wright, the benefits of free public transit are broader than are apparent with strict financial bookkeeping. The full value comes in a range of ancillary economic, health and ecological benefits, including:

"Reduced air pollution, including especially reduced greenhouse gases, which would help mitigate global warming."
"More efficient labor markets since it is easier for poor people to get to jobs. This is a benefit to employers for it makes it easier to hire people and it is a benefit to the people without cars who now find it easier to get jobs. But it is also a benefit to the society at large because it contributes to a long-term reduction in poverty."
"Health benefits: reduced asthma and other illnesses linked to automobile generated pollution."
"Less congestion on the highways for those who do need to drive."
big think

Thursday, September 30, 2010

US fossil-fuel wars and autosprawl waste -- creating want

...Both political parties need a big wakeup call. There is a tsunami of poverty sweeping the United States, and somebody better wake up and do something about it. More handouts will help people get by in the short-term, but there is no way that the federal government can financially support tens of millions more poor Americans.

How long is it going to be before the "safety net" simply collapses under the weight of all this poverty?
Alternet

here is some money we could use... click here

BusinessInsider: inequality getting worse

Monday, September 27, 2010

Candidate for governor advocates free public transit

After Harlem Heckle, Barron Takes Freedom Party To Steps Of Brooklyn Borough Hall | The New York Observer: "Barron said that there was very little difference between the economic policies of Cuomo and G.O.P. candidate Carl Paladino, and said that his platform consisted of free public transportation, lowering the cost of college tuition, and paying for it all with an income tax on upper income earners."

Pau, France - public money spent on one car race would pay for a year of free public transport

Le NPA-Béarn s’insurge contre cette dilapidation d’argent public au profit d’une politique vroum-vroum polluante et dépassée. Il « dénonce le vote de la quasi-totalité des élus PS et PCF en faveur de la reconduction du GP automobile de Pau dont le coût pour les Palois dépasse largement celui de l’instauration de la gratuité des transports en commun que nous revendiquons. »

Car la question est bien là: 1,7 millions d’euros, cela représente la possibilité de faire passer l’ensemble du réseau de transports en commun de la ville de Pau à la gratuité totale!

En outre, le Grand Prix automobile de Pau, c’est :

- près de 2 millions d’euros partis en fumée chaque année, soit davantage que le coût de la gratuité des transports en commun à Pau,
- des employés municipaux mobilisés pendant plusieurs mois,
- des nuisances pour les riverains et pour une majorité de palois,
- une vitrine publicitaire pour les grands groupes pétroliers et automobiles,
- des tonnes de pétrole gaspillées pour rien.

Et le plus navrant dans l’histoire, c’est que les mêmes qui prétendent que la « gratuité des transports publics, c’est pas possible, c’est trop cher, etc. » financent ensuite des courses de bagnoles avec notre argent!

Alors, avec presque 2 millions d’euros, Grand Prix de Pau ou Bus Gratuit?
carfreefrance

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dubai plans for 34% public transit usage

Dubai "gets it", sees the auto for what it is: Good for profit, bad for life.
The Roads and Transport Authority will offer a one-day free public transportation to commuters in the emirates. Currently, around 11 per cent of Dubai’s population use public transportation. This is expected to grow to 34 per cent in 2010. alrroya

Monday, September 20, 2010

Record 140 traffic jams hit Beijing in single evening - The China Post


Record 140 traffic jams hit Beijing in single evening - The China Post: "Record 140 traffic jams hit Beijing in single evening

BEIJING -- A record 140 traffic jams were observed on Friday evening in the Chinese capital, state media reported, as the number of vehicles on Beijing's streets has exceeded 4.5 million."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Free transit idea getting popular in Canada

Lorenzo Mele, a resource conservation specialist and social marketing practitioner, has been designing and managing environmental programs and services for 20 years.

Your City, My City: "Free roads? Why not free transit?

A recent Star editorial concerning road pricing generated the predictable response from the anti-toll crowd: we paid for the roads so we have a right to use them at no cost.

What if we all agreed that road use be free of charge, with one concession: public transit become free of charge as well? Consider this: we already pay close to 50 per cent of transit operating costs through taxes, why not go all the way and pay the full cost – it could be the cheapest way to give everyone equal access to transportation, and for those lucky enough to already own a private automobile it would be the most affordable second car they could ever buy."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bus Riders Union of Austin, Texas | El Sindicato de Pasajeros | The true owners of transit in Austin

Bus Riders Union of Austin, Texas | El Sindicato de Pasajeros | The true owners of transit in Austin: "The Bus Riders Union of Austin, Texas is committed to improving the quality and accessibility of public mass transit.

announcing...........

1st Annual Metro Stockholders Meeting
Saturday September 18, 2010

10 AM

University Baptist Church ** 2130 Guadalupe
use routes 1L, 1M, 3, or 5

Am I a stock holder?

Yes! If you pay any sales tax in Austin you are a stockholder. If you pay a fare in addition to your sales tax you are a preferred stockholder.

Breakout sessions focusing on topics like Fare Free systems, How WE pay for Transit, Winning Campaigns, the Grid System, and Legislative strategies

Send agenda ideas NOW to: info@busatx.org, or use contact page

'We own it, Let's run it!'"

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Economic Benefits of Free Public Transport

Further Abstract: The Economic Benefits of Free Public Transport (Raphie de Santos) | Fptresearchgroup's Blog: "“Most of the arguments for free public transport (FPT) focus on the environmental benefits and the enrichment of people’s lives by allowing them to travel no matter their financial situation. However, it brings many economic benefits to wider society. For example, with vehicle traffic set to rise by 50% over the next 25 years and a corresponding doubling of the time commuters lose because of congestion, FPT would greatly reduce this lost time. The lost time that could be put to more socially useful purposes is just part of the gains of FPT.� Being caught in commuting traffic also creates the wrong frame of mind to tackle future tasks for the day – the multiple problems created by traffic chaos can be measured by the car commuter pain index in which London just ranks behind Madrid and Sao Paulo. FPT would greatly reduce this pain."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Streetsblog Capitol Hill � Our Mobile Money Pits: The True Cost of Cars

Streetsblog Capitol Hill � Our Mobile Money Pits: The True Cost of Cars: "Transportation swallows one out of every five dollars earned by the average American family, double the bite it took in 1960. This increase alone could account for much of the plummet, over that fifty-year period, in the household savings rate, which by the aughts had skidded close to zero."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

US out of touch - but will become minor player - #climatechange

...So, big business gets it. Politicians able to look beyond narrow parochialism get it. Science gets it. The media gets it (and exploits contrarian views out of mere cynicism in the search for profit). Even Lomborg gets it – eventually – although how sincere he is may be open to question. That said, it is depressingly clear the US doesn’t get it – at least, a sufficient and well-organised subset of the US population and the politicians that represent them. Enough of them to make me think that by the time we got some kind of half-baked agreement about mitigation, the water would already be lapping at the door even as a failing US becomes relegated to the minor league as global trade and expansion grinds to an untimely halt.... Guardian

Monday, August 30, 2010

Australia - Rally for Free Public Transport

Rally 4 Free Public Transport! Planet B4 Profits!


Having free, frequent and accessible public transport will increase the amount of people using it and we already spend way more money than we would need to do it on stupid things like locking up refugees (we're still the only 1st world country that does that), invading Iraq & Afghanistan and supporting the 'War on Terror' or just giving it to big business. Just 2% of the $6 billion energy & transport subsidies for big business could replace Adelaide Metro’s fare revenue for an entire year.
Protest 2pm Sat Oct 30 @ Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide.
Download a PDF of the above leaflet in A4 or A6 and start getting the word out!
Plus, join our Facebook event

Friday, August 27, 2010

Scientist starts to "get it" -- social science is the frontier

Am I an activist for caring about my grandchildren's future? I guess I am | James Hansen | Environment | guardian.co.uk: "It becomes clear that concerted action will happen only if the public, somehow, becomes forcefully involved. One way citizens can help is by blocking coal plants, tar sands, and the mining of the last drops of fossil fuels.

However, fossil fuel addiction can be solved only when we recognise an economic law as certain as the law of gravity: as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy they will be used. Solution therefore requires a rising fee on oil, gas and coal – a carbon fee collected from fossil fuel companies at the domestic mine or port of entry. All funds collected should be distributed to the public on a per capita basis to allow lifestyle adjustments and spur clean energy innovations. As the fee rises, fossil fuels will be phased out, replaced by carbon-free energy and efficiency."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free shuttle to revitalize town center, fight congestion. Good for business.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone concerned. Not only is there a direct benefit to the town’s businesses but a real tangible benefit to commuters, visitors, shoppers and local communities.

“Hopefully it will assist in tackling the problem of congestion and issues around the environment by providing a quick, convenient and free public transport service.”

Town councillor Arthur Neil said: “Regenerate Northwich was formed in response to Northwich Town Council's community engagement initiative and is the council's partner for working with the local business community. The Nipper is a great example of multi-agency working. NorthwichGuardian

Friday, August 20, 2010

Biofuels: Worse than useless

Renewable energy, for example, is a crucial part of every national and international strategy for curbing emissions, including plans to promote biofuels. However, rising ethanol production has been linked to losses of grassland habitats, while booming demand for palm oil, some of which is turned into biodiesel, is fuelling the clearance of biodiverse-rich forests across south-east Asia. TheEcologist

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ridership jumps when fares are removed

...Because of a 2008 student agreement to eliminate bus passes, the University of Kansas’ transit system is fare-free during the school year. Students need to only show their KUID while boarding to have access to the transit system. One-way dollar fares are also still accepted by KU on Wheels.

“Many off-campus students can use the transit system to get to and from campus in a timely and cost-saving manner,” said Derek Meier, KU on Wheels transportation coordinator.

An additional agreement made in 2008 among the city and the University also allows easier access to both coordinated bus systems. Students, faculty and staff can ride the Lawrence Public Transit service, or the T, for free by showing a valid KUID. City residents who show a valid T bus pass or transfer slip can also ride the University buses for no fare.

“Overall, the relationship has been a success,” Robert Nugent, Lawrence Public Transit adminstrator, said. “Ridership is up eight percent through the last year on city buses. Lawrence Transit has begun combining informational pieces to allow riders to take advantage of the two systems.”

Since the fare-free system was put into place, KU on Wheels has proven to be a more popular transportation option with students as well. Ridership doubled during the first year of fare-free, with another 20 percent increase last year. Kansan

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oceans die. Car production continues. Oil wars continue.

One of the most destructive and swift coral bleaching events ever recorded is underway in the waters off Indonesia, where water temperatures have climbed into the low 90s, according to data released by a conservation group this week. livescience

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moscow climate deaths: 350 per day

MOSCOW(AP) — Deaths in Moscow have doubled to an average of 700 people a day as the Russian capital is engulfed by poisonous smog from wildfires and a sweltering heat wave, a top health official said Monday.

Moscow health chief Andrei Seltsovky blamed weeks of unprecedented heat and suffocating smog for the rise in mortality compared to the same time last year, Russian news agencies reported. He said city morgues were nearly overflowing, filled with 1,300 bodies, close to their capacity.

Acrid smog blanketed Moscow for a six straight day Monday, with concentrations of carbon monoxide and other poisonous substances two to three times higher than what is considered safe. Those airborne pollutants reached a record over the weekend — exceeding the safe limit by nearly seven times.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Russian thugs enforce highway building

Apparently oblivious to the disintegration of climate stability and the general threat to their lives and all life on earth, Russian thugs attacked some environmentalists who were trying to save a forest from a highway.
This is why we say that addressing the supply side of the energy/climate crises is a losing strategy. As long as there is demand, there will be supply. And those who stand to profit from supply will get a free pass from governments. The proper strategy is to make public transit free, and make the private auto gradually obsolete.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Time for free transit | Charlotte | News | Boomer with Attitude

Time for free transit | Charlotte | News | Boomer with Attitude: "Clemson and Chapel Hill offer fare-free rides for all standard routes; needless to say, ridership has increased dramatically. Other places offering standard fare-free transit include cities in Colorado, New York, California, Utah, Washington, and several European countries. The figures are in, and the good news is that if it's done right, fare-free transit works. What's more, there's plenty of information available on how to make it work."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Electric car: more subsidy - more sprawl - more climate change.

Giving impetus is President Barack Obama’s vision to see one million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on America’s roads by 2015. Last year the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated US$2 billion for development of electric vehicle batteries and related technologies. The Department of Energy added another US$400 million building the infrastructure necessary to support plug-in electric vehicles.

Close on the US’s heels, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that the British government will promote the use of electric vehicles in the UK by offering a £2 000 subsidy to purchasers. A high-ranking government official estimates that 40% of all cars in Britain will need to be electric or hybrid for the country to reach its goal of cutting 80% of its CO2 emissions by 2050. DieselDriveMag

Friday, July 30, 2010

Voodoo Environmentalism

Think about this. Say you are the CEO of a major fossil-fuel company. Your job is to promote your product and maximize investor return.

What can you do? Let's think. You really have nothing to offer the public but death and destruction. Hmm. Well, there is that liberal-vs-conservative circus going on in the main-stream media. That is a nice distraction. That helps. But then there are those pesky environmentalists. They keep doing things that might turn the public against sprawl. If they were to expose the sprawl subsidies or show people how much energy is wasted in sprawl, that could be disastrous. People might decide to fix up the cities and give the suburbs back to the farmers. It could be the end of unlimited growth.

What can be done to divert all those energetic idealists from endangering profits? Wouldn't it be great if there was something they could pursue that allows them to be radical and militant, but is really just a dead end?

Hmmm...what could work? Oh yeah, what about supply-side? Yes. Supply-side thinking is something that has a proven track record in the mis-direction department. Wouldn't it be great if the environmentalists attacked the suppliers of energy? What if they demanded that you stop drilling and mining? How would that look to the hard-working people who are just trying to heat their homes, fill their gas tank, and move to the suburbs? You are just trying to satisfy demand. If you don't do it someone else will. As long as the taxpayer keeps paying for highways, energy wars, and storm cleanup, there will always be energy-sucking suburbs, and you will always be the hero who makes the light-switch work.

Brilliant. Let's hope they fall for it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alternative energy is worse than just a waste of time

There are two major problems with alternative energy development. One is that in many cases the cure is worse than the disease. (See the quote below). The other is that adding energy to a bonfire of demand simply encourages more growth and waste.

...The EU must shoulder some of the blame. Badly thought-through policies designed to lower Europe's carbon emissions in the energy and transport sectors have sparked a gold rush into biofuel, with results that often go directly against the policies' intentions. Studies show that some biofuel, including when made from palm oil from cleared rainforest and peatland, result in significantly more greenhouse-gas emissions than fossil fuel does...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why isn’t an electric car the magic solution that everyone wants?

  • An electric car is still dangerous to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers.
  • An electric car requires a tremendous amount of land to rest and operate.
  • An electric car depends on coal-powered electricity in most situations.
  • An electric car will not alleviate congestion.
  • An electric car will not level the mobility playing field.
Read more at Reimagine an Urban Paradise

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let us reclaim human interaction - get rid of the anti-social private auto

Further evidence of the positive effects of free public transport can be gleaned from the Belgian city of Hasselt. Not only did use of Hasselt’s bus system explode once zero fare were introduced (from 331,551 in the old situation to an astonishing 3.2 million - and this for a city of only 70,000 people), with all the obvious benefits this shift suggests, but also, some rather unexpected advantages were produced as well. For example, following the introduction of zero fares, the number of visits to patients in the city’s hospitals was reported to have “increased enormously” (van Goeverden, 2006: 7). This suggests that individuals and families will take more of a role in terms of caring responsibilities if they can actually access the people who need to be cared for, and this could represent incredible indirect savings for the state in terms of social and health care budgets. Indeed, Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam has demonstrated statistically that people who socialise and participate in social activities are on average happier and healthier (2000:326-335). Of course you can only do this if you can get around, an evidence from a wide range of sources indicate that many people cannot ‘get around’ (see Church et al, 2000; Graham and Marvin, 2001; Hine and Mitchell, 2003; Knolwes, 2006 New Economics Foundation, 2003; Pooley et al, 2005; Raje, 2007; Reisig and Hobbiss, 2000; Shaw, 2006; Social Exclusion Unit, 2002 and 2003; Urry, 2007). Bob Jeffrey - Towards a Sustainable Transport Policy

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Divorce Your Car! -- Letter to Washington D.C.

Divorce Your Car!: "Please eliminate all tax credits and deductions currently provided to the oil industry. I find it ludicrous that the most profitable companies in the world – ExxonMobil comes to mind – receive what amounts to about $4 billion per year in tax breaks from the U.S. government, as reported recently by the New York Times. These tax breaks are inappropriate favors to an industry that doesn’t need or deserve them. They also constitute a huge barrier to the competitiveness of alternative energy sources."

Methane Seeps, Tipping Points Feared as Congress Sleepwalks | CommonDreams.org

Methane Seeps, Tipping Points Feared as Congress Sleepwalks | CommonDreams.org: "Those who follow this�issue likely have familiarity with the concept of 'tipping points'. This innocuous-sounding phrase does not do justice to its vast meaning. It refers to the crossing of a line whereby tremendous natural forces are unleashed and an unstoppable rush of interlocking climate disruptions wreak havoc on the earth and its fragile web of life-supporting ecosystems. Once set in motion, it cannot be predicted how far the devastation would extend. Geological records have linked a severe climate shift with the 'Great Extinction' event which wiped out a ghastly 90% of all life forms on the planet. ��"

Monday, July 19, 2010

Stroke of Genius: Free Public Transport

Jul 2010

July 16th, 5:00pm 0 comments Celebrity SOG: Graeme Base - free public transport #sogenius

SOG Idea 95: Free Public Transport

Well known Australian author Graeme Base suggests free public transport. Certainly a good one for the wallet and bound to make happier commuters! It may even get more people using public transport so better for the environment and perhaps a more active option for commuters?

"Make all public transport completely free. With no insanely expensive ticketing system to keep going wrong, and no army of inspectors to police the network, plus massive productivity gains and lower health costs (mental and physical) from the easing of the ravages of traffic congestion – we could spend the savings on additional trams, trains and buses. Why, we could even bring Connies back – not to collect fares, but to help get prams on board, tell you what stop you need for the museum and to whistle jaunty tunes."

To vote for Graeme’s Stroke of Genius

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why all the anti-Iran sabre rattling? Here is why:

Iran, Armenia to split oil pipeline cost

YEREVAN, Armenia, July 16 (UPI) -- The Armenian and Iranian governments agreed to split the cost evenly for the construction of a 217-mile oil pipeline, the Armenian oil minister said.

Iran sits on some of the largest oil and gas deposits in the world. Armenia would receive 70,000 barrels of oil through the proposed Shahnazi-Zadeh pipeline.... UPIScienceNews

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The most critical tipping point

Are you scratching your head over public transit funding? With oil spewing into the ocean, heat waves cooking the cities, floods destroying communities, drought wrecking farms, traffic congestion sapping life--with polls continually showing that people want their taxes used to fund public transit, one would think that the U.S. Congress could muster support for more than a token investment in public transit.

There seem to be unlimited billions for energy wars, storm cleanup, and road building. But when it comes to an "energy" bill, no one seems to get that a bus carries up to 40 people and works up to 18 hours a day, while a private auto carries 1.02 people and works about 3.5 hours a day. Tremendous savings are waiting to be had for a very modest investment.

Why the disconnect? You might reasonably ask.

Ok. Here is why.

Mass human transport is a system. A large system. It is thoroughly integrated with all of the economy. Transport has different modes. The dominant mode is the private auto, laughably, a consumer product. Unfortunately, the auto mode is extremely difficult to integrate with other modes--just try parking at the airport, for example. Because of this awkward interface, either the auto or other modes have to be dominant. Other modes have to compete with the auto for dominance. The auto is less efficient, but is kept dominant by heavy taxpayer subsidy and deferred subsidy [aka externalities].

The beneficiaries of the billions in autosprawl subsidy own enough congress members to stop any progress of public transit toward this tipping point. Hence, only token transit funding.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Conservatives need not obey highway lobby

So why are conservatives using the public transportation we are told they oppose? Because being stuck in traffic isn’t fun, even if you are driving a BMW. On a commuter train or Light Rail line, you whiz past all those cars going nowhere at 50 or 60 miles per hour — reading, working on your laptop, or relaxing, instead of staring at some other guy’s bumper.
- William Lind, in American Conservative Magazine via Transportation for America

Friday, July 9, 2010

Subsidized auto-system is harmful, wasteful, and takes up too much space

To begin with, from as early as the 1920s, private car ownership has been subsidised in a way that public transportation has not (Glaister et al, 2006: 9). As Reynolds points out: ‘in most instances the real cost of automobile travel is not borne by users and a transit subsidy is needed to “level the playing field” and encourage use’ (2008: 19). This of course reached its peak during the flurry of motorway construction in the mid to late twentieth century. Bob Jeffrey - Salford

Thursday, July 8, 2010

European Social Forum calls for Free Public Transport

...Against those who oppose people’s desire to have good and well-paid jobs and to move beyond the madness of infinite growth on a finite planet, we are calling for a just transition in the way we work, in the structures of production and consumption. While there are many things we need more of, there is much we need less of. For example, we need to stop the destructive energy production practices involving coal, oil, nuclear and hydropower, or to end the madness of building individual cars for everybody. At the same time, we need to expand community-controlled renewable energies, food sovereignty as well as public services that contribute to our goal of a good life for all, like free public transport, health, housing and education. This would create millions of socially and ecologically useful jobs.... europe-solidaire

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Swedish Free Transit Advocates Providing Elegant English Prose

...The car is pitching us towards each other. Who has not experienced the feeling of putting oneself in a car and suddenly being transformed into a motorist? The pure act of putting oneself behind the wheel seems, for almost everyone, to lead to egotistic behavior, a situation where everyone is trying to gain something on someone else’s behalf. While driving a car, one’s fellow human beings (other drivers, public transport users, pedestrians, bikers) become nothing more than obstacles. Who cannot, honestly, recognise the almost aggressive and competitive feeling that the car produces in oneself? Since we do not want to encourage this kind of behaviour, and since we are confident that one is not born a motorist, but rather becomes one, we strongly believe that the risk of people becoming motorists has to be minimised.
Because of this we do not only want to change the order of the traffic hierarchy and take the car down from its pedestal. Rather, we want a society built on totally different premises. A society where no one is forced into motorism, whether passively or actively. A society where proximity and availability to what people need to satisfy their needs and desires are put at the forefront... by Planka Nu translated by them from the original Swedish see this and similar work on Carbusters

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oil Companies Reap Billions From Subsidies - NYTimes.com

On Friday, cleanup workers in Grand Isle, La., positioned absorbent material to block oil from washing onto the beach.
By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI Published: July 3, 2010

Oil Companies Reap Billions From Subsidies - NYTimes.com: "... an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process...."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bus Cuts Drive Americans Back to Cars | CommonDreams.org

Bus Cuts Drive Americans Back to Cars | CommonDreams.org: "People should recognize that it is very easy to say that everybody should ride public transit, but far harder to construct such systems that take people where they want to go efficiently and safely.

That is part of the problem now. Service cut-backs add too much time to the schedules of working people and parents, who typically have no other reasonable option but the automobile. And in the vast majority of American suburbs and rural areas, mass transit doesn't even exist.

Also there is this issue: In the San Francisco Bay Area, transit investment has increased by 50% over the last 25 years, but overall ridership has increased by only 7%. Yikes! That is a hugely inefficient use of resources. We almost certainly could have saved money and gotten more people on board by simply giving them free rides."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Asheville Transit: Broken Promises of Improved Bus Service – Yet the Associated Fare Increase Happens Anyway; More Fare Increases to Come

I would like to see Asheville have FREE public transportation. It’s the right thing to do. If the buses were one time, ran every 1/2 hour, ran until 10:00pm, ran on Sunday, and were FREE – people would use it. They wouldn’t have to pay for a car, gas, insurance, maintenance, parking – and they wouldn’t be polluting the environment and depleting natural resources. That would definitely keep Asheville standing out as an example. The Asheville city council just wants to join the crowd, raise the rates to match other cities, and watch in anticipation as their expectations that ridership will decrease come to fruition.
Asheville Transit: Broken Promises of Improved Bus Service – Yet the Associated Fare Increase Happens Anyway; More Fare Increases to Come�|�Asheville Street Sentinel

Friday, June 25, 2010

UK National FPT Campaign - Research site

FPT Research Group – Inaugural Conference

FPT Research Group – Call for Research Contributions
Inaugural Free Public Transport Conference – Birmingham Britannia Hotel, October 16th, 11am – 5pm
A message from Bob Jeffery (Research Coordinator)
The national Campaign for Free Public Transport has now set a date and booked a venue for our inaugural conference. Taking a somewhat broader approach than has been outlined in previous communications, we now wish to invite any and all academic speakers who wish to debate the merits of Free Public Transport specifically, but also issues around transport and society more broadly. Core themes are as follows:
*Evaluating Public Transport in UK
*Transport Economics
*Transport and Social Inclusion
*Transport and Climate Change
*Evaluating the merits of public transport subsidies
*Campaigning on Transport Issues

Monday, June 21, 2010

China - Huantai County considering free public transport

4, free public transport, developed in a number of places in the economy will not run, and has achieved good social impacts such as Guilin, Yangtze River, Hengyang Nanyue areas where they introduced the free bus in the city after the Pubian be a welcomed by the people and establish a good image of the government and pragmatic, for local economic development, investment also played a good role in promoting. Huantai County as a hundred years, the county selected one of the country, from the economic strength and social needs of the urban public transport are necessary to improve the function as soon as possible. From simplified Mandarin via Google Translate:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wisconsin - Young people make free transit work

APPLETON — A pilot project that allowed Appleton middle and high school students to ride Valley Transit buses for free last semester was so successful, it will be back this fall.

The Board of Education's business services panel this week recommended its partnership with Valley Transit continue at least another school year after hearing Deborah Wetter, Valley Transit's general manager, describe the positive impact it has had on ridership....

...Wetter said she sees something of a "cultural change" around appeal of public transportation and some adults' perceptions bus riding is only for "those people. That's a stigma we've been fighting for years." She said based on responses Valley Transit is getting, many of them on its Facebook site, the students are "educating their parents who had negative impressions." Post Crescent

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amy Huang makes the case for free public transportation

Promoting public transport encourage more people to use public transport and leave their cars at home, and not only does it have benefits for the environment and the flow of traffic, it also have sociological benefits.

With all these new debates and regulations about reducing green house gases in order to save our planet, there is one obvious move that no one seem to want to raise - free public transportation.

Public transport had been criticise for being unreliable, expensive and inefficient and the public simply does not want to sacrifice their privilege and comfort of driving their own car than sharing a crowded bus. The exercise of trying to ask car owners to drive less will never succeed if this continues.

By providing free public transport - it will give more incentive for everyone to start taking public transport. Car owners can finally justify it is indeed cheaper to catch public transport, and in term will result in less cars on the road, not only reducing green house gases but also ease congestion and road rage.

The problem with today's society and government, is that no one is willing to invest into public transport. Governments spend ridiculously amount of money each year in military budget and neglect there are more important things that need to be taken care of within its nation. If they would be willing to invest a little into public transport and making them free, there will be justification for its people to pay a little bit more tax and perhaps even willing to make donations towards running the public transports.

Catching public transport will also increase the social interaction between everyone. Driving is such a lonely task that isolates drivers from their surroundings. Catching public transport means more exposure to our surroundings and its people, perhaps even know more neighbours and fellow workers, and by more human interaction, we all become friendlier and bringing the communities together.

The long term effects of free public transport will mean more people will use it, less cars on the road, less green house gases released into the atmosphere, creates a more social-able environment and overall just a good initiative to take. Amy Huang on Helium

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Free Public Transit saves money -- according to honest economists

...According to University of Washington assistant director of transportation services Peter Dewey, “Without vigorously managing our parking and providing commuter alternatives, the university would have been faced with adding approximately 3,600 parking spaces, at a cost of over $100 million…The university has created opportunities to make capital investments in buildings supporting education instead of structures for cars.” At the University of Colorado, free public transit has increased use of buses and light rail from 300,000 to 2 million trips per year over the last decade. The increased use of mass transit has allowed the university to avoid constructing nearly 2,000 parking spaces, which has saved about $3.6 million annually....
Read more... (buy the book): Principles of Economics by Libby Rittenberg, Timothy Tregarthen

Sunday, June 6, 2010

UK - Campaign for free public transport expands

2nd Call for Papers - Inaugural Free Public Transport Conference

The national Campaign for Free Public Transport (after a a few false starts!) has now set a date and booked a venue for our inaugural conference. Taking a somewhat broader approach than has been outlined in previous communications, we now wish to invite any and all academic speakers who wish to debate the merits of Free Public Transport specifically, but also issues around transport and society more broadly. Core themes are as follows:

*Evaluating Public Transport in the UK
*Transport Economics 
*Transport and Social Inclusion
*Transport and Climate Change
*Evaluating the merits of public transport subsidies
*Campaigning on Transport Issues

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise to those researchers who responded to our first call for presentations for the changing of dates, but I'm sure many of you will appreciate the difficulties of assembling a campaign with a truly national scope (we now have members or affiliates in Glasgow, Manchester, Norwich, The Isle of Wight, Bristol, London and many other places as well as ties to international free public transport campaigners - for instance the ambitious plan to finance free public transport in New York City by Charles Komanoff has recently featured in Wired magazine http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/05/ff_komanoff_traffic/all/1 ) and in ensuring the representation of a broad range of organisations, activist groups, political parties and independents (support ranges from former independent MP Dai Davis to Guardian Journalist Lynsey Hanley to two of Britain's largest Trades Unions, Unite and PCS). Now the national campaign has had some time to coalesce we are ready to work towards this inaugural conference where we will debate the transport issues facing Britain and the wider world today, present various arguments for free public transport, and move forward by voting on issues of policy.

Presentations should last no more than 10-15 minutes and all efforts should be taken to make papers accessible to a lay audience. Abstracts can be sent to fptresearchgroup@googlemail.co.uk and the conference team will endeavour to notify speakers promptly. Please also get in touch if you have any further queries or would like to know how you can become more involved with the campaign and its national executive.

Your sincerely,

Bob
CFPT_logo.gif

Thursday, June 3, 2010

People die, car production continues

Record temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.
The death toll is expected to rise with experts forecasting temperatures approaching 50C (122F) in coming weeks. More than 100 people are reported to have died in the state of Gujarat where the mercury topped at 48.5C last week. At least 90 died in Maharashtra, 35 in Rajasthan and 34 in Bihar. Guardian

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

US Youth not in love with the car

In a major positive trend for ordinary people/a major crisis for the investing class, it seems that, even in our car-pushing social environment, younger residents of the United States are starting to vote with their feet against cars-first transportation.DeathbyCar

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sprawl crash nowhere near over

Get ready for the dreaded double-dip. $3 trillion in commercial real estate is about to go [poof]:

Why do you think banks have stopped lending in this arena? The market is completely saturated with vacant real estate. Commercial real estate either has a market or sits empty. At least with residential real estate if you drop prices low enough you will get buyers. With CRE if you built a complex with no foot traffic you can’t give the stuff away. The loan is only one aspect of costs. You have utilities and other fixed overhead. The fact that banks have pulled back from this market tells us no good deals are coming to the table.
How's that sprawl working out for you? I've always loved the idea of business park. Not loved as in liked, but loved as in amused that people thought they might work.
Walkable DFW

Thursday, May 27, 2010

UK Public and Commercial Services union joins fight for free public transport


Colin Fox

Huge boost for SSP's free public transport campaign

by Colin Fox, SSP national co-spokesperson


Whilst the political parties at Westminster were all agreeing to decimate public services the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) passed a resolution at its annual conference in Brighton to support the introduction of free public transport to combat global warming, reduce pollution and road traffic accidents and improve social inclusion.
The plan was initially developed by Alan McCombes and pioneered by the SSP in the Scottish Parliament and has been described as ‘the most imaginative and audacious’ policy put forward by any party in the entire climate change debate. I was delighted to accept an invitation from the PCS’s Department for Transport conference to outline our specific policy objectives in detail to delegates.
If Scotland is to meet our target for reducing CO2 emissions by 2020 we must persuade people to use their cars less. Cars are responsible for 80% of the greenhouse gases attributable to transport.
In adopting the free public transport policy the PCS was influenced, as indeed we were, by the remarkable success of the scheme implemented by the authorities in the Belgian city of Hasselt. They introduced free public transport in 1997 in response to chronic traffic congestion. But instead of building more and more roads to accommodate more and more cars they took an alternative route. They abolished fares on their buses, trains and trams. Their aim was to provide people with a better alternative to using their cars. Critics scoffed at their idea and said it was madness, that people wouldn’t leave their beloved cars just because the bus was free. Yet in the space of three years passenger numbers in Hasselt increased tenfold from 330,000 in 1996 to 3.7million. 
The SSP aims to replicate that remarkable success this time on a nationwide basis advocating free travel on buses, trains, Glasgow’s underground system, Edinburgh’s trams and for foot passengers on our ferries. We are confident this measure, never conducted on a national basis before, would act as a huge incentive for people to leave their cars at home.
According to the Scottish Government the cost of introducing free public transport would be £500m per annum. This figure arises as the income presently received from fares.
In a debate in the Scottish Parliament in 2006 I pointed out to the then Transport Minister Tavish Scott that whilst this figure did not include the additional cost of extra buses and trains necessary to cope with the inevitable upsurge in demand it also failed to recognise the considerable savings which would arise.
The Confederation of British Industry in Scotland for example estimates the economy losses £2.2bn per year through congestion as workers sit in cars, vans and lorries grid locked by traffic every day in our towns and cities.
The tourist agency ‘Visit Scotland’ also spoke out in favour of the measure by concluding it would also boost  the number of people likely to come here on holiday. Similarly the NHS and emergency services say the cost of dealing with road traffic accidents annually exceeds £1bn in Scotland.
Then there is the benefits which the NHS receives in not having to treat the escalating numbers of patients admitted, particularly in summer, with respiratory illnesses cause by traffic fumes and associated pollution.
We would also benefit as a society from reducing poverty as low paid workers can pay anything between £50-£100 per month in travel to work costs.
And to those who might be tempted to argue that spending £500million on free public transport in Scotland is pie in the sky in the current economic climate I would point to the conclusion in Sir Nicholas Stern’s report as the Chair of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Climate Change [ICCC]. Stern was at pains to point out this threat –of global warming and its consequences -  is not about to go away and he stressed that every step we must take carries significant costs, but most importantly of all ‘the cost of doing nothing is the highest price of all.’
The Scottish Socialist Party’s National Council on June 12th will discuss plans to work with a broad range of organisations on this policy - trades unions, climate change campaigners, health groups and other sympathetic bodies- in order to progress the policy further in light of the PCS’s support.