Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's all about oil, #publictransit fares are for rationing, not revenue

People are protesting public transit fare hikes in Mexico, U.S., Argentina, Spain, and Brazil, just to name a few. It seems counter-intuitive that fares should be going up just when everyone is agreeing that we must reduce carbon emissions. What is going on?

Ironically, as oil runs out, the oil industry must pump as fast as it can. This is one of the annoying aspects of a competitive economic system. Oil companies cannot tolerate a drop in demand. Their fixed costs require them to maximize the flow.

The oil industry needs fares to go up to keep people from using public transit.

People jumping turnstiles are doing everyone else a favor. They are reducing oil use. They should be applauded, not harassed. Why let oil industry profits destroy the biosphere?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Advocates call for demonstration for free public transport in Katowice, Poland

BEZPLATNA KOMUNIKACJA MIEJSKA: ""Gazeta Wyborcza Katowice" Trade unionists and activists from leftist organizations organise a a demonstration in front of the City Hall in Katowice on Friday. They will be demanding free public transport.

The campaign was organized jointly by the politicians of Your Movement, Polish Labour Party and Free Trade Union "August 80". They will be joined by councilors from Katowice, Siemianowice Śląskie, Piekary Śląskie and Będzin.

They all want to see free public transport in the cities of the region. Proponents of this solution will meet at the city square and then go to the City Hall. They want to give a petition to the president of Katowice Piotr Uszok. - Free communication is the most sensible way of organising transport in the city. It's getting rid of traffic jams, the investment for the future and relief for our wallets - say the organizers."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Minimum wage fight ill-advised

Now that growth is over, a higher minimum wage will be paid with printed money. Money is easily taken back from the wage-earner in many ways.

A lot of that money will just go into cars, gasoline, and higher public transit fares.

By subsidizing an obsolete auto-and-sprawl system, we are flushing money down the drain. We can stop that waste and address inequality at the same time.

Make buses free. Before demanding more money, stop wasting money.

Cheap oil has peaked. Oil companies hitting a wall.

Beginning of the End? Oil Companies Cut Back on Spending | Our Finite World: "A person would normally expect that crude oil production would rise as Capex rises, but Kopits shows that in fact since 2006, Capex has continued to rise, but crude oil production has fallen." [Global figures].

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Humans must decarbonize at 5.1% for next 39 consecutive years to make 2ºC target

pwc.com : "The annual PwC Low Carbon Economy Index centres on one core statistic: the rate of change of global carbon intensity. This year we estimated that the required improvement in global carbon intensity to meet a 2ºC warming target has risen to 5.1% a year, from now to 2050.

We have passed a critical threshold – not once since 1950 has the world achieved that rate of decarbonisation in a single year, but the task now confronting us is to achieve it for 39 consecutive years."

Something to think about. The future of your town.

Oil is not going to be cheap again. The private auto and it's companion sprawl are no longer sustainable.

Cities that recognize this will be reducing car-dependency and the ones that don't will be chained in infrastructure servitude. There will be a race to the top. Who can first reduce the waste.

Every dollar your city spends on parking lots and such is an investment in the past, and a lost opportunity in the race to the future.

Now is the time to act. By becoming a bold free-transit advocate, you will be providing breathing space for the timid public transport advocates. At your local civic group bring up the idea. Remember, free is cheaper.

Friday, February 21, 2014

World oil market needs another Saudi Arabia every 3 to 4 years

Peak oil is not a myth | Chemistry World: "Current data for the decline in oil fields’ production indicates that around 3 million barrels per day of new production must be achieved year on year, simply to sustain supply levels. This is equivalent to finding another Saudi Arabia every 3–4 years. In this context, fracking is at best a stop-gap measure. Conventional oil production is predicted to drop by over 50% in the next two decades and tight oil is unlikely to replace more than 6%. "

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Commuters to gov't: Limit cars to half of the roads

rappler : "MANILA, Philippines – Can you imagine your city with cars occupying only half of the roads, while all-weather bike lanes and sidewalks, bus rapid transit, and public trains have the other half?

This is what the world-renowned environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr and a group of young lawyers and concerned citizens are hoping to realize when they file a petition on Monday, February 17, to compel government officials to implement road sharing in the Philippines."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Another oil-troll attacks #freetransit, but they got nothing!

They try to frame #freetransit as an experiment. There is only anecdotal evidence they whine. Ha. The oil industry is panicked and the trolls and wannabe trolls are unleashed.
triplepundit : "Second, the importance of the results in Tallinn also stems from the fact that no comprehensive analysis was made to truly evaluate the impact of the experiments made so far in providing free transit (mostly in small cities in Europe), which left us mainly with anecdotal evidence. So basically this is the first time where we can truly evaluate the value of this policy tool."
Free public transit is not an experiment. Where are the studies to evaluate the impact of an automobile society? Well, turns out there is plenty of data on the auto. The auto is literally killing us.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

March 1st is international free public transport day

The international campaign for free public transport is calling for people around the world to celebrate the successes and commit to more efforts to establish free public transport.

Climate change, energy costs, and economic inequality are plaguing our species and our home in the biosphere. We have a solution that addresses all three of these problems. It is proven. It is available. It saves money. It makes life more pleasant.

In conjunction with this year's celebration, the international campaign has started radio broadcast via web audio. Click here to listen.

Here is what you can do. Join the celebration in your city. Resolve to discuss the issue with friends or family. Raise the idea at your local public transit riders' union or transit advocacy group, or any other political, or social, group. Educate yourself and/or others. Spread the idea through social media, put a post or comment on blogs, microblogs, or Facebook.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hamburg sets out to become a car-free city in 20 years

02b.com: "Hamburg City Council has disclosed ambitious plans to divert most cars away from its main thoroughfares in twenty years. In order to do so, local authorities are to connect pedestrian and cycle lanes in what is expected to become a large green network. In all, the Grünes Netz (Green Web) plan envisages “eliminating the need for automoviles” within two decades. "

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oil price: up is bad for the economy, down is bad for oil production, which is bad for the economy

Oil Profits Slump as Higher Spending Fails to Lift Output - Bloomberg: "The problem for the oil majors is two-fold: costs are rising and oil prices aren’t, while the complexity of developing the most recent oil and gas discoveries is preventing drillers from reaching production targets. Brent crude prices, the benchmark for more than half the world’s oil, slipped 0.3 percent last year, the first time that prices failed to gain since the global financial crisis in 2008. Prices may slip below $90 a barrel by 2020, future contracts show.

The biggest producers haven’t kept up with gains in oil prices for the past few years. While Brent crude prices have more than doubled to $105 a barrel since the start of 2009, the top five oil and gas companies have gained just 13 percent since then, compared with an 81 percent increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average."

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tallinn free public transport - ridership grows 13.8% in one month - 50% of population uses public transport

baltictimes : "In Tallinn last month, 228,591 cards and 42,099 ID tickets were validated on public transport, according to analysis by Tallinn City Council, reports LETA.

In January 2014, a total of 307,936 cards were used - an increase of 13.8 percent on previous months. According to data provided in January 2014, 596,000 transport cards were issued. Of them 299,644 were given to members of the public for free transport rides, 72,000 for pensioners' free rides, and 3414 - for schoolchildren who are also entitled to free public transport. A total of 375,000 persons use the public transport for free, and 96,000 persons pay for a ride with a banking card.

As the vice Mayor of Tallinn Taavi Aas said, this shows that every second tallinner uses public transport.

"The number of the used cards corresponds to our expectations," said Aas noting that people positively value the quality of Tallinn's public transport. On Feb. 1, 2014, the number of residents of Tallinn was 430,594, last month the number of inhabitants in the capital increased by 695 people."

Friday, February 7, 2014

theguardian.com allows blame for #falseflag to fall on #publictransit protesters in Rio

The 1% has directed their police to vandalize public transit facilities in Mexico and Brazil. They have motive to do it. It discredits the fare protesters, and gives police political cover to use violence. Fare protesters have no opportunity or motive to do this. To report this vandalism as if it were part of a rebellion is irresponsible.
Rio fare protesters seize main station and let commuters travel free | World news | theguardian.com: "After street protests, station invasions and turnstile vandalism, Rio de Janeiro’s free public transport movement finally got what it wanted for a few hours on Thursday night with a takeover of the city’s main train and bus hub.

Thousands of commuters were shepherded through demolished ticket gates at the Central do Brasil station amid a violent confrontation over proposed fare rises that resulted in fires, arrests and disruption of transport networks."

Troll hacks #occupy on Twitter - see #IFoundedOccupyWallSt

Person or persons under the control of the 1% have taken over an important occupy wall street Twitter account. Below are the tell-tale signs that they are out to destroy occupy wall street [#ows]. The claim of founder is to provoke the quiet leaders of #ows to react and identify themselves. Don't fall for it. The Twitter account @OccupyWallSt now:
  • uses the word riot instead of rebellion
  • calls on people to create unfocused disruption
  • claims to be a "founder" of #ows
  • conflates disruptive behavior with commitment
  • promotes all of #ows as anarchist
  • plans to "kick ruling class a**"
These phrases and characteristics are copied and pasted from police/black-bloc provocateur pages.
See our tips for identifying trolls - Recognizing Trolls

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Move to town, sell your car, sign up for #carsharing

Resource Insights: "Last fall at the Shareable Cities Summit in Portland a panelist from Getaround, the car sharing service, made the astounding statement that car sharing had the potential to reduce the number of cars on the road by an order of magnitude--for the math-impaired that means 90 percent.

What makes this seemingly fantastical development possible is the fact the cars sit parked 95 percent of the time according to Donald Shoup, a UCLA professor of urban planning who has made a specialty of researching parking. (This fact has had a huge impact on the urban landscape. But that's a subject for another time.)"

Monday, February 3, 2014

Stopping roads and pipelines

There are two sides to the problem of energy/climate. There is the demand side, and there is the supply side.

There are many actions around the world demanding an end to the destruction of our neighborhoods, farms, and nature in general. This destruction is driven by profit motive, profit needs customers. Without customers, there is no profit. Without profit, no destruction.

How to redirect the customers?

There is a tsunami of demand, over a billion people, who want a life in a quiet, leafy suburb. Most will never get it. Even the quiet, leafy suburbs that exist today are just one quick trip to the store away from horrific, dangerous roads.

Let's make public transit free in towns and cities and gradually eliminate the private auto. This will give people a place to live that they will love. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

#Free transit campaign can only be from the grass roots

We will get no help from high-profile personalities. The oil industry is too desperate and too powerful. They put Rod Blagojevich in jail for 14 years after he won free transit for all seniors in Illinois. They crushed the mayor of San Diego in similar fashion. They attack with criminal charges and more importantly a corporate media campaign of mud slinging. If the president of the U.S. goes against them they will bring him down in a matter of days or weeks. Many mayors and urban planners have spoken up for free transit, then they suddenly go quiet on the subject. They got that threatening phone call.

We must pursue this ourselves. Join your local public transit advocates and call for free transit. It is easy to make the economic case. Free transit is actually cheaper that charging fares with all the savings that ensue. Are you a "nobody?" Good. Then stay local and build a campaign that can withstand their slander.

In any case it is a difficult struggle with set-backs and successes. Tallinn, Estonia is in it's second year of free public transport. Chengdu China has made many buses free. In Bangkok, free transit survived the reign of a right-wing government. The campaign in Brazil has been going 9 years and has branches in over 8 cities. People in Spain and Mexico are seeing that public transit fares a pinch point for oil and the economy and are taking mass action against fare hikes. The campaign is gaining momentum in Poland with many small towns adopting free transport and a discussion about implementation in Warsaw.

This blog is part of the English-language network.

Click here for the international website of free public transport.

In the English-speaking world our main struggle is over sprawl propaganda and disinformation from those who profit from fossil fuel, autos, and sprawl. But we are advancing. Our reader ship is at 20,000/month and growing -- with more bloggers joining.

We have our heroes. People who have stood up and taken the heat from the oil trolls. We list them here. Please tweet us or contact us on Facebook if you want to be a blogger.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Oil trolls trying to frame #freetransit as an "experiment"

That promotes the implicit assumption that the autosprawl system is the norm. But the auto has been around only 120 years. That is really a short time considering the time of humans on earth. Even considering the age of agriculture, it is very short. #Freetransit is not a system of transportation, it is a sensible policy reaction to the devastation of the private auto and a transition back to bicycles and walking.