Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jacksonville, FL anti-transit Mayor Peyton wants to divert money voted for transit to roads.

...the Peyton plan could lose $174 million in funding for JTA, including $94 set aside and ear marked for A Rapid Transit system. JacksonvilleTransit

We have noted this kind of theft before in Connecticut and at the Federal level. This blatant violation of the democratic wishes of the public shows the desperation of the carbon and auto industry. Democracy means nothing to them.

The mayors office will stare stupefied out the window, and wonder why "other" Florida cities are booming with development as they chug toward their own rail systems. JacksonvilleTransit

We have also noted that robust public transit is critical for economic development. Places like Atlanta are being by-passed by companies looking for a modern city.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Carbon wars hit Gaza hard

Photo: AP/Majed Hamdan

U.S. energy interests desperately need to maintain influence in the energy rich middle-east and Caspian regions. They are using the only power they have left: terror.

Meanwhile, the energy everyone is fighting over is being wasted at a ridiculous rate by the inefficient auto-and-sprawl system.

Great profits are reaped from this system, but they are NOT REAL PROFITS. They do not account for the costs to the environment.

To sum up: the human race is wasting lives and resources to preserve a system that wastes energy and destroys the environment.

Wake up. Put and end to autosprawl. The cause of war is parked right outside on your street. Join the fight for free public transit.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Montgomery AL: mayoral candidate wants free public transit

Simmons said the way to improve the city's increasingly dire financial situation is to turn Montgomery into a "bargain" and win back the shoppers who are starting to spend their tax money elsewhere.

Provide free public transportation. Simmons proposes replacing the fares with advertising income. montgomeryadvertiser

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Singapore - Say "Yes" to free public transport

...A government spokesman has said that if the public want free buses and MRTs that it would cost a 1.5% raise in GST. I presume this was said to convince people NOT to ask for such a thing...yet, pause for awhile. What does a 1.5% tax on spending mean for Singaporeans? Well, that depends if you are a big spender or not.

If you are relatively poor and your family spends 1000 dollars a month on GST liable items, your GST payment is 15 dollars. Yet, if one family member takes two journeys at 1.50 dollars each, that would amount to 3 dollars a day - or 90 dollars a month. Thus, this person of modest means would save 75 dollars a month, from this initiative. What if this consists of a typical Singaporean family (two parents, one child)...well, that would be a saving of 7.10 dollars a day or 213 dollars a month - minus 15 dollars, which would equal 198 dollars not spent. That is a HUGE increase in the effective income of this poor family... boywhoknewtoomuch

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

U.S. - Subsidizing environmental destruction

.. the long history of government subsidies doled out for
foreign-owned auto plants...

1980: Honda, Marysville OH, $27 million*
1980: Nissan, Smyrna, TN, $233 million**
1985: Toyota, Georgetown, KY, $147 million
1985: Honda, Anna, OH, $27 million*
1986: Subaru, Lafayette, IN, $94 million
1987: Honda, East Liberty, OH, $27 million*
1992: BMW, Spartanburg, SC, $150 million
1993: Mercedes-Benz, Vance, AL, $258 million
1995: Toyota, Princeton, IN, $30 million
1995: Nissan, Decherd, TN, $200 million**
1996: Toyota, Buffalo, WV, more than $15 million
1999: Honda, Lincoln, AL, $248 million
2000: Nissan, Canton, MS, $295 million
2001: Toyota, Huntsville, AL, $30 million
2002: Hyundai, Montgomery, AL, $252 million
2003: Toyota, San Antonio, TX, $133 million
2006: Kia, West Point, GA, $400 million
2006: Honda, Greensburg, IN, $141 million
2007: Toyota, Blue Springs, MS, $300 million
2008: Volkswagen, Chattanooga, TN, $577 million
* total of direct subsidies to all Honda facilities in Ohio** includes about $200 million for expansions of Smyrna and Decherd plants. List does not include joint ventures with U.S. companies... KansasCityStar

data from GoodJobsFirst

Monday, December 22, 2008

U.S. - Support Oberstar's efforts right now


Rep. James Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is proposing a shift toward more spending on transit projects...

Environmental advocates have long fought to boost mass transit's share, emphasizing the need to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, decrease congestion and reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. Highway advocates argue gas-tax revenue should mostly be spent on road projects. Wall Street Journal via Streetsblog

Here are a couple questions for the "highway advocates". What if spending $x on mass transit reduces the need for road maintenance by more than $x? Also, only about 60% of road costs are covered by fuel tax, what about the hidden costs of the auto-highway-sprawl-fossil fuel system? take action click: Transportation for America

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Uncounted costs of fare-collections

...For nearly 20 years i have tried to point out to governments that a big part of the cost of ticketing is the loss of revenue caused by the armouring of stations necessary to keep out the "great unticketed" - the mass of humanity that might otherwise "swamp the system"!? As the Sunday Age discovered in March, the government is not listening - indeed it does not want to listen and so, it dramatically underestimates the cost of ticketing... Frank Fisher, Understandascope

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jacksonville, FL - free trolleys downtown

JACKSONVILLE! The sleeping giant of Florida, the states largest city (anyway you count it). Larger then Buffalo, Atlanta or St. Louis, 3RD largest City on the East Coast...Has FREE TRANSIT.

Jacksonville has a downtown network of 3 Faux Trolley - bus routes. Affectionately known locally as PCT TROLLEYS (for: Potato-Chip-Truck), they don't win any prizes for looks but they're free.

The Jacksonville Transit Blog has interviewed the JTA boss, Mr. Mike Blaylock, and knows he wishes to make the entire system fare-free. The drawback is funding at the State and Municipal level, with a Conservative mayor that is now planning to raid the fixed transit funding for a few more lane miles of highway at our international port.

Blaylock is in a catch 22 position, being between job security and mass transit and the mayor and severely restricted and/or expensive transit.

The battle lines have been drawn ad God knows, it's as much along the lines of "fare-free" as it is "transit free." It will be interesting to see if the local monorail system (The Jacksonville Skyway) and more of the bus system go fare free, they very well might.

That being said, there is an equal chance that Blaylock has to walk home from his job, de-throned by Neanderthals at the top. But Mike should know, he'd be the hero of Transit Systems all over the nation. I can't think of a finer way to move up and OUT!

- Robert Mann

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Free Transit Advocates - step forward!

The world is in a period of change. Interest in our cause is growing. Here is what you can do: Write up a short post on your local public transport situation. We especially need correspondents in Bermuda, Bangkok, and Bangalore. send it to us at info@freepublictransit.org .

other action you can take:
  • join your local public trans advocacy group
  • join our email list
  • send us your research and/or opinion
  • paste our link when commenting on free transit
  • notify us of places that have free public trans

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Feeder buses - not park-and-ride

The Land Transport Authority wishes to promote the "park-and-ride" scheme.
It is better to promote feeder services. These services should meet the following criteria:

1. Be frequent
2. Short travelling time
3. Be affordable.

The light bus system used in Hong Kong is the best model. It should be managed by individual operators and not big companies. SingaporePublicTransport

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Environmental Ponzi Scheme

A Ponzi scheme pays investors "dividends" from the capital of new investors. Eventually it collapses. The autosprawl system pays "dividends" in the form of profits for fossil-fuel, auto, and related companies. These are not real profits, they are stolen from our environmental capital. This scheme must be stopped. The quickest way is a mass movement for free public transportation.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Arctic carbon release imminent

QUEBEC CITY, Canada - In just a few summers from now, the Arctic Ocean will lose its protective cover of ice for the first time in a million years, according to some experts attending the International Arctic Change conference here.

....Burning of fossil fuels contributes about 8.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, but the permafrost holds more than 1,670 billion tonnes. 'It's bigger than we thought,' Schuur said in a release.

He estimates that thawing permafrost could add 0.8 to 1.1 billion tonnes per year in the future -- almost as much as deforestation currently adds. Ominously, carbon from melting permafrost is not included in climate models... inter press service via commondreams

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

J.K.Galbraith says invest in rail and transit

...Economic recovery in an existential crisis like this means actually building a new economy. For that, we need investment-to restore our roads, rails, transit, broadband, and water systems, to build parks and museums and libraries, to protect the environment. Right now, states and localities can't borrow for these things. Creating a National Infrastructure Fund, using Uncle Sam's borrowing power to put money where it's needed, is one way forward. Federal capital spending should be bond financed and exempt from budget rules, especially pay-as-you-go. It makes no sense to finance projects whose benefits will last for 50 years solely from tax revenues of today... commondreams

Monday, December 8, 2008

Driver pays ultimate price for fare collection

Bus and train fares exist mainly for one purpose. To protect the auto-sprawl-fossil-fuel industry from any possible competiton. Fares exist mainly to discourage use of public transport. Transit employees are put in the difficult and dangerous position of having to demand payment from people who are under economic stress, with some individuals at the breaking point. It is time to stop subsidizing and protecting waste. It is intuitive that public transit is more efficient than the private auto. Let's stop hobbling our investment and remove the fares!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Asia - private auto promotes terrorism

streets of Chennai - seeing green
India has a great thirst for energy. More and more, the energy is being wasted by private autos. A private auto requires large amounts of resources to build, but then just sits most of the time, waiting for its owner to wake up or finish at work. To make it worse the auto promotes sprawl, spreading out structures, costing more energy to heat or cool and get to and from. Even worse, the auto burns a lot more fuel per passenger than a bus or tram.

To feed this thirst for energy. Oil and gas companies are fighting over building pipelines from fossil fuel sources in central Asia. These companies are so powerful, they persuade their national armies get involved. These armies invade and occupy areas of fuel sources and pipeline routes and terrorize on the populations. So people are being terrorized for fuel that is just being wasted.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Netherlands public employees have free public transportation

The Dutch believe that the “care of the environment is more than a list of technical measures, but a combination of policy, technology, responsibility and behavior.”

I asked how they encourage people to switch to more eco-friendly practices. I was told that they believe in penalizing and rewarding. Below are some interesting examples of such penalties and rewards and other interesting facts and good practices:


-The ministry believes it should practice what it preaches. Therefore its head office uses energy that is 100% environmentally friendly (more on this in a separate report).

- to reduce the use of fossil fuel, government discourages the use of private vehicle and instead offers its employees free public transportation.

- To be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, they promote public transportation and the use of bicycles. The planning of public transportation facilities is an integral part of planning for urban and rural development.

- to promote the use of bicycles:

-- the ministry recently mandated that real estate developers/builders build new houses with a bike storage area.

--government employees have access to government bicycles for their official use.

--government employees will also receive a subsidy for using a bicycle as their mode of transport to work. mydailyrace

Monday, December 1, 2008

Road traffic kills poor people more

...The committee heard evidence that child pedestrians from the lowest socio-economic groups are 21 times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than those from the top socio-economic groups. Poorer car users are also at greater risk of death than the more affluent.
Chair of the committee Louise Ellman said: “The number of deaths and injuries on our roads far outweighs the deaths and injuries in other transport modes or in other
work-related accidents... Les Bonner's Blog photo from flickr

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nigeria - unpleasant okada economy

...The okada is an ad hoc measure, elevated into a main vehicle in the face of the failure of urban planning and the public transportation system. We run a national economy that is fueled by ad hoc measures. That is why the process of formulating the 2008 budget has so far been mostly experimental. The Presidency and the National Assembly do not know what they want. They can't agree on a road map.

Motorcycles have become the main means of transportation in Nigeria, because of the failure of planning. Okada-related accidents are often more fatal, and more frequent, than any other category of accidents, and yet the government is not sufficiently concerned. Even government officials, faced with a traffic snarl, jump onto the back of the okada....VillageSquare

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Charlotte, NC - Creative thinking needed

...Here’s another idea: treat public transportation as a necessary public service and set up the system so it’s guaranteed enough money to increase service around the city. It’s time for local officials to get creative for a change, rather than thinking like robotic bureaucrats. How about a luxury car tax? A gas guzzler tax? Or how about coming up with something new, an overhaul of the system that could be proposed to local governing bodies — come on, Keith Parker, have you got that in you? Maybe even look into an idea we brought up in October 2007 — something a number of cities in the US and other nations are having success with: fare-free public transit. Think of the drop in congestion and gasoline bills, not to mention air pollution — and what a way for Charlotte to show that its progressive vision goes beyond a couple of light-rail lines and a lively Uptown...The CLOG

Monday, November 17, 2008

U.S. transit didn't just die, it was murdered

But GM lost $65 million in 1921. So Sloan enlisted Standard Oil (now Exxon), Philips Petroleum, glass and rubber companies and an army of financiers and politicians to kill mass transit.

...But with a varied arsenal of political and financial subterfuges, GM helped gut the core of America's train and trolley systems. It was the murder of our rail systems that made our "love affair" with the car a tragedy of necessity. commondreams

Friday, November 14, 2008

U.S.Auto bailout tip of iceberg

For decades the U.S. taxpayer has directly subsidized the carbon-fuel, automobile, and sprawl industries. Now "emergency" direct subsidies are being considered for automakers.

But these direct subsidies are just the tip of the iceberg. The autosprawl system generates large "profits" for the above industries, but these are not real economic profits. The profits come from ignoring the costs [externalities] and wastefulness [opportunity costs] of this system.

The biggest hidden cost is greenhouse gas emissions and the consequent floods and drought. The second is oil and pipeline wars. There are many more problems absorbed by society for the unnecessary autosprawl system. How many can you name?

The solution is to stop the subsidies and invest in public tranportation.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Congress for New Urbanism

“Throughout history, streets were expected to be vibrant public spaces and the setting for diverse and valuable economic activity, as well as movers of people and goods. We’re learning how to do that again, but when you design simply around vehicular movement as typically happens, you limit the results to a familiar landscape that includes big-box and strip retail. And perversely enough, you get a lot of traffic congestion and outrageous carbon emissions. It shouldn’t be a surprise — when people need a car or truck to get anywhere, that creates a lot of long car trips.”
--John Norquist, President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU)

Friday, November 7, 2008

U.S. - Which infrastructure?

There is a lot of talk about investing in infrastructure. But which infrastructure? Will the U.S. continue to dump good money after bad into the wasteful autosprawl system? Or will the carbon-auto subsidies come to an end? The American Public Transportation Association makes the case for public transit. It's intuitive, folks. Will the U.S. Congress do the right thing? Join your local bus/transit riders' union, or transit advocacy group.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voters Approve More than $75 Billion for Transportation

from the Center for Transportation Excellence:

Voters Approve More than $75 Billion for Transportation
74% of Transportation Measures Pass
Voters across the country have again signaled their support for transportation-related investment. On November 4, voters approved more than $75 billion in funding for transportation. There were 32 measures on ballots from Rhode Island to Hawaii and 14 states in between. More than 70% of measures were approved in favor of transportation, demonstrating the willingness of voters to invest in expanding choice, improving performance, and increasing competitiveness.
Since 2000, approximately 70% of all transportation measures have been approved, a rate double that of ballot measures generally. Of 23 approved measures, 14 increased sales taxes, 4 provided funding through property taxes and 3 authorized bonds. One measure, a one-eighth cent sales tax increase in Santa Clara Valley, California is still too close to call. In total, yesterday voters approved more than $75 billion in new investment for transportation. The continued success of transportation ballot measures is especially noteworthy this year considering the on-going economic challenges facing the nation.

Included in the 23 approved measures were the three largest measures on this November's ballot:

  • Los Angeles County, California: A 1/2 cent sales tax increase was approved to finance new and existing transportation projects, including highways, local roads and mass transit. The sales tax is expected to generate $40 billion over the next 30 years.

  • Seattle, Washington: Last year's "Roads and Transit" plan was defeated because of its size and cost. This year, voters approved a sales tax increase for Sound Transit's $17.8 billion plan to provide an additional 34 miles of light rail and expand bus service.

  • California, statewide: Voters approved a $9.9 billion bond to support construction of a high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Fifteen measures appeared on ballots in 8 states earlier in the year. Twelve of those measures were approved in favor of public transportation and will raise an estimated $40 million a year for local transit agencies in those regions. For the year, a total of 47 measures were considered with 35 receiving voter approval. 2008 has been among the most successful election cycles ever in terms of overall investment and percentage of approved measures.

A complete list of 2008 ballot initiatives is available at http://www.cfte.org. The Center for Transportation Excellence is a non-partisan research group based in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

U.S. carbon-auto industry still in control

U.S. voters have shaken the foundation of divisive politics that has enabled the carbon-auto industry to control public policy. With the voting public split on various lines it has been easier to keep carbon-auto agents in policy-making positions. These agents protect carbon-auto interests in energy policy, transportion, land development, and wars for control of carbon sources and pipeline routes.

But the election has not changed economic reality. Sprawled out homes continue to waste coal-based energy. Private autos continue to waste oil-based energy. This waste is necessary to the carbon-auto industry to protect their investment in the fixed costs necessary for extraction, processing, transporting, and distributing the energy from coal, oil, and gas.

Until this system is dismantled, it will continue to cripple the economy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

In the U.S. - Vote for public transportation

Tuesday, November 4th 2008, U.S. election day. Support public transit. Check out the sites below for your ballot initiatives.

The Center for Transportation Excellence website. [click here]

Also check out the CFTE blog -- Modal Citizen

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Public transit - more bang for the buck

Pointing out that every $1 communities invest in public transportation generates approximately $6 in economic returns, Scott said, "I urge Congress to move forward with an economic stimulus package that recognizes the value of investing in our nation's public transportation infrastructure. These projects will create new economic activity and put thousands of people to work." APTA/Harvard

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Free transport idea is spreading

Free public transit/transport is here now and it works. It addresses global warming. It lubricates the wheels of commerce. It improves the quality of life.

This year has seen major new additions to free public transport: Bangkok, Thailand - Changning China - Bermuda. See our list.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bermuda - Buses to be fare-free

In June, Works Minister Derrick Burgess said free bus and ferry rides could be in place by the autumn.

Earlier this year children were granted free public transport.

Yesterday Premier and Transport Minister Ewart Brown's spokesman said the Ministry would create a timetable for free transport for adults "after officials have fully weighed the impact and benefits of the student phase".

The spokesman added: "We are happy to report free public transport for students has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public." RoyalGazette

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Buses Were First Step to Ending Streetcar System

GM first replaced trolleys with free-roaming buses, eliminating the need for tracks embedded in the street and clearing the way for cars. As dramatized in a 1996 PBS docudrama, Taken for a Ride, Alfred P. Sloan, GM’s president at the time, said, “We’ve got 90 percent of the market out there that we can…turn into automobile users. If we can eliminate the rail alternatives, we will create a new market for our cars.” And they did just that, with the help of GM subsidiaries Yellow Coach and Greyhound Bus. Sloan predicted that the jolting rides of buses would soon lead people to not want them and to buy GM’s cars instead.
from The Conservation Report quoting from Larry West at About.com and The Straight Dope.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Amman, Jordan - discovering public transportation

photo link

15 October 2008 AMMAN - A revamped and modern public transportation system is integral to the Greater Amman Municipality's (GAM)Greater Amman Municipality's (GAM) Master Plan, Amman Mayor Omar Maani said on Tuesday.

...Maani stressed that one of the greatest challenges aside from upgrading public transport is encouraging the public to take advantage of the services...zawya

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

U.S. House candidate for free public transportation

Free public ground transportation. Suppose we taxed ourselves and picked up the fares for all mass transit, freight and people, traveling on the ground. Suppose we set standards for efficiency and environmental impact, standards that today’s trains and buses could meet, but standards that would become more stringent from year to year. Free trips anywhere in the USA for anybody riding or shipping by qualified conveyance.

Instead of upping subway fares, New York City would scrap them altogether. Goodbye, turnstiles. Good-bye, fare machines. Get on and go. Cars would stay in the driveway. Trucks would disappear from the roads, at least for long hauls. At half-a-buck a mile by car, people would get on board the trains and buses in millions. The skies would clear, of airplanes and of pollutants. Commerce would benefit. In fact, new kinds of commerce would arise just because of the increase in social travel, as opposed to isolation motoring and the attendant road rage we enjoy now. The pressures of social disequilibrium–resulting from such forces as immigration, natural disaster, unemployment–would be reduced, as displaced people were empowered to go where the work is, ride with the rest of us, and go back home when it pleased them to do so. Holders of airline, fuel and automotive assets would suffer. Tough. Too expensive, you say? What’s expensive is each one of us pushing a ton of steel around to get from place to place. Fournier for Congress

Monday, October 13, 2008

Private automobile dragging down the U.S.

U.S. financial system problems are a distraction from the real economy.

Billions of U.S. dollars are being borrowed and printed to save the wealthy from themselves.

While this story dominates the news. The autosprawl system continues to waste energy and public funds at an alarming rate.

The U.S. is facing a decision: continue subsidizing the auto and sprawl, or invest in public transportation.

For an example, read this on bleedingheartland.com

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Free Transit - not a new idea

...Creation of a good system of free public transportation would entice droves of people -- many of whom now believe that buses are only for people too poor to afford their own car -- to shun the exorbitant cost of owning an automobile in favor of a free, enjoyable socially desirable ride to work or play. Who would want to pay for a car, with all it attendant expenses, if he could ride free?...

....Until the world wakes up and actually creates this "Utopian" transportation system, I will continue to watch log-jammed cars on highways that look like parking lots and think to myself: These hapless bottlenecked people...

William F. Torpey -1992

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Center for Transportation Excellence - new blog

The Center for Transportation Excellence is a non-partisan policy research center created to serve the needs of communities and transportation organizations nationwide. CFTE is committed to two main objectives: responding to transit’s critics and equipping local leaders with the information they need to be successful with their public transportation initiatives and ballot measures. Click here

Thursday, October 9, 2008

St. Louis, MO - Yes on Proposition M

The Post Dispatch editorial continued: “Simply put, the outcome of the sales tax vote will influence whether St. Louis remains competitive among metropolitan regions that are trying to attract top talent, top jobs and other economic opportunities.”According to the writers, “Dynamic public transportation — systems that are smart, efficient and convenient — is a key indicator of a community's confidence and vibrancy.” Read more...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Portland, OR - Another voice for free transit

City Commissioner Randy Leonard said he would support a tax in the Portland region to provide free public transportation for all, saying "I don't think it would cost homeowners much money." NakedEnergy

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Manchester, UK - Campaign for Free Public Transport

...Roy Wilkes of Respect opened the meeting by declaring that this is a campaign whose time has come. Climate change is a serious threat to the future of humanity and our response to it must include moving beyond the domination of the private automobile. In a recent survey, 72% of the population said they would only abandon their cars if public transport was free. The campaign was also needed in order to assert the principle that public transport should become a genuine public service rather than a source of private profit. Hasselt, a small town in Belgium, shows that zero fare transport is both possible and transformative. ... read more

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We can't afford free public transit?

WASHINGTON, DC – Despite declining gas prices, a person can achieve an average annual savings of $9,596 per year by taking public transportation instead of driving based on today’s gas prices and the average unreserved parking rate according to the American Public Transportation Association’s “Transit Savings Report”. The report is a monthly analysis that shows the average annual savings represents more than one third more than the average amount a household pays for food in a year, according to the Food Institute ($6,111). APTA

Friday, September 26, 2008

More direct subsidy - enough is enough!

The U.S. taxpayer is going to provide $25 billion in low-cost loans to the U.S. auto industry. Yes, loans are paid back, but the actual cost is still $7.5 billion. And people still ask, "who will pay for free public transit?".

The loans were originally authorised in an energy bill passed last December to finance the retooling of plants for more fuel-efficient vehicles, especially hybrid and electric cars. But they have become a crucial prop for Detroit carmakers.
The continuing resolution provides funding for $7.5bn, which is the estimated subsidy on the loans – in other words, the cost to the government of providing them at well below market rates.FinancialTimes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Russia goes after Bolivian natural gas

The U.S. carbon-auto industry is helpless as Russia grabs for South American carbon and Venezuela signs oil deal with China. The people of the world will have to decide if we want more carbon wars or will we reduce waste. The most wasteful use of energy is the private auto and sprawl. Either fight for free public transit, or you will be fighting over gas and oil.

Immediately after two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers returned from Venezuela to their base in the Saratov region, a convoy of combat ships from the Northern Fleet set sail for the Caribbean. Why?

...Peter the Great is one of the world's most powerful destroyers. The ship can defeat large enemy surface targets and protect itself and its ships from air strikes and submarines. The ship has unlimited cruising endurance and is equipped with cruise missiles able to destroy targets at a distance up to 500 kilometers and anti-aircraft missile systems. In terms of firepower, the cruiser is peerless and equipped with Granit anti-ship missiles (20 missile launchers), a S-300F anti-aircraft system (96 missiles) and a Kinzhal anti-aircraft system...KP.RU

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

St. Catharines, ON - free public transit needed

Both Polocko and DeDevitiis are keen to bring back late-night public transportation from the downtown to Brock University.
"We've always argued that never should have stopped," Polocko said.
"I'm 100 per cent in favour of free public transit," DeDevitiis said. "It just makes so much sense.... It clears out the downtown quicker; it's safer and better for the environment."
The police would likely be on board, too, said Niagara Regional Police Supt. Joe Matthews.
"Anything that keeps young people who have been drinking from driving is a positive thing," he said. TheStandard

Monday, September 22, 2008

Free public transport - inflation fighter

Thailand yesterday reported that inflation - which had hit a 10-year high of 9.2 per cent in July - fell to 6.4 per cent year-on-year in August.
While declines in fuel prices helped, analysts said the lower than expected reduction stemmed from a Bt47bn ($1.4bn, €940m, £760m) government package that provided free water and electricity for low-income households, and free public transportation and third-class train tickets... FinancialTimes

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Autosprawl crippling U.S. economy

For about seventy years, the U.S. has nurtured the autosprawl system -- millions of single family homes built on bull-dozed farms, accessible only by single occupancy vehicles. The costs of this system have been borne by the taxpayers, other countries, or deferred to the future.

The future is here. We are paying the price for paving farmland, fighting oil wars, and emitting carbon dioxide.

Don't think you do not understand science or economics. If you cannot pay your mortgage, fill up your tank, or help Houston hurricane victims, then you understand.

Now is the time to turn to the remedy. Join your local transit/bus riders' union or local advocacy group. We need free public transit now.

Malaysia needs public transport - not fuel subsidy

...Fuel subsidy can never be a sustainable solution for society.

The Government should take a broader and more responsible perspective when considering reducing fuel prices. Instead, any drop in fuel prices can be taken as an opportunity to reduce the fixed subsidy that is being given while maintaining the current pump prices.

The 30 sen subsidy can now be 15 sen. A partial decrement in both would also be a much better choice. This will certainly reduce the deficit gap.

Alternatively, why not hypothecate the amount saved for further public transport improvement?... - theStarOnline

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Seattle - Yes on Proposition 1

What is Proposition 1?


  • With 36 miles of new Light Rail, frequent trains will run East to Bellevue and Microsoft, North to Lynnwood and Northgate, and South to Federal Way. Read more about Light Rail expansion »

  • Rail lines don’t get stuck in traffic and have the capacity to grow with demand.

  • Light Rail can eliminate one million drivers from the road, improving congestion for everyone.

  • Funds are provided for a Tacoma Link extension, Eastside Commuter Rail, and Bothell & Burien parking garages. Sounder stops added at Broad St. and Ballard in Seattle.



  • Proposition 1 costs the average person just $69 per year — or about the cost of a fill-up.

  • A modest sales tax increase 0.5%. The tax increase rolls back after the construction is finished.


  • Light Rail and new hybrid Express Buses reduce carbon emissions.

  • Nearly 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions saved per year.

  • Proposition 1 is endorsed by The Sierra Club and Washington Conservation Voters.

  • Mass transit replaces car trips in our most congested corridors, cutting emissions and preventing wasteful idling. Mass transit also promotes more environmentally-friendly development.


  • The measure requires strict audits and requires that your dollars are invested in your community.

  • Independent audits of Sound Transit are built into the plan for strict scrutiny of the agency’s progress. A citizen oversight panel delivers regular reports on agency progress and finances.


  • There are already blueprints for future Light Rail expansions South to Tacoma, North to Everett, and East to Redmond. Early work will begin on these expansions so their development can be accelerated.

  • Sound Transit engineers will begin planning Light Rail routes to Ballard, Burien, Issaquah, Kirkland, Renton, and West Seattle.

  • A progress check halfway through Proposition 1’s construction will determine whether it makes sense to fund additional mass transit investments.

Photo from Seattle Transit Blog

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Austin, TX - BRU fights fare hikes

Daily Texan Online - Austin BRU discusses opposition to fare hike. At a time when the auto industry is asking for $50 billion in federal loan guarantees and the arctic ice is melting faster than ever, we should be making transit FREE, not more expensive.

Istanbul - 3 days of free transit when school starts

Turkish Daily News - Saturday, September 6, 2008 - IŞIL EĞRİKAVUK - The new school term means not only an end to the summer break but also an end to Istanbul's relatively open streets and highways. To help traffic run smoother, the Istanbul municipality is launching a three-day emergency plan, including free public transport on buses, ferries and metros during peak times.
With schools starting this week and 3 million students on their way back to the classroom, Istanbul's residents will wake up to a traffic nightmare Monday morning.
To help prevent a potential crisis, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, or IBB, is offering free transport to commuters for the first three days of the week.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Clarksville, TN - Director wants Free Transit

Smith told the gathering that he favors and has advocated for a free public transit system but that simply is not in the cards...
...With all the current talk about seeking fuel independence and increased fuel economy, there has been no mention of increased funding for public transportation in the public clamor and debate. Director Smith noted that, “public transportation is very green!” ClarksvilleOnline

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Zealand - Residents Action Movement Grows

Road toll idiocy should be rejected outright

"National and Labour are showing themselves to be political twins when it comes to transport policy. Both parties want more extravagant motorways, and to pay for them they want to inflict road tolls on city drivers," said Roger Fowler, RAM's transport spokesperson.

National MP Maurice Williamson's "exuberant" clammer for $50 a week toll charges, with support from Auckland mayor John Banks, has revealed National's real intentions: to build more roads and tunnels, and shove the cost onto road users.

Labour's transport minister Annette King fully supports road tolls. Her only quibble is that the toll might be set "so high that people won't use the road".

"This is a bit of a dilemma when you're embarking on a grand plan to spend over $7 billion on a maze of new motorways, bridges and tunnels in the Auckland region, as Labour is," said Roger Fowler.

"The push for tolls from both Labour and National flies in the face of public opinion. Aucklanders have overwhelmingly rejected road tolls in all public opinion surveys."

"Working families are already struggling to pay the bills. This toll madness will put them under intolerable pressure."

"And it's double madness because of the seriousness of the climate change threat. All our energies should be going into reducing vehicle emissions, a major contributor to global warming."

"Rather than piling idiocy on idiocy, we need immediate and bold political action on the twin problems of traffic gridlock and climate change," said Roger Fowler.

RAM's common sense solution is for government cash earmarked for motorway expansion to be diverted into funding new networks of free and frequent public transport in main cities. This move, coupled with a carbon-offset charge on airport arrivals and hotel bookings, will be a major step towards rolling back carbon pollution and tackling global warming.

This achievable and innovative action will catch the attention of other countries and could spark world-wide efforts to slash traffic congestion, oil consumption and vehicle emissions.

At the start of this month the Thai government introduced free buses and trains in Bangkok for a six month trial to help low-income earners. (More info in backgrounder below.)

"If a third world country like Thailand can afford free public transport, why can't New Zealand?" asked Roger Fowler.

Free and frequent public transport in our main cities is one of RAM's "Ten Commandments" that will be the focus of RAM's election campaign.

Backed by the enrolment of 3,000 new RAM members over the last few months, RAM is standing a substantial party list in the upcoming election as well a number of electoral candidates across the country.

For more info, contact Roger Fowler:
021 2999491

scoop independent news

Free public transport to fight diabetes

The meeting called for measures to control obesity, including food regulations such as better labelling and a curb on the advertising and promotion of junk food.
It also recommended initiatives such as free public transport every second Monday and a lifestyle risk assessment in health checks for every four-year-old child. thestaronline

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Moose Jaw, SK - free transit for a week

From Septmber 15-20, the city of Moose Jaw will be offering residents free bus service. Acting city transit supervisor, Darlene Noble, said the free bus week not only gives riders a chance to try out Moose Jaw’s new seven-piece transit fleet, but promote environmentalism as well. I say it's a good first step, but it's not enough. revolution-solution

Shanghai, China - seniors ride free

You may have noticed old people swiping a strange card in new purple lanes at subway station entrances or on the bus. This is a new "old people's card" that takes the place of the social security card that the Shanghai subway used to required senior citizens to carry in order to redeem their free rides.

Shanghai Public Transportation Blog

Also from this blog:

The new 350 km/hr high speed train between Beijing and Tianjin has been operational for one month. When it is extended to Shanghai, it will travel at up to 380 km/hr and cut travel time to/from the capital down to 4 hours. Note that the Pudong Maglev has an average speed of 430 km/hr and a theoretical top speed of 500 km/hr. http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2008-09/02/content_9758176.htm http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2008-09-03/124714397362s.shtml

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Changning, China - Buses are now free

Ever wished public transportation was free?

Well, if you're in Changning City, central China's Hunan Province, your wish just came true. Starting from July 1, local residents and visitors enjoy a free ride along the city's three public transportation lines and the government has allocated 7 million yuan ($1 million) to facilitate the initiative. BeijingReview

Monday, September 8, 2008

Blog says make transit free in Illinois

...You want to get our economy moving by creating jobs, being pro-business, pro-environment and improving everyone’s quality of life? Then make Illinois public mass transit tax supported, greatly expanded and free for everyone.

...Researchers conclude that $7.3 billion is lost sitting in traffic. And if the trend continues, the figure could grow to $11.3 billion in 2030.... Wurfwhile

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bermuda - Students to ride free

The Ministry of Tourism and Transport is pleased to remind members of the public that commencing on Monday (September 8) all public transportation will be free for students.
The Ministry also took this opportunity to remind parents and students of the riding free process on Monday. Eligible students include all private, public and home school students under the age of 18. On the morning of Monday September 8, all students who are in school uniforms will be able to ride the bus or ferry for free. bdasun

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Warm oceans -> anoxia -> extinction

As oceans warm, oxygen content decreases, and anaerobic bacteria increase. These bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide, deadly to many species. This is one theory for the late Permian mass extinction of ocean and land species 250 million years ago. NovaScienceNow.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Austin, TX - Free transit was a success

Between October 1989 and December 1990, the transit riders of Austin, Texas saw the elimination of fares for all forms of public transit: buses, van pools, and Special Transit Services (STS).
The move was taken on early in the new transit authority's history: the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority had been approved on January 19, 1985, and the contract to service the University of Texas (later dubbed the "UT Shuttle" system) was signed the following year. Service for the UT Shuttle started in 1989 as well.
The move was also controversial from the start. Mayor Lee Cooke and Capital Metro Chairman Stephen Bayer pushed the issue, but there was certainly dissent on the board when the free fare period began. In the 1988 budget, the board told the staff to budget fare collection for the first 3 quarters (9 months, or January-September), saving only the last quarter (October-December) for free fares. That original vote was 4-3.
The program's success was immediate. Ridership for bus service outside of UT Shuttle and STS soared by 80 percent. More Austinites were riding the bus, but there was no proportionate increase in crime outside of drunk passengers, who, if not bothering anyone, is hardly a burden on the system. The Cost per Passenger plummeted, indicating much greater system efficiency, and costs only increased in line with other years when fares were collected. It was so successful that the entire following year, 1990, was scheduled for free fares. more...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

North Pole Ice Cap Melting Faster Than Ever

File NASA satellite image of the Arctic region. The Arctic ice cap keeps melting under the effects of global warming and in August saw its second largest summer shrinkage since satellite observations began 30 years ago, US scientists said. (AFP/Nasa/Amsre-e/File)
Published on Thursday, August 28, 2008 by Agence France Presse via commondreams

Vietnam turns to public transit to save money, lives, environment

Starting next month, around 100,000 city officers would be asked to use buses or non-engine vehicles to go to work at least once a week.
The campaign is set to be applied to all residents in early 2009, the city said.
In initiating the project, the city aims to save around VND4.6 trillion (US$278 million) per year and reduce environmental pollution, Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of HCMC’s Department of Transport, said at a meeting Tuesday. thanh
nien news

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

FPT for disabled in Illinois

Gov. Blagojevich signed a law expanding the seniors ride for free program to include people with disabilitiesBy Ashley McNameeWednesday, August 27, 2008 at 5:12 p.m.
BLOOMINGTON, IL -- People with disabilities will soon be riding public transportation in Illinois for free.
Gov. Blagojevich signed a law yesterday expanding on the successful "seniors ride free program" to include those with disabilities. hoinews

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Andy Singer rips into fake environmentalists

The paving of the US (and the planet) for cars is proceeding at a breathtaking pace. The automobile's inherent need for space-- to maneuver, drive and park-- creates spread-out, inefficient, land-use patterns that waste space and can only be negotiated by car. No matter what fuel you run a car on, you cannot change this basic fact-- that cars create sprawl. more...

Monday, August 25, 2008

...make it frequent, make it free

...Additionally, to jump-start the switch to public transport, it has to be free. It’s what happened in the Belgian city of Hasselt; within a year of introducing free bus fares, patronage increased by 870%.
It already exists in Australia too. In Western Australia, the Central Area Transit (CAT) bus system runs free and frequent services in the Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup CBDs.
Since CAT was introduced to Perth in 1996, it has been constantly improved and expanded,... greenleft.org

[see also the new blog: Fare-Free Australia]

Friday, August 22, 2008

Eagle County, CO considering free buses

ECO Transit expects to get $1.78 million from bus fares in 2008. That constitutes about 20 percent of ECO Transit’s operating costs. The rest of the $8 million costs to run the system comes from a half-cent sales tax that is shared between ECO Transit and ECO Trails.
A free and expanded bus system is feasible, Taylor said, but it would require getting funds from elsewhere.
One option would be adding half a cent to the existing half-cent transit sales tax to help fund the expansion, something that would have to be voted on by the public. Summit County has a free bus system that is funded by a similar tax.
The idea of a free bus system and a sales tax is something the county would need to see if the public would support, officials said.Other funds could come from impact fees charged for new construction or additional federal grants. VailDaily - Aug 14 2008.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Republican senator supports free transit

"We very much appreciate the support of Senator Hatch," Beutler said.
Mark Daines, the CVTD’s board president, added, "(Hatch) has always been a friend of the Cache Valley Transit District. He’s worked for us, and we appreciate that very much."
-- Charles GeraciPublished:Thursday, July 3, 2008 2:17 AM Herald Journal News on CacheValleyTransit site.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

55 million cars coming

World car fleet is growing at about 6.5%/year or 55 million net additional cars/year.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hawaii - Support rail transit

  • In Honolulu, we’re lucky to live in a place with one of the cleanest environments of any major American city. A modern rail transit system, like the one proposed for O‘ahu, will help keep it that way.
  • O‘ahu’s rail transit system will run on electricity, and won’t pollute the air with carbon emissions the way cars and buses do.
  • In 15 years, there will be 150,000 more cars on O‘ahu. And who knows how much gas will cost by then? A rail transit system will take thousands of cars off the road and provide commuters with an alternative to high gas prices.
  • Because it will take thousands of cars off the road, rail transit will help to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, which is a good thing in the effort against global warming.
  • It will help reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported foreign oil. Electricity to run the transit system can instead be generated by a host of renewable energy sources, including wind, solar or biofuels. supportrailtransit.com

Friday, August 15, 2008

Low fares not just for the Olympics

(BEIJING, August 14) -- Low fares for public transport in Beijing are not a stopgap measure Zhou Zhengyu, deputy director and spokesperson of the Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications, announced Wednesday at a press conference at the Main Press Center in Beijing.
Zhou's statement was in response to a question raised by a reporter from the Peoples Daily who asked Zhou to address Beijing residents’ concern that the city's low fare public transportation policy was a temporary measure. Deputy director Zhou assured those present that the current fare level in Beijing's metro and bus systems has been implemented as part of Beijing's transport system development strategy and will not expire at the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
As to what additional measures should be adopted for the Beijing transportation system's future development, Zhou told reporters: "We encourage Beijing citizens to use public transport as much as possible during the two peak periods on an average working day. And with our policy of giving top priority to public transport, we will place our efforts mainly on developing our light rail and subway systems."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Detroit TRU takes action

People want mass transit. Most politicians are still in the pocket of the carbon-auto industry. If you want change you have to mobilize. The Detroit TRU is organizing public rallies. Support them, or join/create your own local transit riders' union.

Public transit is clearly one of the most important issues facing greater Detroit. Yet far too few of our elected officials are making it a priority. That’s why TRU has been partnering with MOSES to hold a series of public transit rallies in each county to show our elected officials how much people care and to challenge them to take real leadership in making it happen. The next one will be this Thursday evening in Belleville.

Come to the Wayne County Public Transit Rally this Thursday, August 14 at 7pm at Trinity Church, 11575 Belleville Road, just south of I-94 in Belleville. We especially need Wayne County residents to attend, but everyone’s invited! (This location is unfortunately not bus accessible. Contact MOSES at 313-962-5290 to get a ride.) The event will include the latest information on public transit efforts throughout the Detroit area, a challenge to elected officials to make transit a priority, and a commitment from participants to support transit efforts. Don't miss it!
Remember, if the people lead, the leaders will follow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Environmentalists put money into transit

The north Texas environmental group Downwinders at Risk, through its relationship with a grant organization, is putting $75,000 into starting public transit in Arlington Texas, USA.

The Arlington City Council unanimously approved the new service Thursday. It was an easy decision, because it will cost the city nothing.
The city’s $75,000 share of the first year’s price tag is being paid by the Sue Pope Fund and the clean air advocacy group Downwinders at Risk. The T is providing the buses. Star Telegram

Monday, August 11, 2008

Now, pipeline wars

It isn't enough that we have to pay for oil wars. As oil runs out, the carbon-auto industry transitions to gas. Both products are transported by pipeline. Pipelines are easily sabotaged. That means tight political control of pipeline areas is needed. Human rights will not be an option.

While Georgia doesn't produce oil itself, it hosts a 155-mile link of the world's second largest oil pipeline — the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline — which carries oil from Azerbaijan on the shores of the Caspian Sea to Western markets. --MinnPost

Friday, August 8, 2008

Autosprawl was forced on U.S.

GM Bought and Dismantled Streetcar Lines Nationwide
GM began by funding a company called National City Lines (NCL), which by 1946 controlled streetcar operations in 80 American cities.

“Despite public opinion polls that showed 88 percent of the public favoring expansion of the rail lines after World War II, NCL systematically closed its streetcars down until, by 1955, only a few remained,” .... -- Larry West, About.com

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Free buses a success in Chapel Hill

Copyright 2008 WRAL.com

"Ridership has been going through the roof,” said Steve Spade, director of Chapel Hill Transit, which is a department of Chapel Hill town government. The number of riders has more than doubled since the system stopped charging fares in 2002. Ridership is up about 15 percent from last year alone; April saw the largest ridership increase, up 30 percent. WRAL.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

People want transit, politicians lag behind.

More evidence that people want to end the dominance of the auto....

A recent poll found that given a hypothetical $100 to invest in transportation, Americans said they would spend $62 on trains and rail, buses, bike paths, and sidewalks, and only $38 on roads. (Source: Harris Interactive poll [+/- 3 pts]). In other words, Americans want to spend 63% of transportation dollars on bicycling, walking and public transportation, nearly tripling the 22% now spent. Philadelphia Bicycle News

Puerto Rico governor proposes free transit

The governor of Puerto Rico proposes free public transit. Gets blacked out, except for attacks. This is why people like NYC Mayor Bloomberg go for the carbon-auto lobby's "congestion" bait instead of pursuing free transit, which they know to be the "obvious" correct path.

This morning, Anibal Acevedo Vila made public his idea to start providing public transportation for free during the months of August to December of this year.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Bangkok - free transit - restricted parking too?

Bangkok, Thailand - along with 73 free bus routes and free 3rd class passage on 164 daily trains, now discussing restricting parking space allowance on new development. Bangkok is showing the way...

Building regulations in Bangkok could be changed to reduce parking spaces in condominiums located near mass-transit lines in order to discourage driving and encourage more public transport use.
The proposal by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) aims to allow developers to offer more saleable or usable space in new buildings, where parking areas would be about half the current requirement. bangkokpost.com

Friday, August 1, 2008

Free public transport - Bangkok

(BangkokPost.com) - Deputy Transport Minister Songsak Thongsri said he is satisfied with the government's free bus service, which started Friday. ...

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) is offering free rides on 800 ordinary buses plying 73 routes.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Throwing Exxon under the bus

The U.S. carbon-auto industry fears, above all, public transportation. To them it is kryptonite, the one thing that can take away their powers. They have used their political power for many years to keep their profits flowing, while the taxpayer maintains the auto-sprawl system and cleans up the mess. Now the treasury is empty, the oil wars not going well, and a huge environmental debt is due. People are turning to mass transit... and other business interests are starting to think about throwing their carbon-auto rivals under the bus. Here is an example...

Redirect public funding from roads to mass transit
Posted: July 30, 2008
Our position: Public is ahead of elected leaders in changing their views on transportation.
Jolted by high gas prices, Hoosiers have done what would have been unthinkable a year ago: They're now among the nation's leaders in leaving their automobiles in the garage....
Clearly the public mind-set has shifted....
Yet, state and local political leaders don't seem to be on the same track....
Functional bus systems? Light rail? High-speed connectors to other cities and states? The state's top leaders have shown little interest. - indystar.com