Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Longshoremen tired of oil wars

Like most people, west coast longshoremen don't care for oil wars. But oil wars are just a symptom of the problem.

The source of the problem is the private auto. If you defeat that, you will stop oil wars.

Everyone should join (or start) their local bus/transit riders' union or advocacy group. Demand that the albatross of fare-collection be taken off of our public investment.

We need free public transit.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Public transit blackout in force.

Two major articles hit the pro-transit pro-environment blogs recently. Many words were written by high-profile commentators. Public transit not mentioned.

Freakonomics author actually mentions carbon-auto externalities... but decides insurance is more interesting than transit

Joseph Kennedy expounds on the energy crisis... but can't squeeze in public transit.

Folks - this is NO ACCIDENT - high profile opinion shapers ARE NOT ALLOWED to talk seriously about public transit. The carbon-auto lobby will use their influence in the media and make them non-persons. Count on it.

The only solution is to build a mass grassroots movement. Join your bus/transit riders' union.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Austin, TX - Free Transit Proposal

Bus Riders' Union proposes free public transit for Austin Texas:

(graphic from Austin Chronicle)

Using data from the Kheel Report, a 10% reduction in congestion could save $200 million in recovered productivity, healthcare and auto insurance, among many other areas. However, since New York City and its transit service area is roughly 12 times the size of Austin and its service area, we might realize even more savings. The Kheel Report estimates that it would save New York nearly $4 billion per year in recovered productivity based on a 25% reduction in congestion; a shrewd calculation puts Austin's expected savings at $333 million were we to achieve the same reduction in congestion.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Free and faster buses

The Bus Riders Union of Austin, Texas will release their report

A Proposal for Free Public Transit and Improved System Efficiency in Austin, Texas

that would make all forms of transit provided by the publicly-funded Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority free to all riders. It addresses issues of equity and air quality, provides viable rebate programs for Special Transit Services (STS) and UT Shuttle riders, proposes cuts to programs that become unnecessary under a fare-free system, and provides net overall monetary and public health gains. The report was written with input from various community organizations and individuals.
*Press Conference* A discussion of the positive effects of a fare-free transit system.
BusRiders Union of Austin, Texas, PODER, ADAPT of Texas, and representatives of organizations and concerned individuals.
Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10am
Capitol Bus Stop11th Street and Congress Ave.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dems can't touch transit third rail

Do not expect U.S. Democratic party presidential candidates to say much about public transportation. Public transportation investment directly challenges the power of the carbon-auto lobby. There is no good argument against public transportation, so the carbon-auto lobby has established a blackout, forbidding their media puppets from discussing it seriously. If any candidate tries to break this blackout, he/she will be attacked mercilessly.

What to do? We have build a movement of public transit advocacy that is strong, deep, and broad. Instead of knocking on our candidates door, we should be knocking on our neighbors' doors.

Join your local transit advocacy group today.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Better cars a waste of energy

Today there is a lot of talk about saving energy, greener this, greener that. What is missing is some honest economics. In economics quantitative change in one area is usually subsumed quickly by another. Simply reducing energy use is a fruitless exercise if the system that demands more energy is left in place. What the world needs is a re-evaluation of the autosprawl system, done by economists and scientists who are not on the payroll of interested parties.

What we should be doing is overturning the whole energy wasting system of autosprawl which could be accomplished by eliminating the carbon-auto subsidies, starting with taking the tariff off of our public investment in transit, i.e. making public transit free.

Here, from the Economist, is the simple, intuitive, economic argument that is missing from 98% of the talk about "going green."

Because fuel costs are a significant part of the total price of running a car, lowering them means cheaper motoring. And cheaper motoring, all other things being equal, means more motoring. The same applies to flying, home insulation or industrial processes: any reduction in energy use means a reduction in cost which, in turn, leads to an increase in demand, eating into the savings from more frugal engineering. In energy economics this is known as the “rebound effect.” It was first described in 1865 by William Stanley Jevons, an economist investigating steam engines.
Since then, says Steve Sorrel, an economist who produced a report about the rebound effect for Britain’s Energy Research Centre, there has been little research into just how big the rebound effect is. Estimates of the “direct” effect range from almost zero to over 100% (ie, greater efficiency encourages so much more consumption that net energy use actually goes up).
The precise size of the effect depends on both the good in question and the wealth of those consuming it. “The potential for a big rebound is higher when you’re looking at low-income groups,” says Mr Sorrel. “Lots of poor people can’t afford to make their homes as warm as they’d like. So they’ll take any efficiency improvement in the form of more heating, whereas the rich—who are already comfortable—will probably spend the savings on something else.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The best economic stimulus

Dollars invested in public transportation flow through all sectors of the economy and a cross section of American communities, large and small, urban and rural. Through increased jobs, income, profit and tax revenue, they provide an economic stimulus far exceeding the original investment—as much as six dollars for every dollar invested.*1 - American Public Transportation Associaton - APTA.

Monday, April 14, 2008

U.S. kills trains - U.K. builds

In the U.S.A., the carbon-auto puppets are busy killing rail travel:

...Senator McCain, throughout his career, has been very anti-rail, and in that respect “would be [even] worse than the present [Bush] administration,” whose Transportation Secretary Mary Peters (a big highway booster) has fought tooth and nail (as commission chairman) to block the pro-rail efforts of Weyrich and others allied with his 9-to-3 commission majority. - trains4america

While in the U.K. rail is showing some strength:

Britain is witnessing the dawn of a new era of rail travel as an unprecedented demand for environmentally friendly transport encourages people to take more train journeys than at any time since the Second World War. - The Independent

Friday, April 11, 2008

Eating Oil

From the Wilderness: In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American (as of data provided in 1994).7 Agricultural energy consumption is broken down as follows:

· 31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer
· 19% for the operation of field machinery
· 16% for transportation
· 13% for irrigation
· 08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)
· 05% for crop drying
· 05% for pesticide production
· 08% miscellaneous

Energy costs for packaging, refrigeration, transportation to retail outlets, and household cooking are not considered in these figures.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Little-noticed plan to gut transit

The carbon-auto industry in the U.S. - currently in control of the corporate media, the congress, and the white house, has been quietly implementing plans to subvert transportation progress. From the Washington Post:

Even if the next president reverses its policies, the Bush administration will leave a legacy of new toll roads across the country, a growing number of public roads leased to private companies, and dozens of stalled commuter rail, streetcar and subway projects....

read more: Highwaymen take over the Transporation Department from Grist

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Kheel Plan... read it.

...under the Kheel Plan, as we call it, when you get on a bus, you don't have to pay a fare. Not only is that nice for you, but it speeds up everybody's ride -- no more fumbling at the door for your fare card. This in turn makes the buses more attractive to people who might otherwise drive or take cabs, which makes for less traffic, which speeds bus travel and attracts still more riders. Where will the buses come from to handle the load? They're here now; the numbers tell us that buses will be able to make six runs in the time it now takes them to do five...

must reading for all transit advocates and environmentalists

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Take Action - Vancouver, BC

"The fact is we have to stop spending billions on projects that encourage people to drive. And we need to build communities with high enough population densities to support transit." stop gateway

photo from...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Transit saves!

APTA has done the research. "Environmentalists" are lagging behind. We are still letting the discussion be framed by "who will pay for free public transit?". Public transit is a public investment that more than pays for itself. Putting a hobbling user-fee on transit is like buying a horse and then tying its legs. Time is short to address global warming. The evidence is clear. The research is done. Take Action. Join with your local transit advocates. We need public transit to be free. Now.