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,...

[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.

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,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Free buses a success in Chapel Hill

Copyright 2008

"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.

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.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Free public transport - Bangkok

( - 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.