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.