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