Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Candidate for US Congress calls for fare-free #publictransit

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Qatar using air conditioning to cool outdoor areas

Cooling units along walkways and outdoor seating areas in Qatar's cities make it possible for people to stroll or relax in the evening without danger of overheating. Qatar is also engineering ways to cool entire open-air stadiums to make them bearable for spectators. 

How much can #freetransit save your city in gasoline costs

US consumption of gasoline [petrol] is 1.2 gallons per person per day average.

If your city has 1,000,000 people, the people are paying $3.6 million dollars per day for gasoline.

Most of that money goes out-of-town.

How much could your city save with fare-free public transit?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Which city in US will be first with fare-free #publictransit? Denver?

No major American city has opted for completely fare-free public transportation. But a growing number of transit advocates in Denver and elsewhere are embracing the idea as a way to reduce road congestion, improve air quality, tackle climate change and more. In Salt Lake City, where several mayoral and city council candidates endorsed free citywide bus service earlier this year, a poll found that voters favored the proposal by a three-to-one margin. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Daily TarHeel Op-Ed calling for #freepublictransit

It’s time for public transit in the Triangle to be fare-free. Climate change and traffic are two challenges that our rapidly growing Triangle region needs to tackle — now. And while each is complex with no simple solution, there is one action that our local governments can take that would help both: adopting fare-free public transit.

Dunkirk, France. #Freetransit is a huge success

The French city of Dunkirk has been offering free public transport to its citizens for a year, and results are spectacular. The number of passengers has grown by 65% during the week and 125% at the weekend, for an average of +85%. Mayor, citizens, and shop-owners all rejoice of the positive outcome. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

#freetransit is good for everyone

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Racist terror in NYC

Friday, November 1, 2019

We are being misled on how public transit is funded

The oil industry and sprawl profiteers would like us to think that fares are an indispensable part of funding public transit. For this reason, fares are reported as a percentage of operating costs. Capital costs, usually equal or greater than operating costs, are not included.

So if they are saying "fares provide 20% of the cost of public transit" it is more likely that the true number is 10%.

Another myth is that small system can afford removing fares while big systems cannot. Actually the opposite is true. For small systems, the fixed costs are a higher percentage of totals costs. So the per rider cost is higher. By removing fares, small systems hope to increase usage and thereby lower the cost-per-rider. This would work even better for large systems because the marginal cost of adding a rider is smaller.

The biggest lie of all is the framing of public transit funding. It is treated as an accounting of one department of government. The costs of the other departments are not considered. What if removing fares in the transit department lowered the costs of the the parking department for example. This type of thing is kept out of the framing.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Study shows #freetransit good for health of seniors

(Reuters Health) - Eliminating cost as a barrier to getting around town may improve the mental health of older adults by reducing loneliness and lack of social engagement, suggests a UK study that followed over 18,000 people for more than a decade. 
Researchers found that increased eligibility for a free bus pass led to an 8 percent increase in the use of public transportation among older people, and a 12 percent decline in depression symptoms among those who started taking the bus when they became eligible for the program. 
Among the depression symptoms that people who took up bus travel reported as reduced were “not enjoying life,” trouble sleeping, feeling unhappy, lonely, sad, not motivated or that everything was an effort, the study team notes in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 

City in Hungary chooses #freepublictransit

Hódmezővásárhely will soon become the first Hungarian city with county rights to make public transport completely free of charge, one of the promises of the town’s reelected mayor, Péter Márki-Zay. 
....He told economic investigative site G7 that the decision has social reasons, citing the example of a local who rides three kilometers on a bike each Sunday for mass because the ticket price is unaffordable for him. Meanwhile, local buses -with the exception of weekday mornings and after school and work- are generally empty. “On the weekends, literally only one or two people can be found sitting on the buses,” he argued. 
Márki-Zay also revealed that the total cost of the system’s operation amounts to 110 million HUF (Eur 349,000) per year. However, less than 10% of this actually comes from ticket sales. Half of the rest has thus far been financed out of state subsidies and the other half by the town’s budget. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Having more riders makes public transit better

Prompted by concerns over congestion and pollution, the European countries of Estonia and Luxembourg already offer it, and Germany is considering it. Removing fares clearly makes transit more desirable; when Talinn, Estonia’s capital, adopted free public transportation in 2013, ridership immediately spiked 10 percent. Such ridership gains would certainly be welcome in the United States, where 31 of the 35 largest transit agencies saw passenger counts dip in 2017. Unlike most goods, transit gets better with heavier usage because more frequent bus and train service will reduce wait times. 

There aren't any good arguments against fare-free #publictransit, so,.. out come the trolls

The oil industry, gas industry, and lesser sprawl profiteers don't have any good arguments against making urban buses and trams fare-free. We list the arguments they have tried to use here. With this list we include links to refutations.

Lately they have unleashed the "city planners" and "urbanists" who write complicated analyses that purport to show that free transit does not work. Mostly they provide assertions without evidence. While we can shows dozens of examples of free transit that works just fine.

The most common attack is that free transit is too expensive. But we showed that it actually saves money.

Now they send out the trolls -- disguised as bicycle advocates or urban experts. Here is one:

We expect many more.

Monday, October 28, 2019

List of officials and candidates who support fare-free #publictransit

Many candidates and public officials around the world are calling for fare-free urban public transportation. We are trying to keep up with the growing list. Please tweet us any additions or corrections.
To candidates and officials, see this blog for links to helpful documentation about the benefits of fare-free and the subsidy of the auto system.

What is #autosprawl meltdown? It's when bill comes due for a bad investment in sprawl.

What we have found is that the underlying financing mechanisms of the suburban era — our post-World War II pattern of development — operates like a classic Ponzi scheme, with ever-increasing rates of growth necessary to sustain long-term liabilities.
Since the end of World War II, our cities and towns have experienced growth using three primary mechanisms:
  • Transfer payments between governments: where the federal or state government makes a direct investment in growth at the local level, such as funding a water or sewer system expansion.
  • Transportation spending: where transportation infrastructure is used to improve access to a site that can then be developed.
  • Public and private-sector debt: where cities, developers, companies, and individuals take on debt as part of the development process, whether during construction or through the assumption of a mortgage.
In each of these mechanisms, the local unit of government benefits from the enhanced revenues associated with new growth. But it also typically assumes the long-term liability for maintaining the new infrastructure. This exchange — a near-term cash advantage for a long-term financial obligation — is one element of a Ponzi scheme. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

What is so difficult about #freetransit

There are people calling for revolution on climate who will not endorse fare-free public transit.

There are people who take free roads for granted who shout "tin foil hat!" when free transit is suggested.

What is the problem?

Fare-free public transit strikes at the heart of capitalism. Today's capitalism is based on corruption and subsidy. The car system is subsidized to the point that people assume that car costs are necessary costs and not subsidy. Even bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are car subsidy, but people fight for them thinking they are making a change.

When buses are fare-free, many more ride, this is proven. Then the critical mass of the car will be broken, and the subsidy will be exposed.

Many people will lose profits. So basically one of the main fronts of profits vs biosphere is the car.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Talk is cheap - let's see who is serious about addressing #climate

Wars for oil have brought hell to the world

The world powers have been fighting over oil for many years. Meanwhile the banks re-hypothecate credit way beyond what oil can deliver.

As debt defaults loom, the wars will get worse and more countries will turn their "defense" arsenals against their own people.

We need to speed up the demand for fare-free public transit. It's an effective weapon to degrow the economy by reducing sprawl and births.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A mass movement for #freetransit, can happen, is happening.

The #passelivre #tarifazero movement in Brazil has been fighting for many years for fare-free public transportation. They have brought tens of thousands into the streets, and sparked a mass uprising that spread to all the major cities.

You can read about it here. Posts in English and Portuguese with links to organizations.

US Car-loan debt at $1.2 Trillion, more payments being missed

"Some of the loans that are being given out are given out to people who probably can't afford to take out that loan," Rusch said. "[They] will not be able to repay that loan over time."
The U.S. Federal Reserve Board says the number of families missing car payments is rising, and "...there are now more subprime auto loan borrowers than ever, and thus a larger group of borrowers at high risk of delinquency."

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Trimet pushes racist campaign, gets hammered by huge ratio

This is new. Even Greenpeace is calling for #freetransit

Up till now Greenpeace has mostly focused on useless supply-side actions against fossil fuel. Or useless demand-side policy such as electric cars. This is a big change.

We are part of an international campaign

This blog is one of a 40-blog network with 2,000 readers per day average and the network is part of a larger international campaign. Here is the international website.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Racist terror in NYC

More than 60 percent of people arrested for fare evasion in the second quarter of the year were black or African-American, according to the most recent fare evasion data published by the NYPD. Another 25 percent were listed as “Hispanic.” 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

People on Tumbler talking about fare-free #publictransit

If it is paid for by the public, then the public should not be forced to pay for it twice.
Free public transportation opens up the world to the poor. It absolutely stimulates the economy in that poor people then have the ability to travel without worrying about whether or not they can afford it, however we should not base our policies in the richest nation on earth on whether or not it stimulates the economy.
The United States of America has more than enough money to provide free and safe public transportation to all who seek to use it, they do not provide it because they’re in cahoots with oil and auto industries.
Forcing people to pay for what already belongs to the public is a form of government welfare given to the rich capitalists at the public’s expense.
You are paying for billionaires to continue hoarding billions when you pay for, and support paying for, public transportation.
Furthermore public transportation is incomplete if we don’t strive to make it accessible to all, this includes the disabled, the elderly, children, etc.
French city of Dunkirk tests out free transport – and it works

Piñera suspends the rise in the price of the subway and the Army decrees curfew for Santiago

The president of Chile recalls after an unprecedented wave of violence in the capital and the rest of the country. The Army has decreed curfew for the Chilean capital...
...The military that took control of Santiago de Chile this morning has failed to stop the violent protests in different areas of the city, which over time have spread to different regions of the country. Twenty-one hours after decreeing the state of emergency for the capital, which restricts citizens the freedom of transfer and assembly for 15 days...
Look. See how important this is to the elites? They need us to buy and burn oil. They can't stand it when we use public transportation. This is because banks are leveraged out too far on oil. They want to raise fares -- -NOT TO GET MONEY --- but to reduce ridership and get more people driving.

Link to story:

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Oil and debt

Why has Chile declared a state of emergency to enforce a fare hike?

In 2005, conventional [easy-to-get] oil peaked. Every day the world's massive oil-dependent, fixed-asset, infrastructure depends more on difficult oil, expensive oil.

This infrastructure: highways, refineries, pipelines, suburbs, shipping, etc., is resting on huge amounts of debt that was created with the idea that oil would always be cheap.

Now the end of cheap oil has created a cul-de-sac. Oil price is too low for producers, but too high for consumers. But the oil-dependent infrastructure, if not fed, will bleed money.

They need people to use cars more and public transport less. So they raise fares.

They are literally beating up school girls to save the banking system.

Elections in Canada and New Zealand raising interest in fare-free #publictransit/#publictransport

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

48% percent of new [free] bus users say they use the car less

The free bus service started in September of 2018. Since then, there has been an increase in ridership, rising 57% during the week and 115% on weekends. In 2019, the figures that were available to Ubris were a 65% increase on weekdays and 125% on weekends from January through May. 
From February through May, which coincided with Carnival, the figures rose even higher: a 72% increase during the week and 144% on the weekends. 48% of new bus users have indicated they use their cars less. In other words, they chose the free bus over driving their cars. Project Manager, Claire-Marine Javary of VIGS, also pointed out that, “When compared to the total number of users surveyed, 24% make bus journeys they used to make by car.” 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

"free public transportation" buzzing on Twitter

Monday, October 7, 2019

Does free public transportation lead to less walking? [No].

Some "planners" are saying that fare-free public transit will lead to less walking and cycling. Here is a study from VTPI that show that public transit increases physical activity. Some excerpts:
Since active transport (walking and cycling) and public transit are complements, transit travel tends to increase public fitness and health.
The 2004 American Community Survey found that consumers place a high value on urban amenities such as shorter commute time and neighborhood walkability: 60% of prospective homebuyers surveyed reported that they prefer a neighborhood that offered a shorter commute, sidewalks and amenities like local shops, restaurants, libraries, schools and public transport over a more automobile-dependent community
Described differently, high quality transit requires an integrated system that includes attractive stops and stations surrounded by compact and mixed development, good walking and bicycling conditions, reduced parking supply, and more social acceptance of non-auto travel;
Residents of transit-oriented developments tend to own about half as many vehicles, generate half as many vehicle trips, and rely on walking, cycling and public transit much more than in automobile-dependent communities (Arrington and Sloop 2009).
Similarly, Wedderburn (2013) found that in New Zealand urban areas, each additional daily transit trip by driving age (18+ years) residents is associated with 0.95 more walking trips and 1.21 kilometers (in addition to the walking trips to access transit), and reductions of two daily car driver trips and 45 vehicle-kms, approximately 5 kilometers of reduced vehicle travel for each additional transit passenger-km.
Inadequate physical activity contributes to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis and some cancers. Many experts consider increased walking and cycling for daily transport one of the most practical ways to increase public fitness and health (AJHP 2003). Most transit trips include walking or cycling links, so transit travel tends to increase physical activity (Devries, et al. 2018; Edwards 2008; Frank, et al. 2010; Litman 2010b). Public transit users average about three times as much walking as people who rely on automobile transport, nearly achieving the 22 daily minutes of moderate physical activity considered necessary for health (Besser and Dannenberg 2005; Weinstein and Schimek 2005; Wener and Evans 2007). Lachapelle, et al. (2011) found that transit commuters average 5 to 10 more daily minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, and walked more to local services

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Cars do more than burn petrol, much more.

A lot of "thinkers" are down-playing the fare-free public transit campaign because they look at cars solely for what they directly add to emissions.

The car is much more than that. It is the cigarette that delivers the cancer of sprawl and growth.

The US led, and the developed world followed, into a commitment to many $Trillions in hard-asset car-dependent infrastructure. People spread and grew, taking over farmland and forests.

By hard-assets, we mean built of steel and cement. This is the autosprawl nightmare.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Car tires filling the oceans with plastic

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENTThe biggest likely source of microplastics in California coastal waters? Our car tires

A new study finds that tire dust and fragments appear to be the largest source of microplastics polluting San Francisco Bay, and it is likely that the same is true for other coastal waters in California.
(David Madison / Getty Images)By ROSANNA XIASTAFF WRITER OCT. 2, 2019 8:15 AMBERKELEY —
Driving is not just an air pollution and climate change problem — turns out, it just might be the largest contributor of microplastics in California coastal waters.
That is one of many new findings, released Wednesday, from the most comprehensive study to date on microplastics in California. Rainfall washes more than 7 trillion pieces of microplastics, much of it tire particles left behind on streets, into San Francisco Bay each year — an amount 300 times greater than what comes from microfibers washing off polyester clothes, microbeads from beauty products and the many other plastics washing down our sinks and sewers.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Free is cheaper

Some of the arguments against fare-free public transportation:
  • Homeless will take over
  • Buses will be too crowded
  • Pedestrians will ride instead of walk
  • Bikers will ride instead of bike
We address most of these here.

But the biggest lie is that fare-free costs too much.

In the US, it would cost about $100 per household per year. Nationwide it would cost about $30 billion. That is not a lot of money compared to what is spent on subsidizing autos, fossil fuel, and sprawl, all of which could be reduced if vehicle miles are reduced.

When your city makes the buses fare-free, here are some the the areas you will save money.
  • police costs
  • pedestrian infrastructure
  • collisions
  • health
  • congestion
  • parking
  • noise
  • road rage
  • bureaucracy
  • fare collection and security
  • many more....
A family [in the US] would save about $100 per week if they could reduce their household by one car. They can also save on petrol and healthcare costs. They will get more exercise by walking to bus stops.

The benefits far outweigh the amount of the lost fares.

for more:

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Must-read for all scientists. Are you accepting anti-scientific theory from macro economists?

Do you mistrust the predictions of mainstream macroeconomic growth models and reject the policy prescriptions of their practitioners? Many do. 
Is this fair? And what would we do instead? 
How about using physics ? Certainly as a field it has a pretty good track-record for describing nature, at least as an alternative to religion and magic. The big thing in physics as a field or any other science is that it demands falsifiable hypotheses rather than the opinion or Ivy league pedigree of its practitioners. Results should enable useful predictions, those that offer the potential for robust long-range forecasts subject to physical constraints.
Read the post here:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Trolls are trying to create division and confusion over individual actions vs policy actions

Trolls have a new trick.

They call on people to stop eating meat, stop driving cars, etc.

If you are calling on people to do something, then that now becomes policy action. The question then becomes not what type it is, but rather whether it is effective or not.

But the trolls insist on pushing it as "individual action," they are trying to spread division and confusion.

When you engage in the public square, you are engaging in policy action.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Dunkirk, France, ridership up 60% with fare-free public transportation

An academic study on the experience shows that bus use has skyrocketed more than 60% on weekdays and more than doubled on weekends, with 48% of users saying they now leave their cars at home. Furthermore, 5% of those surveyed said they have sold their car or decided not to purchase a second vehicle. A third said that the availability of free buses means they now make trips they wouldn’t have otherwise. This increased demand is not due solely to the availability of free and convenient transportation, but also to the fact that it is frictionless: people don’t have to worry about travel cards, cash or identification. 

More on planners and fare-free first

City planners have to keep their careers in the face of overwhelming power of the oil industry. They cannot, and will not, advocate for fare-free public transit.

They will say that even if it is to be fare-free, it must be upgraded first.


Because while there is a large majority in favor of better public transit, when it gets to actually improving, it is easy to get bogged down in divisive detail. Which bus line should get more buses first? Where should we put rail?

To avoid this, build a mass movement for fare-free public transportation. After it is free, it will become obvious where to spend money for better service.


Fare-free first

Should we wait for expansion of service before making public transportation fare-free?


Here is why.

No company would build an additional production facility without having customer orders for their product.

If a city invests in more buses without sufficient rider demand, cost-per-rider will rise sharply. The city will then be vulnerable to political attack for wasting tax money.

Urban buses should be fare-free first. Rail should be taken case by case.

When the buses are crowded, it will be obvious what the people want and there will be more people demanding better service... more political constituency for public transportation in general.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Vaclav Smil: economic growth will end one way or another

... Without a biosphere in a good shape, there is no life on the planet. It’s very simple. That’s all you need to know. The economists will tell you we can decouple growth from material consumption, but that is total nonsense. The options are quite clear from the historical evidence. If you don’t manage decline, then you succumb to it and you are gone. The best hope is that you find some way to manage it. We are in a better position to do that now than we were 50 or 100 years ago, because our knowledge is much vaster. If we sit down, we can come up with something. It won’t be painless, but we can come up with ways to minimize that pain. 

Friday, September 20, 2019

People of Egypt rise up against Trump's "favorite dictator"

Why auto collisions are called accidents

On social media there are constant complaints about drivers killing and injuring people and not being held accountable. Why is this so?

Over 40 years ago in the US, employers complained that DUI convictions were hurting their work force dependability.

They came up with a "hardship license." This allows a drivers who lose their license to get to work.

People are not held accountable for reckless vehicle use because it would decimate the work force.

The problem is not people. The problem is the auto system. It doesn't work. It never has.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fare-free #publictransit idea getting attention from candidates for office

An example of a candidate for office calling for fare-free public transport/transit.
Our list of politicians calling for free transit is growing every day, keep up here:

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What does attack on ARAMCO mean?

The energy situation in the world shifted in 2005 when conventional oil [easy-to-drill] production peaked. Now prices are too low for producers and too high for consumers. This problem gets worse every day as remaining conventional reserves are drawn down at a rapid rate.

Large amounts of debt have been created to pay the difference between what the consumer can afford and what the producers need. This debt is a bet on future growth.

But there is no more growth. There is no more cheap energy.

Wars over oil/gas will get worse. More production and pipeline facilities will be attacked as they are spread out and very difficult to protect.

This will just make the markets more difficult and produce more war. It's a feedback loop.

Youth want #freepublictransit not cap and trade

Monday, September 16, 2019

End of cheap energy means no more profits

Price of energy too low for producers, too high for consumers. The gap has been filled by debt. But debt is a bet on future profits, but there is no more cheap energy, so there won't be any future profits.
Our problem is not just that oil prices that are too low. Prices are too low for practically every type of energy producer, and in many parts of the globe.
The world economy seems to be running out of truly productive uses for debt. There are investments available, but the rate of return is very low. The lack of investments with adequate return is a significant part of what is preventing the economy from being able to support higher interest rates.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fare-free #publictransit works

The city of Dunkirk in northern France launched a revamped bus system last year with a twist – it’s completely free. A new study shows that the programme is not only revitalising the city center but also helping the environment. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Fix and expand or remove fares right away, which path?

There are public transit advocates and city planners who say that public transit must first be fixed and expanded before it can be made fare-free.


People have fought for 100 years for better public transit.

It has only gotten worse relative to need, and in some places absolutely worse.

The idea of fare-free is to force the issue. It will show that people want public transit, because ridership will go up. Then we will have the constituency to fix and expand.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Student #publictransit riders face intimidation in Seattle

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ridership soars with fare-free #publictransit

Since the introduction of free public transport in Tartu County last July, the number of bus passengers on county routes has seen significant growth, regional Tartu Postimees reports.

A total of 131,269 passengers used the free regional bus service in July 2018, up 35.2 percent on year from 97,083 in July 2017, Tartu County Public Transport Centre management board member Tõnis Piir said. This July, the number of passengers using the county's free transport totaled 153,049, indicating a further 16.6 percent growth on year in ridership. 

CEO of Kansas City Area Transportation Authority wants it to be fare-free

Robbie Makinen, CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, has more important matters to discuss than his inability to see. Ask about his vision loss, and he'll redirect the conversation. 
Yes, he said, he woke up completely blind one morning in 2013, but, "let’s talk about free transit." 

Salt Lake City close to implementing #freepublictransit

Salt Lake City may soon become the first major American city with free public transit, as voters and mayoral candidates get behind the idea 0f eliminating fares as a way of attacking rampant air pollution. 

Kansas City considering #freepublictransit
Could Kansas City Become the First Major US City with Totally Free Public Transit?

Friday, August 23, 2019

Falling net energy, capitalism, and harsh degrowth

Economists have not understood the connection between physics and the economy. There is a need for a sufficient quantity of affordable energy products every moment of every day. In fact, we seem to need a vastly increased quantity of inexpensive-to-produce energy supplies right now if we are to fix the world economy’s problems from an energy point of view. The “lower interest rates and more debt” way of hiding problems seems to be reaching an end point. If nothing else, interest rates today are close to as low as they can go.

Since 2005, when conventional oil peaked, we have been in a situation where energy prices are too low for producers and too high for consumers. A normal biological reaction to less energy input is to reduce growth. But because of capitalism, the human species tries to violate this principle and continue growing. This can only be temporary until the laws of physics enforce harsh degrowth.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

City planners and urbanists must oppose #freepublictransit or lose their jobs

According to Vincent Kauffmann, a professor at University of Lausanne and one of key figures in sustainable mobility, “free public transport does not make any sense.” Getting rid of tickets in mass transit is judged “irrational,” “uneconomical” and “unsustainable.” 
However, if we turn to commentators from outside the field of transport, the perspective on fare abolition changes radically. Social scientists, activists, journalists and public officials—often speaking from cities where fare abolition has actually been put to the test—fervently defend the measure. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Salt Lake residents favor #freepublictransit by 3 to 1

 US city the same size as Dublin on the verge of making public transport free
A US city roughly the same size as Dublin is on the verge of eliminating fares for public transport.
Jim Dabakis, a candidate for the mayoralty of Salt Lake City, is currently leading the polls - thanks in no small part to his promise to do away with fees for public transport. A recent poll by the Salt Lake City tribune found that residents of the city favour the idea by a ratio of three to one.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Fare-free public transit. Why is that so hard?

Every day your town exports money for gasoline. Every day you pay taxes to support cars and sprawl.

People are calling for revolution to address climate change.

But the simple obvious step of fare-free buses still struggles for attention.

Some people understand, for others, their salary depends on them not understanding.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Shale-oil investors lose 80% over a decade via @kurtcobb

We skeptics said that investors would at some point realize that shale oil was a long-term money loser. A former industry CEO did the math and calculated the damage as minus 80 percent for investors in the industry as a whole since 2008. Lately, investors seem to be reacting to facts rather than the hype. 
Will shale oil rise again from the dead as it did after the 2014-2016 price decline? That will happen only if two things occur: 1) The oil price rises significantly and 2) investors have a serious bout of amnesia. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Non-profits to pay 21% tax for providing transit passes to employees

Tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations across the country may be shocked this year to discover that, possibly for the first time, they must pay taxes simply for providing employees with access to transit and parking.

Specifically targeted within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in early 2018, these employee benefit programs are now subject to a 21-percent tax costing the average charity $12,000 in 2018, according to a recent survey conducted by Independent Sector. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

#freepublictransport in Turkey for 4 day holiday

Travelers on highways and bridges managed by the General Directorate of Highways will be exempt from paying tolls and municipality-run public transportation will be free during the upcoming Qurban Bayram holiday (also known as Eid al-Adha) in Turkey, according to a decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Is #freetransit a threat to capitalism?

When they get in office, city mayors soon understand the benefits of fare-free urban buses and trams.

Most cities spend quite a lot on things like parking, collisions, police, health, congestion, and pedestrian infrastructure. A reduction in vehicle-miles traveled would bring immediate relief and reduce costs more than the amount of lost revenue.

Mayors from many cities have suggested making urban public transit fare-free:

  • San Francisco
  • New York
  • Paris
  • Houston
  • Dayton
  • Durham

We try to document them here.

Then they get that phone call. Suddenly they go quiet.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Fare-free urban #publictransport in Europe

There are many towns and cities in Europe that have fare-free #publictransport. The idea is becoming more popular... read more here

Sunday, July 21, 2019

I need my car

What is the first thing that comes to mind when one reads 'free public transport?'

The capitalist system forces one to be self-centered.

Being outgoing and generous can quickly plunge one into poverty and dependency.

If you depend on your car, don't give it up. But there are millions who would take the bus if it were frequent and free. Let them.

Humans lived for tens of thousands of years without capitalism or cars.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Rapid temperature rise threatens all life on earth

A catastrophe of unimaginable proportions is unfolding. Life is disappearing from Earth and runaway heating could destroy all life. At 5°C heating, most life on Earth will have disappeared. When looking only at near-term human extinction, 3°C will likely suffice. Study after study is showing the size of the threat, yet many people seem out to hide what we're facing. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Why isn't public transit free?

We have been conditioned to think of public transit as a project that needs fares for revenue, but always runs in the red and has to be subsidized.
  • Public transit is not a company, it is a public investment
  • Since it is not for profit, it can't be called subsidized
  • It does not run in the red, it provides benefits that are not counted
  • Fares are not for revenue, but for rationing
If fares are removed, ridership will go up. More buses will be needed. They will then be more frequent. That will lead to more ridership. That will increase the need for buses. The needs of cars will have to compete with buses for funding. The critical mass of the system of transport will shift.

Can you see the danger this poses to those who profit from oil, autos, and sprawl?

This then, is the reason that public transit is not fare-free.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Can we afford to keep charging fares?

Most of the costs of public transit are paid by taxes. Percent of revenue applied to costs is usually stated something like this:
  • 40% stated percent of revenue from fares
but the actual numbers are more like this:
  • 20% actual percent when capital costs are included
  • 10% percent remaining after fare-collection costs are considered
  • 00% percent remaining after fare-enforcement/fare-security
So fares are not needed for revenue. Then, can they be justified for rationing?
Fares, or user-fees, ration use to prevent misuse. But public transit is a part of your city that makes things better when used more, whereas cars are a consumer product that make your city worse when used more.

So, we cannot afford to ration public transit.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Rivals, not enemies. [the enemy is us, the common people]

Monday, June 24, 2019

Plenty of excitement about Auckland, NZ fare-free day

Discounted or fare-free public transport moves have gained momentum in Auckland this year to try to accelerate patronage, which is already rising at nearly 8 per cent.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Fare-free system's ridership, 12 consecutive months of double digit growth

Ridership on Breckenridge’s free public transportation system exploded in May with a 39.5% increase compared to May 2018, based on figures included in a memo produced by town staff.
Overall, that equates to almost 48,000 rides for the month compared with just over 34,000 in May 2018. It puts the town’s transportation system at more than 600,000 rides year-to-date, a 17.7% increase compared with the same time frame last year.
According to town staff, this marks the 12th consecutive month of double-digit growth for the Free Ride system. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Everybody would benefit, so everybody should pay

Public transport is a common good that should be paid for by all. Everybody will share the benefits of a big switch to quality public transport and an end to traffic congestion - so everyone should share the costs, instead of expecting the users of public transport to shoulder the burden and effectively subsidise car travel on ‘free’ roads. 
There is good reason for public transport to be partially paid for by subsidies from the public purse – why not cover the full cost collectively, as we do for other important public services such as libraries and police and civil infrastructure? 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Public transport means better health

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia suggests taking public transit may help you keep fit. 

“People who use public transport are five times more physically active.”

Public Transport and Physical Activity

Using public transport increases physical activity and helps reduce the chance of obesity and other health problems related to sedentary lifestyles.

The Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity (VISTA) of 43,800 Melbournians found that people who used public transport on a given day also spent an average of 41 minutes walking or cycling as part of their travel.[1] 

More public transit means more walking

Walking to and from public transportation can help physically inactive populations, especially low-income and minority groups, attain the recommended level of daily physical activity. Increased access to public transit may help promote and maintain active lifestyles. Results from this study may contribute to health impact assessment studies (HIA) that evaluate the impact of proposed public transit systems on physical activity levels, and thereby may influence choices made by transportation planners. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Reasons given against fare-free #publictransit

1. Too Expensive
We can show how removing fares reduces car costs, so it actually saves money.

2. "Undesirables" will be more mobile.
Yes, racism is one of the biggest reasons for opposing. Freetransit fights racism.

3. People who usually walk or cycle will take bus instead.
There is plenty of evidence that places with more public transit have more walking.

4. Public transit should win riders through better service, or service should be improved first.
Polls show people want buses (even Trump voters 60%) but we still don't have them. Stronger measures are called for. When buses are free the political support for better service will be stronger.

5. Homeless will ride.
So, the solution to homelessness is user fees, then. OK put user fees everywhere and problem solved.

6. Buses will be too crowded.
Oh dear! Crowded with what? With people who want public transit! So get more buses. 


Find more info here and with links to documentation.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Corporate media desperately attacking as idea of #freetransit spreads.

Making urban buses and trams fare-free has been called "obvious" by NYC Mayor Bloomberg, and "a no-brainer" by major pundits. It's intuitive.

Who is against it?

Surprise: the oil, auto, and sprawl profiteers.

Below is a link to a desperate attack on free transit. In response, we offer a network of over 30 blogs with statistics and direct evidence that cars and sprawl are heavily subsidized. These subsidies are supported because since there are no alternatives to cars, they are seen as necessary expenses.

When enough towns have fare-free buses and trams, the car subsidy will be seen for what it is: government money going to support for-profit, car, sprawl, and oil businesses. Stop and think, how much money does your town export every day for petrol?

Of course the biggest victim of cars, oil, and sprawl is the biosphere. To support this car system we are fouling our own nest.

Fare-free buses are the way to break the monopoly of cars and expose the subsidies.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Canada political party calls for free public transportation

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Free parking. One of the largest car subsidies. #autosprawlsubsidy

When we find an open spot on the street, and there's no meter, it seems free — but it too is the result of government spending. The cost of the land, pavement, street cleaning, and other services related to free parking spots come directly out of tax dollars (usually municipal or state funding sources). Each on-street parking space is estimated to cost around $1,750 to build and $400 to maintain annually. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The bankers installed Trump to "take the oil"

When they tell you we can't afford #freetransit, this is where the money went

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Economists are not your friends

Nordhaus agrees that man-made Climate Change is happening—he is not a "Climate Change Denialist". However, his research actually encourages policymakers not to take the action that Extinction Rebellion demands, or anything like it. He instead recommends managing Global Warming so that the Earth's temperature will stabilize at 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels in the mid-22nd century 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Essay from 1973, the car system gets worse as it grows. Prophetic.

The worst thing about cars is that they are like castles or villas by the sea: luxury goods invented for the exclusive pleasure of a very rich minority, and which in conception and nature were never intended for the people. Unlike the vacuum cleaner, the radio, or the bicycle, which retain their use value when everyone has one, the car, like a villa by the sea, is only desirable and useful insofar as the masses don’t have one. That is how in both conception and original purpose the car is a luxury good. And the essence of luxury is that it cannot be democratized. If everyone can have luxury, no one gets any advantages from it. On the contrary, everyone diddles, cheats, and frustrates everyone else, and is diddled, cheated, and frustrated in return.
This is pretty much common knowledge in the case of the seaside villas. No politico has yet dared to claim that to democratize the right to vacation would mean a villa with private beach for every family. Everyone understands that if each of 13 or 14 million families were to use only 10 meters of the coast, it would take 140,000km of beach in order for all of them to have their share! To give everyone his or her share would be to cut up the beaches in such little strips—or to squeeze the villas so tightly together—that their use value would be nil and their advantage over a hotel complex would disappear. In short, democratization of access to the beaches point to only one solution—the collectivist one. And this solution is necessarily at war with the luxury of the private beach, which is a privilege that a small minority takes as their right at the expense of all. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

What does #autosprawl #meltdown look like?

Friday, April 19, 2019

City planners must oppose fare-free urban transit

People looking for solutions to climate and energy can be easily attracted to radical-sounding proposals or comments from city planners.

The actual path back from the brink of biosphere meltdown is public transit, and the fastest way to go is by making it fare-free.

But public transit is a threat to growth and profits. These profits are not real though, they are backed by massive subsidy, not the least of which is the sacrifice of the biosphere.

Anyone in the business of city planning will lose their job if they do not actively oppose fare-free public transit.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Which should come first, #freetransit or better service

Some are arguing that fares cannot be removed because bus service will be overburdened, so we must achieve better service first and attract riders that way.

This is a recipe for failure for several reasons:
  • Autosprawl generates profits. Sprawl means that each home has its own set of tools, toys, and appliances. These profits are threatened by public transit.
  • The auto and sprawl system (#autosprawl) has critical mass. Car costs are seen as necessary and buses are seen as an extra expense.
  • The forces behind autos and sprawl are very strong. They even get governments to invade countries to secure sources of oil. 
In every community there is a marginal amount of people for whom the bus is a close option. Fare-free buses would immediately attract them. This would start a process where more riders mean that buses have more political backers. Only then can service improve.

Here is a list of locations that have fare-free public transit. In most cases ridership increased, sometimes dramatically, and in many cases service was subsequently expanded.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Capitalism planning to throw old people on the street

Rich countries like the US and Japan are struggling to make enough babies. As sizeable populations of older adults retire and age out of the workforce, younger people are having fewer kids. It's setting up a ticking demographic time bomb, readying to explode when there aren't enough young people to care and pay for what the older generation needs.

Falling birth rates are a real problem for capitalism, a system that relies on growth to keep up it's false promises of a comfortable life. Now cheap oil is gone, and growth is over. Young people cannot afford children. So who will take the fall?

Today's retirees spent their working lives making capitalists rich. Now, suddenly, there is no money to take care of them. Where did it go?

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Autosprawl is melting down

For a few decades the US took advantage of cheap oil and built massive suburbs. A lot of developers got rich.

Now the system needs repair. Roads, bridges, water lines, sewers, electric grid, schools, drainage, and such need maintenance or rebuilding. The profiteers are gone, there is no money to be made now. The urban tax base is no longer enough to support the suburbs.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"ageing population," code for falling birth rates, a huge threat to banking

Glenn Rudebusch, the San Francisco Fed’s executive vice president for research, ranks climate change as one of the three “key forces transforming the economy,” along with an aging population and rapid advances in technology. Climate change could soon hit the banking system “by storms, droughts, wildfires, and other extreme events” making it harder for businesses to repay loans.

Bankers fear falling birth rates. Ironically, they will blame defaults on climate disruption, while the best way to fight climate disruption is to speed the decline of births -- a bigger cause of default.

Human population is still rising, but the people are in all the wrong places. The more developed an area, the faster the birth rate falls. Immigration from more populous areas can help but it is difficult to implement quickly enough.

Everyone should be preparing for the high unemployment that will come with debt defaults. Cut waste, get rid of cars, plant food, don't have babies.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Govt supposedly represents the people, and the people want fare-free #publictransit

UTA and partners offered free-fare days Feb. 28 and March 1, a Thursday and Friday. Interim Executive Director Steve Meyer told the UTA board Wednesday that free rides attracted an extra 20,000 passengers the first day and 29,000 on the second. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Free public transport is key to #degrowth

...We need free public transport, new diets, denser modes of living, affordable housing close to where the jobs are, food grown closer to where it is consumed, reduction of working time and commuting, low-energy ways of living and finding satisfaction, curbs on excessive incomes and on ostentatious consumption....

Saturday, March 9, 2019

[The car] "it spoils everything it touches"

What's wrong with cars? This writer has a long list:
Let’s abandon this disastrous experiment, recognise that this 19th-century technology is now doing more harm than good, and plan our way out of it. Let’s set a target to cut the use of cars by 90% over the next decade. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

How EROI for oil is wrongly calculated and the failure of #renewables

Trying to assess the relative worth of Iraqi versus US shale oil is complicated, however, by our failure to account for the full cost – in energy and cash – of recovery. Most calculations of Energy Return on Investment (EROI) are made at the well head, whereas what we need to know is the cost at the point of use. While a lot less energy goes into getting a barrel of Iraqi oil out of the ground compared to US fracking, this misses the point. The full EROI cost must also include the ongoing military occupation of the country that was required to allow US oil companies to get their hands on it to begin with. It is with this in mind that we should view America’s latest attempt to foist “freedom and democracy” on yet another unwilling populace; in this instance, Venezuela. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

Young Green-New-Deal supporter says it must include fare-free #publictransit

To start, in order to facilitate a transition away from fossil fuels, the Green New Deal must include a provision moving toward fare-free public transit.
While it sounds radical and downright unaffordable, it’s been done in several cities around the world with success. Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, is a city of well over 400,000 inhabitants and has had free public transit for locals since 2013. Chapel Hill, North Carolina has had free bus transportation since 2002 and in doing so, has increased their annual ridership from 3 million to nearly 7 million. Many smaller jurisdictions, including 56 small cities across Europe have implemented fare-free public transportation programs. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Why people in rural areas should support urban fare-free #publictransit

There are a hundred good reasons for fare-free public transit. Not the least is that it saves money.

But, specifically, how would it benefit rural areas?

Answer: by fighting sprawl.

Sprawl threatens the peace and quiet of rural areas. Farms are surrounded by housing developments and subject to complaints from new residents.

Sprawl needs tax money for schools, roads, and utilities. Developers often take profit from home sales and leave municipal costs for the residents. So rural people will likely see more taxes.

Roads will be more crowed. Rural roads are dangerous, often without shoulders and drainage. More traffic -- more collisions.

Fare-free #publictransit would solve the problem of racist fare enforcement

It may sound strange, but the esoteric topic of fare collection has become one of the most polarizing in public transportation. And it’s likely to get worse—unless we start rethinking the idea of transit fares entirely. ...
...According to the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 91 percent of summons for fare evasion in the District between January 2016 and February 2018 were issued to African-Americans. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Brutal bombing to control oil market

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Irish Times reader lists the benefits of fare-free #publictransport

The Irish Times published a letter of mine proposing such a system for Dublin in 1980. In it I argued that such a system could massively reduce traffic congestion, reduce car imports, reduce fuel imports, and increase employment in the city.
In the meantime, we have seen a massive increase in traffic congestion, urban sprawl, commuting times, population density, and proposed and actual new public transportation systems such as the Luas and Metro causing massive disruption during the building phase and costing many billions of euro.
Tripling the size of Dublin’s bus fleet would probably be required to meet the latent demand for an efficient and free public transport service, but the capital cost would be minuscule compared to the cost of the aforementioned projects.
Instead of requiring exorbitant new infrastructure, existing and underused bus lanes would be more fully utilised, and journey times improved as car traffic diminished. Valuable space currently required for car parking could be repurposed for social housing or public amenities.
Such an expansion of the public bus system would massively improve the convenience of the existing bus services by increasing the frequency, range, and scope of current routes.
Instead of wasting time, burning fuel, polluting the atmosphere, and contributing to global warming, commuters could work on the bus, engage with social media and, horror of horrors, actually talk to one another, thereby recreating a more convivial and socially egalitarian city.
If the buses were primarily electric, they could further reduce our carbon footprint, and reduce the fines we will soon become liable to pay for failing to reach our carbon reduction targets.
As we have little oil and no car manufacturing industries, such a system would also improve our balance of trade and employment levels.
As a nation, we think nothing of spending billions on (partially) free education, healthcare, roads and public facilities. But an efficient public transport system is every bit as vital to the functioning of a modern economy. How much time is wasted driving cars on congested roads which could otherwise be devoted to more productive work or social activities? How many lives could be saved by less tired (and sometimes intoxicated) driving?
It is an idea whose time has come. – Yours, etc,
Co Wicklow.