Friday, January 31, 2020

Police provocateurs vandalize New York Subway

Having failed miserably to come up with any arguments against free public transit. The oil-auto-sprawl profiteers have sent agents-provocateur to vandalize public transit and try to make it look like free transit activists are moronic and dangerous.

This plan will also fail.

Here are some tips on how to recognize provocateurs.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Trolls say we have to have better public transport before we can make it fare-free

Congratulations to @MattHaneySF and the city for this achievement. But if it takes decades to get one car-free street, you can imagine how long it will take to get free public transit.

Right now, one of the favorite troll attacks on free public transit is to say -- 

"the system needs to be improved before it can be free"

They disguise themselves as "planners" and "cycle advocates" and pretend that free public transit is just a matter of city planning. It is not. It is a struggle against the oil-auto-sprawl profiteers. A mass movement for free transit will unite us, and then we will have the power to make improvements.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Ireland political party calls for immediate #freepublictransport across the country

Urban sprawl and the lack of genuinely extensive public transport have led to a massive dependence on private cars and private goods vehicles. Figures compiled by the Department of Transport show that the number of licenced vehicles in the state has trebled over the last 30 years due to population increases and a neoliberal model of economic growth.14 Instead of this neoliberal approach with its attendant transport emissions, People Before Profit favour a major increase in public transport spending to make the service free for users immediately.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Imagine no cars, and more room for low-energy-footprint affordable housing

photo from google maps

Just say "no" to helicopter money

Universal Basic Income [UBI] sounds great, but what are the downsides?

UBI is a capitalist solution to problems caused by capitalism. It is like giving money to robbery victims without doing anything about the robbers.

People will spend the money right back into the rotten system we already have. Buying more unhealthful cheap food and more useless consumer products like cars.

Since the "tax money" went to UBI, the elites can say "oh no money for public health, public education, or public transport, but you have $1000 a month now, go buy it on the free market!"

Instead, we should fight for free services: health, education, transport. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Plenty of buzz about #freepublictransit in Ireland elections

People love #freepublictransport in Dunkirk, France

In September 2018, the French city of Dunkirk, with a population of just over 90,000, and a total of 257,000 in its metropolitan area, launched a free bus system for residents and visitors, since when it has succeeded in drastically reducing private car use.
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. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Ridership up 57% where fares free for youth

Kids are riding public buses more in Montgomery County after officials made Ride On and Metrobus service free at all times of the day for people under 18. That’s according to new ridership data shared with the county council during a hearing on the program on Thursday. 
The council expanded the Kids Ride Free program to cover the full day in July 2019. Previously, kids were only been eligible for a free ride from 2 to 8 p.m. — after school hours. That meant that students who took public buses to school in the mornings had to pay the fare. 

What if our buses and trains are already crowded?

Fair question. How can we make public transit fare-free when the buses and trains are already crowded.

Here is the answer. Why are we in this situation? The government can see clearly that more service is needed, yet they continue to subsidize sprawl and cars.

A look at history shows that people have lobbied and voted for better transit for over 100 years. And compared to the increase in cars and sprawl, it has not come close to keeping up.

If we continue this for the next 100 years we will continue to fail. Asking for another bus here, a bike lane there, will keep us divided and weak.

We need a single, simple policy that can unite us.

That issue is fare-free [meaning no fares] public transit. #freepublictransit #freepublictransport

When we are united, we will have the power to add more buses where needed.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Los Angeles County Supervisor calls for #freetransit for k-12 students

Los Angeles city council member proposes #freepublictransit for LAUSD students

What if these two public agencies could work together to help solve each other’s problem? That’s the idea behind a proposal, floated by LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner and transit advocates, to provide free transit passes to the district’s more than 600,000 K-12 students. 
The proposal comes at a time when advocates around the country are increasingly arguing that public transit should be free. Affordable transportation, they argue, is key to helping people get to school, jobs and opportunities to help them escape poverty. It’s good for the planet too, as more people choose to ride transit rather than drive, which reduces the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

"a party that is serious about congestion, the environment and road safety could make all public transport free"

But we could go one step further. In this election, a party that is serious about congestion, the environment and road safety could make all public transport free. Although it is often said that our public transport system is poor, in fact it works for a lot of us.
And as well as an economic argument for free public transport, there’s a moral one: If elements of health and education are free, why not transport – another public good?
The ultimate aim of these policies should be to follow Oslo’s recent example and ban all cars from our city centres. This is the future of urban living, not to mention a requirement of cutting carbon emissions. For years we have designed cities for cars, and that’s what we got: more cars. Now we have to change our behaviour and go the other way. It will take time and lots of detailed investment in more public transport. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

What's so scary about #freepublictransit?

Why is fare-free public transit/transport treated differently from other public goods? Why must there be a user-fee?

The answer lies in understanding autosprawl. Trillions of dollars have been sunk into everything from cul-de-sacs and DIY stores, to ocean tankers and refineries. The web of liquid-fuel fixed infrastructure covers human developed habitat, and controls the flow of the entire economy.

The whole thing is leveraged in debt far beyond recovery.

When oil was cheap, too much was borrowed against the future. Now, cheap oil is draining fast. Every day it takes more joules to get a joule. So now we have super-borrowing to "pay the mortgage."

When people discover the benefits of fare-free public transit, they demand more, and then they discover the subsidy to autos and sprawl. They will reject that subsidy, and demand more fare-free public transit.

This is what has the banks and bondholders shaking in their suites.

In US, at least a dozen candidates for US Congress calling for #freepublictransit

At the blog >> << we are tracking candidates and officials who favor fare-free public transit.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Thorough debunking of fares, means-testing, and #racism

Given that the pay-per-ride system for public transit is regressive, unjust, and cuts against the benefits of having mass transit even in a simplistic Econ 101 universe, there are shockingly few American cities that offer free and universal transit. Even internationally, pay-per-ride is the norm. What’s happening here? The answer is that cities around the world have been convinced that making public transit free invites only “undesirable” riders. This is disappointing to put it mildly, but I think it offers us a valuable lesson in how to approach our arguments for universalizing services. 

Problems solved by having more and better public transportation

There are numerous reasons why access to public transport should be encouraged. For every $1 invested in public transport, around $4 of economic returns is generated, while a $10 million investment in public transport generates $30 million in increased business sales. People are also safer traveling on public transport, with accident risk reduced by 90% versus private transport. From an environmental perspective, public transport already saves the US 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline each year, and 37 million metric tons of carbon. As buses emit 20% less carbon monoxide and 25% fewer nitrogen oxides per passenger mile versus single-occupancy cars, public transport is also better for public health. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Irish Times -- eloquent case for #freepublictransport

Motor tax alone raised more than €981 million in 2018. If we ring-fenced motor tax to make all public transport free, such a “targeted” tax initiative would cover the cost, with €381 million left to build cycle lanes. 
The ultimate aim of these policies should be to follow Oslo’s recent example and ban all cars from our city centres. This is the future of urban living, not to mention a requirement of cutting carbon emissions. For years we have designed cities for cars, and that’s what we got: more cars. Now we have to change our behaviour and go the other way. It will take time and lots of detailed investment in more public transport. 
However, using basic economics, it makes sense to introduce a congestion charge for the privilege of driving at peak hours and at the same time to reduce to zero the cost to the commuter of public transport, financing the shortfall from motor tax, and ring-fencing what’s left of motor tax to build cycle lanes. 
If not now, when?

Friday, January 17, 2020

Mexico, State of Mexico, people protest fare hike

To the shout of “Not even one more peso to transport!”, Members of the No to the Tarifa collective and even feminist women with green scarves, spoke once again against the adjustment of more than 20% to the cost of this service in the State of Mexico.

Mexico Crude Oil: Production

Brazil spending big money to violently enforce fare-hikes


Here is the reason:
Brazil Oil Auction a ‘Total Disaster’ as Bidders Stay Away

For more about the long struggle for fare-free public transport in Brazil: click here.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Boston City Council President supports #freepublictransit

Free public transit is a public good

But, ultimately, the argument for free public transit is simple: it’s a vital public good. Like education, libraries, and parks, it serves the common good and not just individual desire. 
As we explained in our new, “pro-public” vision for 2020, we all benefit from things like public transit regardless of whether we use them or not. 
As Wojciech Kębłowski, a post-doctoral researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, writes “You don’t have to insert coins to light an individual lamp posts on your way home at night, or pay for every minute spent in a park or library.” 
Dionisia Ramos, a 55-year-old living on unemployment while going to school in Lawrence, put it even more directly, telling the Times: “Transportation should be free. It’s a basic need. It’s not a luxury.” 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Banks cause oil wars to keep away debt default

As the US uses SWIFT and Federal Reserve as weapons, it should be more obvious to all the link between oil wars and debt.

The world has $255 Trillion in debt outstanding. This a bet on future growth and earnings which depend on resources and labor being available. But one resource, oil, is much more important than the others because without oil, no transport, without transport, no economy. Every drop of oil still in the ground has debt against it, leveraged and rehypothecated many times.

The Trump administration warned Iraq this week that it risks losing access to a critical government bank account if Baghdad kicks out American forces following the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general, according to Iraqi officials. 

Steady growth of #freepublictransport in Poland

This map is five years old. Thanks to a campaign initiated then by labor unions, the adoption of fare-free public transport has been strong and growing in Poland.

Here is the latest map:

For more about free public transport in Poland:

You can have fare-free AND expand service

Making buses fare-free is the quicker route to better service. If we wait for better service first, we will wait another 100 years, because it took us 100 years to get to this mess, and many people have been fighting for better service all that time.

The trolls are saying that once the system is fare-free there is no money for expansion. The facts do not support this claim. Here are some examples to the contrary:

Nine cases of fare-free service leading to expanded service:

Here is a list of troll arguments and links to refutations:

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Who is next? Worcester, MA, City Council studying #freepublictransit

District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera co-sponsored the order, and said going fare-free would be the first step in bringing the WRTA into the modern age. For a city that is always talking about how it is moving forward, Worcester’s public transportation seems to be stuck, she said. She said it’s not just a poverty issue; fare-free bus transportation would mean more people would use the system.
“This is doable. We can do this here in the city,” Rivera said. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

São Paulo, Brazil, people protest fare hikes

[from Google translate]
Another beginning of the year, another increase in the public transport fare of São Paulo (SP). From January 1, 2020, bus, subway and train tickets will increase from $ 4.30 to $ 4.40. Integration between modes will increase from R $ 7.48 to R $ 7.65. 
In response, the Free Pass Movement (MPL) São Paulo called a demonstration for January 7, in front of City Hall, at the Viaduto do Chá, at 17h. 
...“It is a very serious attack by the rulers against most of the population. A working population that depends on this public transport to travel, to study, to work, to look for a job ”, he points out. 

Are any elected officials calling for #freepublictransit? [Yes]

Here in the capital region, we are eliminating user-fee barriers to public transit ridership, as a form of climate action and social justice, starting with young people in the city of Victoria. - Ben Isitt in Times/Colonist  
* * * 
We are sure we don't have them all, but our list has grown to 26. More people are starting to realize that their town or city is exporting a lot of money for gasoline [petrol] while suffering the cost of support the inefficient auto and sprawl system.

What to expect in 2020

1. Continued sagging of world economy
2. Acceleration of birth rate decline in developed areas
3. Intensified fighting for control over oil and gas 

Debt-service, high energy costs, and military spending will continue to be a burden on profits. As companies fail, unemployment will add to the downward pressure. In developed areas, birth rate decline will accelerate which will further depress demand for energy, especially oil.

As profits evaporate into energy cost and debt-service, the control of the last sources of high netenergy fuels will become more important and fighting will intensify.

Monday, January 6, 2020

More evidence that fares are for rationing, not revenue

As it stands right now, most of METRO’s operating funds don’t come from the fares. The transit agency gets most of its money from a one-cent sales tax, which caught the attention of Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack. 
Radack recently spoke before the METRO board on why the agency should consider free or reduced fares. He said that people are already paying for the transit service through the sales tax and a financial incentive for riding could get more people on board. 
“And so if we just keep going the way we’re going, we’re going to build more freeways, we’re going to continue to do other forms of transportation, but at the end, it makes no sense to have buses only partially full running around,” said Radack. 

Boston Globe supports free public transportation.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Another domino falls -- Intercity transit in Olympia, WA, goes fare-free

As of the New Year, no bus fare is needed to ride the Olympia area's Intercity Transit. On Wednesday, the transit agency became the largest in the Pacific Northwest to eliminate fare collection, leapfrogging Corvallis and Missoula which did so earlier.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Collapse of the #autosprawl system

Households in the US owe over $13 trillion in debt. World-wide official debt is at $255 trillion.

Let's imagine that debt were to be eliminated magically by a few mistaken keystrokes. What would happen. Well a lot of rich and middle-class people would lose money. On the other hand, consumers would suddenly have much more to spend. Governments, with no more debt-service could provide much more social service.

But there is another debt that is not so easily addressed. That is the money sunk into autosprawl. The world has many $trillions invested in cars, highways, roads, suburbs, refineries, tankers, military, and much more, to support the system of autos and sprawl. These are hard assets, which depend on oil, and are not easily replaced. This investment was never sustainable, and now it is collapsing.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

People on Twitter reply to the anti-publictransit trolls

Paid trolls have been tweeting articles that pretend to be neutral, but actually repeat lies about free public transportation. People on Twitter are aware and answering back.

The oil paradox, why fight for something you can't sell?

Any oil price now is either too high for consumers or too low for producers. Producers are trying to get other producers to cut back, but no one is willing to sacrifice. But then, you may ask, why the ferocious oil wars and desperate drilling?

When oil was easy-to-drill, there were many years of low price. This affected the whole world economy. Due to expected future growth, debt was incurred to grab future profits in the present. In 2005, world easy-oil production peaked. Every day since then, it has cost more joules to get a joule of oil.

However, paradoxically, due to the profit system, the end of cheap oil, and increased debt-service, there are no more profits. But oil is still the blood of the economy and controlling it means economic power.

Hence, there is a desperate fight over something that cannot be sold.