From this angle, there is an important detail that I haven't seen mentioned in the article or the comments: to be really useful in a post-car environment and allow residents to reach any A from any B without a personal 1-ton-of-steel individual vehicle, public transports must be designed to transport not only pedestrians but their bikes too.
In Amsterdam for instance, most trains/trams/busses would have a dedicated place where to put bikes (coaches would have special bike holder at the front for instance, while most trains/trams would have a dedicated large lobby in some wagons). There, most large trips would naturally be completed by a combination of bike + public transport + bike, making it not only possible but normal to go anywhere without a car. There, it is not cost free though (and in some cases, such as trains, you'd have to pay a little extra for your bike); still, being able to bring your bike might help to reduce overall price (and time) as it may avoids to have to transfer to a non-free public transport for some leg of the trip.
Slightly off topic but: it runs much deeper than that, the gas price was just the last straw. The whole thing was a shit show because none of them were able to articulate a real political discourse, they were upset (and rightly so) but had no idea why. They even rejected to meet political leaders or have spokespersons for months and that's what eventually killed the movement. In the end it was a mix of low pension, low min wage, tax evasion (amazon, google, &c.), macron's politics of prioritising companies (tax--) over people (tax++), europe stance on immigration, &c. aka: no matter why you were upset you could fit in the yellow vest movement.
That's a very french thing to do: notice something might be wrong/you're getting fucked over by the government, complain a lot, break/burn things, secure nice social advances most of the rest of the world take X0 years to get, it's been happening since 1789 so we're kind of used to it by now.
This is so pedantic! Of course people know why they're angry. Of course if you watch TV or read mainstream newspaper they won't give you an idea; you would have to go to the protest yourself to escape the propaganda.
> They even rejected to meet political leaders or have spokespersons for months
And we still do! Nobody can represent anybody else. Representative democracy is the structure that failed us in the first place. Never again: we won't stop fighting until we have a direct democracy without a ruling oligarchy.
> In the end it was a mix
And the climate crisis. And education reforms promising even more brainless indoctrination. And the National Universal Service which is a nicer name for militarist/fascist propaganda aimed at children. And racist anti-immigration laws in which Macron doubled the maximum retention time for undocumented people (45->90 days). And police violence destroying the sense of community in whole districts. And health care workers slowly being pushed to suicide by an administration that wants to close down public hospitals to ensure a new economy for private health.
> no matter why you were upset you could fit in the yellow vest movement.
Except fascists are not welcome. Fortunately they were kicked out of most demos by popular outrage.
> secure nice social advances most of the rest of the world take X0 years to get
The truth is France is far behind much of the world in terms of social advances. It's one of the richest nations in the world, yet has ~10% extreme poverty, and much of the social system is slowly being dismantled... very similar in some regards to the USA.
Burning rich people's shit is literally the most peaceful we can do in times like these, given the pace at which they're killing us.
We deserve better. We can do better. Let's build a better world from the ashes of this unfair and violent society.
So you can fall victim to the protester's propaganda instead of the mainstream news propaganda?
That's a common argument for many things, and I don't consider it valid.
It is like saying that you can't understand a cult unless you become part of that cult. Some people took on the advise and become brainwashed like everyone else, it is hard to keep a neutral point of view under the peer pressure such meetings usually entail. "seeing for yourself" to get an unbiased opinion is easier said than done.
You mentioned fascists. Did you go see fascists? I did, and they are probably much friendlier than you imagine, and they have convincing arguments. It requires some amount of detachment to see the flaws in their ideas.
Now back to the yellow vests. I've seen protests, my father was part of the movement, I met many people with different ideas. And from my experience, that's a mess. My father joined the movement because of a dislike in the banking system and Macron's administration, and found like-minded individuals. He left a few weeks later when another groups pushed ideas about unions he didn't share at all. I know one self-employed nurse who was booed at a protest when other people from the same movement claim they support self-employment and better medical support... go figure. The things is: individual groups know why they are upset, but the movement itself is all over the place. There are some common themes like taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor but as the movement progresses, it becomes broader and broader, covering immigration (more immigration control, but treat refugees better...), organic food, etc...
Placing personal experiences and sufferings in the same basket as state/capital-sponsored propaganda and smear campaigns tells a lot about your worldview.
> It requires some amount of detachment to see the flaws in their ideas.
Or enough privilege to not feel directly threatened by their genocidal agenda.
> The things is: individual groups know why they are upset, but the movement itself is all over the place.
Agreed. Though i'm not sure it's a bad thing. That's the essence of a popular movement, compared to a top-down mobilization with a clear agenda imposed by a restricted group of people.
> more immigration control
WTF? I've never met people in yellow vests protests arguing for more immigration control.
If anything, there is convergence with anti-racist initiatives such as sans-papiers collectives, the gilets noirs, the Justice & Truth for Adama collective..
Sure, there's fringe groups of royalist/fascist movements trying to infiltrate the gilets jaunes with such agenda, but claiming the movement as a whole is even considering this is highly misguided.
This is so pedantic! Of course
people know why they're angry.
Is there a set of policies he could adopt that would mean every protester agreed all their demands had been met?
Well everybody's got more or less specific demands. But for sure, if everybody in France could have housing and food on the table, there wouldn't be mass protests/riots as we have had for over a decade now.
I'm not even saying "decent" housing or "organic" food although it is important to me. People would be happy with basic services they don't have at the moment.
Everybody sees on the TV or in the streets rich people spending hundreds or thousands of euros in fancy restaurants and clubs while ~10% of the population lives in extreme poverty and struggles to feed the children.
There's 3 million ABANDONED housing units (not counting secondary housing) for 150K homeless people, yet the government and landowners pretend there is a housing crisis.
These are just two examples that would satisfy everyone within and without the gilets jaunes movement. That's not enough to build a fair society, but that would arguably make life more bearable.
I've yet to see a single yellow vest giving an articulated speech about why things are bad and how to fix them. You don't go far by screaming "this thing is broken I'll burn things until someone fixes it"
> And the climate crisis. And education reforms promising even more brainless indoctrination. And the National Universal Service which is a nicer name for militarist/fascist propaganda aimed at children. And racist anti-immigration laws in which Macron doubled the maximum retention time for undocumented people (45->90 days). And police violence destroying the sense of community in whole districts. And health care workers slowly being pushed to suicide by an administration that wants to close down public hospitals to ensure a new economy for private health.
Welcome to capitalism, have a seat while we fuck the world up.
> Burning rich people's shit is literally the most peaceful we can do in times like these, given the pace at which they're killing us.
What's the real plan though ? What happens after "burning rich peoples' shit" ? Nothing, because yellow vests don't want to get into politics, and not getting into politics means they're just screaming and burning shit until they're bored of doing that. The 60s were much better in that regard because thinkers still existed back then with people like Vaneigem or Debord.
> yet has ~10% extreme poverty,
The difference is that if you're poor in the US you live in a tent in skidrow  or the like, if you're poor in France you get a (shitty) flat and enough money to eat and dress yourself, you can still go to school and get medical treatments, &c. And btw most EU country have higher poverty % than France.  The question isn't really how many people are poor but how do you treat them.
> very similar in some regards to the USA.
I don't think you're being fair here. Public pensions and public healthcare puts France miles ahead of the US (and most other countries) for the average citizen. And that's not even taking into account vacations days, min wages, mandatory holidays, working hours, unions, parental leaves, retirement age, police brutality, &c. The US is only a better place if you're in the top 10%.
> Representative democracy is the structure that failed us in the first place. Never again: we won't stop fighting until we have a direct democracy without a ruling oligarchy.
Tell me how the US is better again ?
Sure we can do better, we always can, but look around, besides maybe Switzerland and a few northern countries, which are doing slightly better in some aspects, I don't think France as anything to complain about.
"And we still do! Nobody can represent anybody else. Representative democracy is the structure that failed us in the first place."
"The truth is France is far behind much of the world in terms of social advances."
"Burning rich people's shit is literally the most peaceful we can do in times like these, given the pace at which they're killing us."
Not saying that there's no issue in France, far from that. Not saying either the yellow vests protests is unwarranted, far from that. But going to the point of those 3 excerpts is ridiculous in the context of France and a typical case for dismissal of the whole.
Migration is one of the bigger issues, but it's not the EU that waved the limits on migration in the early 2000s when Poland and the other eastern European countries joined, that was New Labour.
It's not the EU that fails to enforce the rules that are available to remove EU migrants. All you hear about in the press are the occasions where some regulation stopped a person being deported (likely for a good reason).
Brexit is a combination of nationalist propaganda and a scapegoat for the Tories and New Labour to blame the inequality they created on someone other than themselves.
It's sad that so many of the people that will loose the most from Brexit (should it happen) fail to see this.
The Brexit voting areas were, in the vast majority, the areas that had suffered from post-80s deindustrialisation, neglect, being ignored for 40 years by Westminster who brought no real regeneration, and a system that's become increasingly SE heavy and centralised. So local councils can no longer do much substantive without Westminster approval.
It felt far more about kicking the powers that be than any real anti EU loss of faith. After 40 years of getting the shit end of the stick, that was perfectly understandable. Wrong target, but understandable and deserving of sympathy. The political class that let them down wanted remain, vote leave.
Sure, UK has often been lukewarm on some aspects of Europe. Until Cameron had the bright idea of the referendum to put the Tory right wing back in the box, then whipped it up into outrage, it was mostly something to talk and joke about. Lost faith in the bullshit claims and spin during the campaign, certainly. No deal was explicitly ruled out...
And it didn't have the means to be much more: the state, the "City", the corporations, Brussels, the BBC, the celebs, and the mainstream media all pushed for Bremain...
Let's stop downplaying what happened there and in the US: a similar, unethical & careful PSYOP teasing legitimate popular concerns to tip the vote toward a result that breaks the stability of the West.
The result being:
- both US & UK are shit shows at the time being;
- everyone else caring, spending time to adjust to/circumvent that, and/or to wait for these countries to get their together again;
- while doing that, they don't have time/resources to watch/care after other issues, which is ... surprinsingly, quite convenient for some other countries.
Actually let's stop altering what happened in the UK and in the US (and in France).
The masses, after 40+ years (beginning with Reagan and Thatcher) of getting the short end of the stick,
increased globalization and loss of domestic worker jobs (which the Left once, especially in Britain, was much protective of),
and the left (using the term loosely for people like Clinton, Blair, and co) and right elites agreeing on business as usual on everything that matters (including corporatism, trillion dollar bank bailouts, and war) and peddling token social/religious issues to divert their ever impoverished working class voters, while having pundits and specialists telling people who've seen their jobs and cities destroyed how they had it "better than ever",
decided to go off the rails and vote for a populist "bring jobs back, stop globalization, reduce imperialism wars" candidate in the US, and a "fuck EU imposed laws and German economic leadership, let's have a sovereign Britain again" brexit, or take it to the streets in France.
The 10% of well of "good hearts", who were never affected all those years, and probably have it better than ever indeed, consider them deplorables, unwashed masses, etc, wonder why the masses don't just "eat cake" and get on with the program, to let their favorite politicians continue business as usual, and of course are certain that they know better and everybody else
Unable to understand their defeat, those bleeding hearts, blame it on some inconsequential villainy on the part of Russia, on some BS "collusion", on the masses voting "against their own interests", and whatever other straw they can grasp...
They are the same people who consider a president who helped destroy 5 countries and turn them into hell-holes of civil war and fundamentalism a Nobel peace prize award winning good person, and another who tried to withdraw from 2 wars, de-escalated and met with the S.K, and acknowledged that the real competition to the US in the 21st century is China in trade, as a bad person (because he has no manners and tweets random BS, which, as we all know, is what's really important in a politician).
In the end everybody votes based on their wallets, and the 10% (and an additional percentage who feeds of them) never had reason to disturb the status quo.
I did not mention Russia. If that were a country, it could mean several other countries too.
I did not blame it on only manipulation, but on manipulation based on existing tensions & facts. That does not excuse the past 40 years of political morass of course. But that does not excuse populists lying and twisting this situation for their own interest - and certainly not the people's: see where the US & UK are today.
As for UK & France "masses", for the past 40 years, we have lived in _peace_ on our homeland, contrary to the few centuries before. Not by accident.
As for the rest, you can have it way harder than others and still consider populism, racism, mysoginism and cronyism supporters as "deplorables". They still are.
Tagging Trump as "has no manners and tweets random BS" is the least you could do. He's not bad only, he is a stain on US history. Not only does he lacks manners... I don't even know where to end if we go down this hole. The only thing he doesn't lack is ego. To the point it's embarrassing. Not only for him, but also for the future of the institutions and the nation that his role makes him supposed to protect. As well as the people that let him have his ways from the get go.
Yes, and some of those issues are more common. Thatcher and Reagan for example, started the same big money / fuck working class policies at about the same time. The "left" parties similarly diluted their support for common folks and criticism of corporatism and got into warmongering and business as usual in both countries (e.g. Clinton, Blair, to today's TINA stars).
>I did not mention Russia
Sure, but many did so I addressed that too. I was giving the bigger picture as I see it of the situation, not addressing solely what you wrote.
>As for UK & France "masses", for the past 40 years, we have lived in _peace_ on our homeland, contrary to the few centuries before. Not by accident.
No, because UK and France had become less significant post-WWII, lost most of their colonial slaves, that span half the earth, and US and USSR became the dominant top dogs fighting each other.
Plus Germany was for half a century after WWII split into two, given to different countries to nanny, and deprived of an army -- precisely to avoid more wars in Europe.
So it would make no sense for UK and France to fight, as the stakes were low. When those were powerhouses, fighting for global expansion/dominance, sure it made sense. In the past 40+ years it makes no more sense than Luxembourg and Finland fighting.
US and USSR did fight a lot, had the whole Cold War thing, and tons of wars by proxy all around the world. Same way US and China today are at tension.
>As for the rest, you can have it way harder than others and still consider populism, racism, mysoginism and cronyism supporters as "deplorables". They still are.
Well, there's a long history of the good souls on the top towers of society looking down on the unwashed "Morlocks", and patting themselves in the back for how better they are.
Part of this is because most middle class/upper middle class people learn from a young age to consider a person's worth by their net worth, clothes, manners, school they went to, and so on, and those deplorables don't cut it.
(Of course the poor black, latinos, muslims, immigrants, etc, cut it even less, and are usually even more misogynist, homophobic, etc than the flyover state deplorables, but they're not usually classified as belonging to them. They vote the right way, plus, it's not like the bleeding hearts who "care" for them really care. They just want to signal their higher virtue to the rest of the whites.).
The funny thing is that the upper classes consider the "deplorables" as lesser persons, because they haven't adopted the intellectual fashions, that they themselves just got recently (a few decades ago, all the same "refined" classes were themselves openly anti-gay, misogynist and had no problem with it, in fact in the 70s and 80s you couldn't be in "good" society without be such).
Looking like a fairly accurate prediction then, so far. How's Sterling doing? How are the government's just released Yellow Hammer predictions compared to that gentle warning in the leaflet?
If we are talking about metro transportation, and not intercity trains and such, I strongly disagree. A bike takes up the space of multiple standing people, is dirty and hard and is not easily moved during an emergency where a stampede is a very real risk. Bicycles belong in bike parking, which there should be plenty of, but you can take public transportation between parkings. Bringing everybody's bikes on a tram or metro train during rush hour in a city of any meaningful size is a bad idea.
Me speaking: So where do you draw the line? On your personal preferences or where the outcome achieves the goal? ie. getting more people to stop using their cars. Bicycles are already allowed on most suburban London trains, but are sometimes limited during rush hour. It's a win-win for everyone without having an outright ban.
(I apologise for weird response, but couldn't find a better way to get my point across.)
I don't disagree with you, but I can be more sympathetic to the need for a baby buggy over that of a bike, because there aren't baby buggy parkings, and it's a lot harder to move your baby back and forth than it is to park a bike. The same goes for your semi-absurd comparison with zimmer frames -- obviously senior citizens have a place in public transportation and they need to be catered to. It's not the same thing as the convenience of not having to park your bike and walking.
> Bicycles are already allowed on most suburban London trains, but are sometimes limited during rush hour. It's a win-win for everyone without having an outright ban.
I already explicitly said "If we are talking about metro transportation, and not intercity trains and such" -- meaning I also recognize the need to transport bikes on "suburban trains", but for inter-city transportation with sufficient bike parking I don't see the need to cater for bikes on trains seeing the negative downsides they bring.
Also, baby buggies are already prohibited in many metro systems, and I have never advocated them to be anything else. There are better ways to transport your baby around, such as an on-body baby carrier.
Bicyclists on the other hand have no excuse and get no compassion. If the bike rack is full you wait for the next bus.
I see it perfectly fit to get you point across. Will copy method in the future when necesarry
Everybody's? You're awfully misrepresenting how it works in practice.
As someone who lived in Amsterdam, I've never experienced more than like five people doing that. There's a special section in each cart that can fit like two or three bikes. If they're taken, you wait for the next metro on your line. Too many bikes want to go in? Increase the bike ticket to reduce that number. Scared about rush hours? Ban them during rush hours, not all the time.
It exists as an option (as it should), but that option is far from being used by everyone.
That's a clever design!
In my experience, that works out well.
If cars magically made no noise or pollution would demand drop?
I can see some substance behind the assertion that their use of space is what makes cars convenience but saying that people like them because they make noise and pollute is just needlessly extremist.
In my opinion if you need bike+bus combination its is better to use city bike instead of dragging your personal bike.
The key point is (while avoiding as much inconvenience as possible) - that everyone should be able to complete the journeys they need to complete - the fact you need to move luggage / a bike / a pram... That shouldn't be an exception / excuse / reason for car or taxi.
My favorite part of the Netherlands bike on trains system, is the ticket for your bike is more expensive than renting one of theirs at a station. That is deliberate. Reduce bikes on trains, but not the option of biking the last mile.
You ride your first bike to the station, get on the public transit, then ride your second bike to work. Then there's no need to take your bike on public transit.
Electric bikes help flatten out the landscape, but they're currently too expensive to leave lying around and require charging etc.
Besides, if you do get in a pinch, you can roll your bike with you while you walk in many cases. In the cases where you cannot, you can usually leave it locked somewhere and fetch it later on. You can do this in ways that you cannot in a car.
Besides, a bicycle only takes a portion of the materials to make a car - even two of them only take a portion. It is still friendlier.
Bike insurance can cover the rest of the bike.
Owning a car in Amsterdam is crazy expensive due to parking. For example, the parking costs at my office is about 500 EUR/month (only to park during workdays between 7AM-7PM)
Trondheim (Norway), on the other hand, has a hill with a bike lift. Just one, though. The rest you have to pedal. I, the immigrant, still find it amazing folks ride bikes with studded tires on the snow, let alone manage the terrain. I usually just walk.
Things like a onewheel pint, a scooter or a boosted board.
Truth be told, in places like Paris, the only case where I would need one of these is when my move is not helped by the subway : the lines tend to go from the center of the city to its outer limits, so if you are move on the city limits, you might have to first go back to its center. For most of the cases, the subway is good enough.
In US cities though, last mile vehicles have been a must for me.
But in cities like SF, the public transportation system is so underwhelming, I just use a last mile vehicle to do my 1.5 mile commute.
This way I go from 25 minutes to 10 minutes of commute.
There is no need to make it free for all if that's the goal.
I think the main goal really is to encourage people to use public transport as much as possible.
> public transports must be designed to transport not only pedestrians but their bikes too.
Yes for folding bikes, but standard bikes are too big.
Does that include city buses? In Denmark, it's about the same, except city buses have no room for bikes. Coaches - i.e. buses between cities - do.
I don't see why someone would take a bike on bus/tram because, you could ride all all the same thanks to the flat roads.
Those ferries north of central station are free for everyone and you can take bikes for free too.
Those decisions just raise pollution by induction: my transport is cheaper, so I take it more. It does not convert people over.
A bit like giving free moviepass: it doesn't impact Netflix bottom line, but people who used to go to the movies go more often while paying less.
But more infrastructure for the non-cars means gradually, cars make less and less sense to own. Again, Western Europe. These are countries where the cities are fine to live and work in without a vehicle.
The administrative process is willingly complicated and requires an address, which is very hard to come by when you're out on the streets.
Also, receiving RSA means you actively have to look for a job, ANY JOB. They will often force you to take a bullshit job outside of your field, that will make your life project (small business, or non-profit activities) unreachable. If you don't accept, they'll cut the money which is already not enough to just pay one-room rent in big cities.
That's for the people who are eligible. Then, there's many others. RSA is only for documented people (contrary to CMU/AME for minimum medical services) and does not apply to people under age 25 unless they meet some very strict condition. That's why France has an epidemics of very young people living on the streets.
So yes, saving 50-100€ on transports every month can make a big difference for millions of people. Especially considering the last governments passed laws to enforce harsh repression against those who can't pay their tickets: 5 unpaid tickets in a year now mandates prison time, how crazy is that?
And I don't see how free transport makes folks take transport more. People still need to have places to go to, after all, which generally cost money.
In most french cities, these systems (and their maintenance) actually cost more than the money brought by selling tickets.
Don't listen to any other arguments until they come back with numbers. Oftentimes when you ask a difficult question people try to move onto an easier one, but don't let them. It'll help you grind down the opposition much faster.
Edit: Even if you ride the bus only 20 times a year this saves you money. Not to mention it would likely increase usage and stop delays.
The whole problem here is that it is simply very expensive to run buses, per actual ride. Operational costs of a King County Metro buses is ~$150 an hour. With $2.75 fare, you'd practically need to run them crammed full at all times to break even. In reality, buses only get ever fully packed on a handful of routes, and even then only twice a day.
And, ST3 passed, but only barely. I don't think it would have passed today if we got to vote on it again.
Making transports free to end-users actually saves a lot of money by removing all these layers of bureaucracy and control.
No need for barriers, repairpeople to fix the ticket machines, and security guards to beat the hell out of people who can't pay.
Cars are a massive transfer of public land to private usage. The cost of this needs to be factored in too.
The tax is nice to try, but what's best for laws like that is to remember they are trials, and we should be honest in accepting it's more expensive for everyone to pay a cheap tax than paying more for each transport, however weird it sounds at first.
I would say this extra tax is a good thing, and I'm not at all a fan of taxes.
Paying the bus or a tax is the same thing for you if it's well done, but then as you said: it's more convenient, when you're in trouble one month you'll still be able to use the transport, tourists benefit from it, and last but not least, crazy poor people can have a chance to move around freely...
Because you don't get to decide whether you think it's worth it or not.
If the bus is too expensive, you can walk, or cycle, or use a car, or just not go on the journey. If the tax is too expensive, you have no recourse, you have to pay it anyway.
And "if the tax is too expensive then write to your local politician" is not an answer. Even if I'm the only person in the world who thinks the bus is too expensive, I still have the option not to use the bus. But if I'm the only person in the world who thinks the tax is too expensive, too bad, I just have to pay it.
And the reason is that you accrue benefits of a free bus system even if you never ride the bus. For instance, if you choose to drive, you'll have a lot less traffic and more parking available, and probably for a cheaper price, because the other people will be riding the bus. Better bus systems means more mobility for poorer workers, which means better quality employees in the shops you see downtown. By making it easier for poor people to get jobs, it makes it less likely for people to fall off the edge and become homeless, meaning fewer homeless people in your downtown area; which in turn means lower cost for police, health, and social services, which means lower crime / better service for you.
Now, maybe you don't care about those benefits, or maybe you don't think your taxes will achieve all those benefits. But if most of the people in your city do think that, then it's fair for them to expect you to pay your share.
Moreover, consider this:
> If I'm the only person in the [city] who thinks wide streets and highways for cars are too expensive, too bad, I still have to pay it.
Streets and traffic lights and parking spaces and traffic enforcement and all the infrastructure needed for cars aren't free; your car ride into the city is being subsidized. If it's not fair for you to subsidize bus-riders, why is it fair for bus-riders to subsidize you?
A citizen deciding not to take the bus makes the bus less efficient in some ways too.
Welcome to Socialism as Bernie Sanders wrongly calls us Swedes.
You pay for a "package" of benefits, you don't use all of them all of the time but on average everyone is happy.
Which rarely happens in my opinion.
This is not meant to discount the effort - better public transport helps everyone, even people who don't use it (by reducing congestion). I'm just skeptical that it will last, without a serious acceptance that something else will have to give in the local budget, or taxes will have to go up.
The ridiculous thing in the UK case is the Tory reforms permitted London transport to keep their subsidy, but elsewhere must survive without. The one place not needing subsidy should be London. Even with the return of trams, the regional public transport networks are a fraction of what they once were, and nearly all routes are markedly more than London prices. Yet the need is very clearly there.
That wouldn't be because the existence of these programs is absolutely antithetical to a certain side in politics, would it?
I've talked to local government reps about schemes like this, and the challenge that's always thrown back at me is without pricing, how do you regulate demand?
Currently, you normally pay a scaled fee based on distance of journey for public transort. The minimum is quite high, and that prevents you from taking a short trip. With free, how do you stop people using a bus for very short trips meaning you need more vehicles that are then empty for long trips?
In London we have a 'fare hopper' system for the busses. £1.50 and you can take as many trips as you like within an hour. Or you could stay on the bus for the entire day (if you really wanted too) and just go round and round and it would only cost you the initial £1.50.
So the cost doesn't scale with your journey time/length, and if you're popping to the shops or somewhere nearish you can often make the return trip within the hour and you only get charged the first £1.50.
Very rarely is the distance travelled short enough that £1.50 feels like an over charge or lack of value.
I guess my point is, £1.50 isn't quite free - but it is low enough that it encourages use of busses. Once the initial fee is paid, within an hour any extra trips are free. It works brilliantly.
The issue of 'how do you discourage short trips' is a non-issue based on my experience of how the busses work in London, imo. It would be an interesting case study to put infront of those who think regulating demand is the blocker here.
I suggested making the stops further apart!
When I lived in Seattle, and outside Seattle, I was always impressed that Sound Transit lived up to its mandate as a transit agency, and not a revenue source. Its mission was to move people around. To that end, if you didn't have any money (forgot your wallet, too drunk to remember where you left your Orca card, too poor to pay, etc...) the bus drivers would give you zero hassle and let you board.
In contrast, I can't count the number of times I've seen clearly poor people kicked off of the buses in Chicago because they couldn't afford to pay. That just seems wrong. There should be some sort of income line below which you are entitled to free public transit.
Downtown Seattle has gone down hill since the 90s/00s. It used to be a nice place to shop and do stuff, but the last time I was downtown there was hardly anything to do beyond tourist traps. I guess a lot of this is amazon destroying in person retail, ironically enough.
Yes, Seattle discontinued its mobile homeless shelter program.
I suspect they also make some of the money "back" from people taking the bus to/from a Metro (subway) stop, where you now have to buy a ticket since you no longer have a transfer.
What makes you believe so? The better coverage public system has, the less effective it is. At very low coverage, where you cover only a handful of popular routes, it is indeed much cheaper than private SOV transport. At the other extreme, where you have a regular bus coming every hour to every house in very sparsely populated area, it wil obviously be very expensive and inefficient. Thus, somewhere between these two extremes, there must be a break even point. Public transit can be definitely be cheaper and more effective, but it isn’t always automatically so.
Yes, if you arbitrarily exclude the labor, which is a big fraction of the total cost, and conveniently assume enough demand (capacity factor) to cover for higher vehicle costs and higher fuel costs, then yes, public transit will be cheaper. That's what I meant when I said that for highly popular routes it will be more cost-effective.
In real world scenario though this rarely works out for real systems out there. For example, I live in Seattle. The metro bus system is quite extensive and offers good coverage, by national standards. The bus fare here is $2.75 per ride. The farebox recovery is 27%. This means that to cover all operational costs of the bus, the fare would have to be $10.20. Suffice to say, it is much more expensive than total cost of owning and driving a car, as long as your trip is less than 20 miles. Bus trips this long are here absolutely miserable: 20 miles bus ride in practice means at least one transfer, and so instead of 20-30 minute drive, you're looking at 1:30h journey, assuming no traffic of course.
Let's say that the city got 10 times more buses i.e. 10,000 total. That's 100 people per bus, which should be adequate for everyone to use transit, even with the constraints of how bad the city design is (really wide roads, too many curves and deadends, spread out suburbia). Buses cost about half a million which is maybe 25x the cost of a car. So, the 10k buses would be equivalent to about 0.25 million cars in terms of capital cost. Which is a factor of 4 improvement on the number of cars in terms of capital cost.
But, reduced capital costs is evidently not what people in developed economies are actually necessarily after. Turns out, people are perfectly happy to spend extra resources to acquire exclusivity rights to a vehicle, because of flexibility it affords them. Having a private transport allows you to go where you want, when you want, and in almost all circumstances do it much faster than via a bus. The opportunity cost of time spent walking to bus station, waiting for a bus, and then taking longer to travel is for many people very significant, thus they pay for private transportation to recover some of that time.
Cost is not the whole story.
Electric buses are starting to become a thing too.
Obviously mass transit makes less sense without the masses, in cases like that there are many places that offer community bus services that operate more like taxis. You call and say you want a pick up and the bus will pickup and drop off anyone else along the way. Think uber pool but half a century older.
There are even private companies that run free shuttles just to get old ladies pumping their pensions into poker machines.
And the article states "Styling itself as a “laboratory” of free transport, Dunkirk has attracted an “incessant” stream of visitors intrigued at whether it could work in their cities, says Delevoye.". That's just poor journalism.
Everything else would have surprised me.
What annoys me with Melbourne's public transport is that people taking short trips essentially subsidise those taking longer trips. It costs me almost $5 to go one stop on the train from Richmond to Flinders St, a 5 minute trip. It's also the same price for me to take a train all the way to Sandringham, which is 45 minutes.
Yeah, I hear you on the short trips. I just wish the state would take over Metro and Yarra and provide all of them for free
That's how it should be. Public transport should simply be considered a public good deliverable free or nearly free by government, like footpaths or parks or Medicare. It should be considered a basic function of society - and if you want to go private, you pay.
And if you don't have a car then you should have free public transport just because it's a just thing to do when you are paying for the free public transport for rich car owners.
(No clue how you would manage that situation—get on for in-town, but stay for extra miles. But it’s my imagination, so whatevers).
When I lived in SF, once in a while I’d hop on the Cable Cars for a free ride.
My town has a $2/free-senior citizen bus, too. But it runs only a few trips a day, and it’s a one-way circuit.
Free in-town public transport is a big idea I wish was realistic for more places.
In big cities, the police uses ticket control as an excuse to arrest migrants. The process goes like: 1. stop all black people (only those) at the exit of the metro 2. ask for ticket 3. if they don't have a ticket, ask for ID 4. if they don't have ID, take them away for ID check / deportation.
So why check for transport tickets, you may ask? Because stopping all black people on the streets would be obvious illegal discrimination. The ticket is the legal justification for the ID check.
Here's a press article from over a decade ago about those police raids (french language):
Would the only cars left on the road be Ubers/Lyfts and tourist taxis?
As it is price to own a car in NYC is very expensive: $150ish insurance, $500ish parking, and lets say for a $300/lease thats almost ~$1K/month. Free good public transport system would drive many to car-free life.
I’m not seeing where the $1000/mo incentive you’re describing is coming from? An unlimited MTA card is $127. Nobody is paying for a car if the subway serves their needs.
For this reason you see people put their bikes on the bus rack and use both.
I for one welcome our new communist overlords.
Even in the US, the majority of education provision is free or subsidised, and 19% of Americans have free or subsidised healthcare.
Social democracies believe that our large, common problems should have common solutions which benefit everyone and society as a whole. That's nothing to do with communism.
> it will be money pit
This is not a given at all. You have to consider the cost of enforcing the payment system. If transport is free you don't have to maintain the turnstiles and gates, employ verification agents, create cards, print tickets, etc. It's not clear at all that fares are covering this cost by themselves. Public transport is already greatly subsidized and already free or cheap for large parts of the population (elderly, disabled, unemployed, students, children).