Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Edmonton - Intelligent discussion of free public transit

If the main reasons to have a transit service are:
  1. To provide an alternative to the automobile
  2. To provide a service to those who choose not or cannot drive  
  3. To reduce traffic congestion
  4. To be more green compared to other transportation modes
Free transit would:
  1. To provide an alternative to the automobile at lower than current costs to the taxpayer  
  2. To provide a service to those who choose not or cannot drive without cost to who are often least able to pay  
  3. To reduce traffic congestion, higher ridership means less cars on the road  
  4. To be more green compared to other transportation modes, higher ridership and a transit system used at a higher capacity is more green
Edmonton PRT on the Forum

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Toronto - TTC Fare hike sparks outrage, organizing

I am sick of paying more for less. It's time people got together to voice their displeasure or rage - whatever it takes to get some attention by TTC management who continue to make ridiculous decisions. It's like they're giving the people of Toronto reasons not to take the TTC. In the meantime, I am fortunate enough to live and work downtown and walk almost everywhere. The other thing that gets to me is why I have to pay the same as someone traveling a far greater distance. Like, when the weather's bad and I just want to hop on and hop off. I almost obligated to go to Kipling or Warden and back just to get my money's worth. K.L. Commenting on TTCRiders Facebook
More links:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Canada an obstacle to climate progress

...So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petro-state. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush...George Monbiot - Guardian

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kawartha Lakes, ON - Week of Free Transit Proposed

Dean Bolton, manager of fleet and transit, has written a report that proposes the public ride free for that week in an effort to promote the city's transit system. He writes that it is common practice in other municipalities to offer free service at various times during the year.

The city's transit advisory committee initiated the request, Bolton indicates. He said if ridership is increased, then the municipality will qualify for more gas tax funding from the province. The Lindsay Post

Thursday, November 19, 2009

London: Set the fares at Zero!

...All London ratepayers (through local taxes and transfers from the federal and provincial levels of government) should pay the full cost of public transit, whether they use it or not. That would create the meaningful disincentive that’s needed to get people out of cars and into buses.

In addition to the elimination of the costs that are associated with the procurement and maintenance of fare boxes, the production/sales & distribution/operating costs of the various forms of fares, the reduction of cars on our roads would have a HUGE positive impact on costs like assessing, creating, maintaining, widening, and extending roads. And what HUGE value should be attributed to the reduction that would take place in the amount of toxic emissions that are currently polluting our atmosphere? Especially if the LTC and the City would take a serious look at LRT (light rail transit)?... Greg Fowler, London, Ontario

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What are we thinking?

Do we really need scientific data to know that the tar sands projects are wrong?
photo from Enviralment

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Even No One Care of Us..."

Even No One Care of Us, We Can start to Care Each Other and Nature First.’” – from the children of Sidhi Astu Orphanage House, Tuka, Bali, Indonesia, Climate Day of Action

Friday, October 30, 2009

SK - Public transit should be free for all students

When the people of Saskatchewan take back the government of this province, by electing the NDP, it will be more important than ever to help students, and the environment. As such, the NDP should commit to subsidizing municipalities dollar-for-dollar for each student pass for public transportation. Students would then be able to get a transportation pass for zero dollars. This would have significant effects by decreasing traffic congestion, pollution, as well as student expenses. HumbleOpinion

Monday, October 5, 2009

Canada blocks climate progress

...One would think, hope, etc, that the United Nations is an efficient and effective playground for ideas and decisions that ultimately impact the world for the better. Today in plenary, the main hall in talks that include all countries, Canada dragged out the conversation for a little longer than I would deem allowable, even by democratic standards.... ZoëCaron,ForSerious?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Don't blame poor people for global warming

...Many of the emissions for which poorer countries are blamed should in fairness belong to the developed nations. Gas flaring by companies exporting oil from Nigeria, for instance, has produced more greenhouse gases than all other sources in sub-Saharan Africa put together. Even deforestation in poor countries is driven mostly by commercial operations delivering timber, meat and animal feed to rich consumers. The rural poor do far less harm.
... People breed less as they become richer, but they don't consume less - they consume more. As the habits of the super-rich show, there are no limits to human extravagance. Consumption can be expected to rise with economic growth until the biosphere hits the buffers. Anyone who understands this and still considers that population, not consumption, is the big issue is, in Lovelock's words, "hiding from the truth". It is the worst kind of paternalism, blaming the poor for the excesses of the rich.
George Monbiot - via CommonDreams

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Streets are for People !

...we live in a de-mockery and no matter how much we could be Barcelona, we choose to be Destroit instead. Our politicians will cheat us into thinking they care about the health of the city, the planet and our bodies, while they subsidize the status quo of car culture. The people of our city are held hostage by their inaction. Help us! Streets are for People

Friday, September 11, 2009

Laval, PQ - Free Ride for Seniors?

In its newly-released electoral platform, the Parti au Service du Citoyen, ... is proposing that ... there be free public transit for seniors and parents travelling 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. TheLavalNews

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cars cause wildfires

...It comes down to this: if you are driving a personal motor vehicle, you are not green.... NewColonist

Saturday, August 29, 2009

C02: Atteindre 60 % de réduction

En ce début de siècle il est impératif de s'attaquer aux gaz à effet de serre. L'objectif de cette lutte consiste à empêcher que la température globale n'augmente de plus de 2 degrés celcius. Pour véritablement contrer le dérèglement du climat il faudra réduire de 60% la quantité de CO2 produite annuellement.

Supprimons la tarification des transports en commun !

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Public Values publishes free transit article

Hasselt, Belgium Free Buses

Public Values ( is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication

Public Values on 18-Aug posted Dave Olsen's article about Free Public Transit in Hasselt, Belgium. The case of Hasselt shows convincingly that free transit pays back to the community many times over the cost of the initial investment. Dave does a great job of telling the story.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Global warming - time running out for human race

...Most of Canada will continue to become warmer with increased violent storms and rain in the east. Areas of the southern Prairies will become more arid. The Arctic will experience melting permafrost and melting ice sheets....

...What are not clearly understood are the impacts of feedbacks that will drive global warming faster and farther. Permafrost melting, for instance, will release vast amounts of methane, a powerful GHG, while the warming of the ocean will reduce its capacity to absorb GHGs....

Monday, July 20, 2009

259-car pileup in Germany - enough is enough

At least 66 people have been injured in a mass pile-up involving 259 cars on a motorway in north Germany, police say. Ten people are said to be fighting for their lives in hospital after the series of crashes on the A2 between Hanover and Peine on Sunday evening. Police said the pile-up was believed to have been caused by a combination of heavy rain and excessive speed. Rescue workers were busy throughout the night treating the injured and clearing damaged cars from the motorway. BBC

In Germany, the private auto today caused tremendous pain and suffering. But we know this goes on day after day everywhere on a smaller scale. What will it take for you to get involved? The auto is literally killing us. It kills in so many ways. Join your local transit advocacy group. Make transit fare-free. Declare independence from the auto, oil-wars, and global warming.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grand River Environmental Network: Build LRT, make it free.

...Service should be free. Public transportation and roads are both built and maintained by tax dollars. We do not pay tolls to use our roads; we should not pay to use public transit. ...

.....The Region of Waterloo has the opportunity now, with support from both the provincial and federal governments, to raise the bar and create a world-standard setting transportation system that can do more than just move people. Indeed, without it, it is difficult to envision a healthy, sustainable future for our community..... CambridgeAdvocate

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fare-free is actually cheaper

"...Now some people would argue that free public transit would overburden the system, there wouldn't be enough buses, they would get too crowded. That's completely retarded, that's exactly the outcome you *want*. You buy more buses!

I believe it may actually be cheaper in the long run. If you have more people on public transit you don't have to spend as much making new roads everywhere, people buy fewer cars saving them tons of money, we pollute less and have to spend less on reducing CO2, etc. there are tons of long term savings that are hard to quantify. ..." cbloomrants

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Toronto - Nuit Blanche needs free public transit

And what about the TTC? True the commission managed grudgingly to extend selected routes into the night, but the service should have been free and there should have been more of it. Who knows, perhaps the TTC would have attracted new riders by using the occasion to show how convenient and efficient it is. (On the other hand, it's more likely those one-time passengers left the subway happier than ever to get back into their cars.)
Above all, Nuit Blanche revealed the growing gap between the people who live in this city and those who run it. Torontonians are light years ahead of their leaders in understanding what it means to inhabit an urban centre. And unlike the nabobs, residents are well aware that the 1950s are over.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vancouver car-free day brings out fare-free advocates

...Making public transit a free ride (paid for through taxes or some way other than fares) was the most popular concept of all. Several participants mentioned free-fare initiatives in Portland and Seattle and asking why Vancouver can't do something similar. It was certainly evident that transit in Vancouver is a hot topic of discussion and will continue to be in the near future.... The Tyee

Friday, June 12, 2009

Free transit roaring success

...At first the mayor had his detractors. He was nicknamed “Steve Stunt” when his free bus scheme first went into operation. But the results of his policies speak for themselves: by 2006, use of public transport in Hasselt had increased thirteenfold. The ease of getting around is an enormous boost for business – and because most of these businesses are locally owned, the money stays in the community....New Statesman

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chattanooga, TN, USA, free downtown shuttle

The Downtown Electric Shuttle is the easiest way to get around Downtown Chattanooga. It's a FREE ride! Electric buses run daily* about every 5 minutes from the Chattanooga Choo Choo to the Tennessee Aquarium with stops every block in between. Convenient access to the attractions, convention center, shopping, hotels & employment sites in the Downtown area. All Shuttle buses are wheelchair accessible. In service since 1992, CARTA’s Downtown Shuttle service has recorded over 11.3 million passenger trips. The quiet, environmentally friendly, electric buses have run more than 1.9 million miles saving an estimated 65 tons of pollutants. Link

Friday, June 5, 2009

Oil will be USD 200 per barrel by 2012

"Today, in the midst of the worst crisis of the last 60 years, the barrel is traded at just over $ 60 ... Not need a degree in economics to imagine how much it will cost when the recession is over, when people find a job, when they resume driving ... "
At $ 100 within 12 months following an economic upturn, and then to $ 200 by 2012, he says. (Google translate)

«Aujourd'hui, en plein milieu de la pire crise des 60 dernières années, le baril s'échange à un peu plus de 60$... Pas besoin d'un diplôme en économie pour imaginer combien il coûtera quand la récession sera finie, quand les gens retrouveront un emploi, quand ils recommenceront à conduire...»
À combien, justement? How, exactly? À 100$ dans les 12 mois suivant une relance économique, puis à 200$ d'ici 2012, estime-t-il. (la presse affaires - Quebec)

other blogs commenting: Carfree France - Vélorution

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Re-imagine car culture

"We don't really like our car-dominated cities. We prefer places that are dense, lively and walkable -- the places we tend to go to on vacation, such as the old centres of European cities, with interesting buildings, narrow streets, squares and public art. But because we have made our cities barely navigable without cars, we have no idea how to remake them in a more pleasing form..." The Star Phoenix (Saskatchewan)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First, they ignore you...

Sudir - ... a person travelling in public transport is doing public good, thus he should be given preference. He should be allowed to ride comfortably while the city pays for his ticket. So yes, I think it’s a valid reason. Public transport should be free and comfortable.
Bert – The idea may not look exciting at the start and some people may mock us for this. But I think this should be given serious thought. When we put all the facts and the environmentally good factors, all the pieces of puzzle would fit together. Remember Gandhi’s quote – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win!!!! For now, hold your wallet and push yourself inside the train… Clean Air Initiative - Asia

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stockholm, Sweden - Fare-free movement growing

  • Groups (, Friends of the Earth, The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) began to work against planned city highways around Stockholm
  • The Swedish left party started to support the idea of free public transport
  • The newly formed climate alliance Klimataktion started to support the idea of free public transport
  • Free Public Transport Day was celebrated for the first time on 2008/03/01
  • The climate action group Klimax arranged ‘climate crashes’
  • Groups (, Friends of the Earth, the youth section of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) arranged an anti-highway weekend
  • Groups (, Klimax) organized a lot of actions against the car lobby during Almedalsveckan (an annual meetup of politicians and lobbyists)
  • participated in the European Social Forum in Malmo and hosted a well-attended “Building a public transport network” meeting
  • The concept of an international network for free public transport was conceived
  • A report called “Travel doesn’t have to cost the earth” was released (5 concrete measures to make Stockholm’s transport sector climate-smart and socially just)
  • successfully engaged in a political action to oppose proposed “stop the free-riding” barriers Read more...FMBS

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cars waste your money

But the bottom line is household economics. American families who are car-dependent spend 25 percent of their household income on their fleet of cars, compared with just 9 percent for transportation for those who live in walkable urban places. That potential 16 percent[age points] savings could go into improved housing (building household wealth), educating children or that most un-American of all activities, saving. NYTimes

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Australia - Free public transport coming for NSW?

...The move could save hundreds of millions in staffing costs, ticket-machine operations and abolish the trouble-plagued smartcard...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bangkok Tourist Attraction - Free Buses

73 Bus Routes in Bangkok, Thailand are fare-free. Look for the red bus with the blue and white sign. For a list of other cities with free public transit: click here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fare-free transit proposed for Australia

The Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) Chairman Scott Grenda has called for the Commonwealth to get more involved in public transport to deliver better outcomes for the Australian economy, environment and community... run a trial of free public transport, effectively subsidising the current fare revenue collected by the states, through a one-off annual payment by the Federal Government... Australasian Bus and Coach

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What will the electric car burn?

Here is the progress report of renewable energy sources in the U.S. The chart is derived from U.S. EIA data and shows percent of total domestic energy. Electric cars will necessarily burn mostly fossil fuels. The electric car will still continue most of the negatives of the gasoline-powered car and introduce new ones of its own.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Public transit good for the heart

"A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia suggests taking public transit may help you keep fit. The study, published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, finds that people who take public transit are three times more likely than those who don't to meet the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's suggested daily minimum of physical activity...."Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group Blog.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stop the electric car

There are worldwide 55 million net new cars every year. What if they were all electric? Would we be better off?

We want to drop tailpipe emissions (more on this later), but the exhaust we're spewing is really only the beginning of the story. We can't see most of the ecological and social impacts of our auto-dependence in our daily lives. And those impacts are so massive that arguing about fuel efficiency standards (especially in terms of gradual increases) fails to acknowledge what we're up against with this crisis. Alex Steffen WorldChanging

Thursday, March 19, 2009

BC Greens nominate public transit advocate

Stephen Rees has been involved at the community level in Greater Vancouver for five years as a member of the Livable Region Coalition, campaigning against the Gateway programme and in favour of Rail for the Valley. He was recently voted No
1 political blogger in BC (
“The Green movement represents the world’s future, as without sustainability we have no future,” said Rees. “I know that I can be an active agent for change and am proud to represent a platform that wisely combines sustainability and environmental protection with economic reality. Integral to the comprehensive platform that I will be supporting will be much better planning of land use and transportation. If elected I will be visible, accessible and vocal on behalf of my constituents.” Stephen Rees

Monday, March 16, 2009

Investment blog sees stimulus benefit of free public transit

The plan would also have the added benefit of encouraging mass transit use (reducing traffic congestion) while lowering oil/gasoline consumption -- and the federal government would generate that increased efficiency without paying to laying one new mile of subway or light rail track and/or buying one new bus.Economic Analysis: Economist Kellner's free mass transit idea has merit on a number of counts. Especially relevant is the stimulus impact: it would be tantamount to providing additional fiscal stimulus, instantaneously, to millions of citizens, with the federal government later reimbursing the states and localities. It would also encourage more people to keep their cars off the road and use mass transit for work (and perhaps for other activities), and decrease the nation's carbon footprint. Kellner's idea is worth a review. BloggingStocks

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Auto vs Streetcar - Externalities

Source: Richiardi and Quaranta, 2005. Per inquinamento atmosferico si intendono i danni alla salute umana provocati dai seguenti inquinanti: SO 2 , NO x , PM, CO, COVNM. To air pollution means the damage to human health caused by the following pollutants: SO 2, NO x, PM, CO, NMVOC.
The choices of mobility are characterized not only by the costs of the different means of transport, from large external costs, which are not the user but by society, or on a part of it. The case of the costs associated with air pollution, noise, congestion, accidents and related health care costs, and finally the release of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. From this point of view, public transport, characterized by much lower costs than other modes of mobility, starting the car, not only useful to people using it, but even those not using it. This is why we often speak of the need to increase the use of public transport. Matteo Richiardi nelmerito

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Transit Ottawa - Benefits of fare-free public transit

Zero-fare public transit is a government-, taxation-, or business-sponsored transit service that doesn't require users to pay fees when boarding. The system could have a few possible benefits:

  • Reduced boarding times
  • Less fare-related aggression or disputes
  • Increased accessibility, especially for low-income residents
  • Community integration
  • Increased magnitude of regular transit's benefits

read more ... Transit Ottawa

Monday, March 9, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Planetizen publishes fare-free advocate

Dave Olsen has been a tireless advocate for free public transit for many years. His writing is succinct and inspiring. The link is here.

Dave's sites: Human Powered Ethical Environmental Consulting

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bring back the streetcar

There is little doubt that Vancouver’s transit system blows Calgary’s out of the water. Vancouver is usually declared Canada’s “most livable” city for good reason. It’s warm, green, culturally diverse and well planned. Much of the city’s liveability could easily be attributed to its well-oiled transit system. But the future of Vancouver’s transit system might not be in high tech trains–it might be in old-timey 19th century-style trolley car lines. - NewResilient

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis - VTPI

A major conclusion of this study is that a significant portion of transportation costs are currently either fixed or external, and so are inefficiently priced. This price structure provides an incentive to driving more in order to “get your money's worth.” Motor vehicle travel would decline significantly if prices reflected full costs. This overuse reduces social welfare and economic efficiency.
Inefficient pricing squanders much of the potential benefits of motor vehicle travel. Vehicle owners have little incentive to limit driving to trips in which benefits exceed total costs, resulting in wasteful travel behavior that reduces transport system performance. Underpriced driving results in congestion increasing until it constrains further traffic growth. Problems such as pollution and community degradation are virtually unavoidable with current pricing. VTPI Report

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Changning, China: Free Transit takes 10,000 vehicles off the road

Thanks to the free public buses, the number of passengers have increased from 10,000 to 50,000 per day, squeezing the survival space for illegal transportation. Meanwhile, transportation authorities have estimated that the number of private vehicles (including cars and motorcycles) on the road have dropped by 10,000 units per day.

The reduction in traffic flows, according to the local authorities, could help Changning city cut some 30,000 liters of fuel consumption per day. Economic Observer

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Free public transit reduces road costs

Advocates of the private auto and highways often argue that highway fuel taxes should be used only for road construction and maintenance. But think. What if investment in public transit reduces the need for road construction and maintenance. Isn't that better?

If mass transit in Canada were free for everyone, ridership would explode. Each year more people would take transit than the last year, thus justifying an increase in service and therefore attracting more people onto the buses and out of their cars. With this kind of feedback loop, it is feasible that between 50 and 70 percent of Canadians in cities of 20,000 people or more would choose to use mass transit as their primary transportation....

...If a universally free transit system is established and used, it will provide a great increase in the number of people that can travel on a given road at a time. Therefore the maintenance and upgrading costs of road infrastructure per capita will be dramatically reduced because each individual person requires a smaller portion of the road.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How to pay for free public transit

The oil industry is the most profitable and well-established industry in the world, they don’t need more subsidies! Oil companies have already benefited from more than 100 years of government support, they have accumulated trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure and capital, and they continue to earn hundreds of billions of dollars a year year. The oil industry already has a massive advantage over competing sources of energy. Governments should be working to level the playing field and encourage clean energy instead of protecting the interests of oil companies. Read more...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is Public Transit an Essential Service?

If you think that public transit is not important to the whole of society, then just wait for a strike. Suddenly, all those politicians who are against fully funding it discover how important it is. The blog "Challenging the Commonplace" took a look at their logic. Here are some excerpts:

If the Feds declare public transit an essential service... which looks to be about to happen, then mustn't the feds ensure public transit is provided to ALL Canadians, not just those in Ottawa?

However, IF the feds declare public transit an essential service in Ottawa, then it also sounds logical that public transit, as such, is an essential service to everyone, no matter where they live.

Am looking for consistency here - which, I realize, is a tough chore given the Harper Govt's record. - Chrystal Ocean

I don't understand why Health Canada allows the use of automobiles. There are more deaths and injuries to our citizens from automobile accidents than from listeria or plastic baby bottles. I think they should be pulled from the roads and streets.
Seriously. They cost us about $200 Billion to supply services to accomodate them and they foul our air, they make too much noise, they create far too much stress and they require too much energy. In the US, Americans kill themselves and each other 47,000 times a year. One road averages about a million dollars.
Add on police surveillance,parking lots and a few others like crime, courts and coroners adds up to about $398 Billion from the public purse.
Public transit is essential but it needs some redesigning and innovative thought.
8000 people were stranded at a Sky Train on Boxing night in Vancouver.I don't know how they all got home but I'll bet none of their fellow Canadians owning 4WDs, SUVs, pickups,etc. thought that they could help out. They were still complaining about their streets not being cleared fast enough so they could drive in to Horton's for their morning donuts and coffeee while idling away.
So don't get me going about public transit because I will tell you how angry about the lack of it for the love of automobiles.
Just how many more of these darn things are we going to allow on our planet anyways?
Essentially, the problem with transit is automobiles. - ml johnstone

Monday, January 5, 2009

Garden City Alliance for Sustainable Transportation

Four years ago, Randy Ouellette promised his co-workers that if gas ever got more expensive than 75 cents a litre, he'd ditch his car.
In December 2004, he was living in London, Ont., when gas hit the target, and Ouellette kept his promise.
...He estimates he is saving thousands of dollars a year in car payments, insurance, repair and fuel costs. But more importantly, he's enjoying the physical and emotional benefits of at least two brisk walks a day. Read more...