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.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how much ridership would really increase? Currently in Canada the only transit authority that breaks even is Toronto and every other municipality subsidises transit by a ration of at least 2 to 1.

    People don't use transit because of the cost, they don't use it because it's inconvinient, sometimes unsafe and unsuited to a lifestyle where you have to get from point A to B in time X.

    As well there is the issue of freezing outside while waiting for a bus. I would not expect transit to increase much even if you paid people.