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View Poll Results: Should public transportation be free?
Yes 21 20.19%
No 69 66.35%
That depends on what form of transportation 14 13.46%
Voters: 104. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-24-2014, 07:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blktoptrvl View Post
Everyone knows that public transportation is subsidized by taxpayers, but then, so is every other form of transportation.

So the question really is...

Is public transportation adequately subsidized for our collective goals. In towns where pollution and congestion are huge problems, i would say that public transportation should be free or as close to as possible - especially along those routes that relieve the most traffic. This is for the good of all.

In places where pollution and congestion are not an issue, the riders should bear the heaviest cost.
In practice it is just the opposite. In New York, where driving even a block is a challenge, fares are quite high. In places where traffic rarely jams, fares tend to be low, often ridiculously so.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:07 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,988 posts, read 41,959,650 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
In practice it is just the opposite. In New York, where driving even a block is a challenge, fares are quite high. In places where traffic rarely jams, fares tend to be low, often ridiculously so.
NYC is a flat rate: $2.50 / ride. Monthly is higher than most systems, though. $112. Small city and systems with poor coverage are cheaper. My local system is $1.25 / ride or about $40 / monthly. But among sizable transit systems, prices don't vary by that much.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:38 PM
 
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Nothing is ever free; someone pays. That is the problem with pubic transport those using it do not want to pay .
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
Nothing is ever free; someone pays. That is the problem with pubic transport those using it do not want to pay .
There are always a few cheaters, but most riders are willing to pay the fare. One problem uncovered at one system is the crew wasn't always collecting the fares, particularly the last few stops on inbound runs.
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:37 AM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Only between 10 AM - 4 PM
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
There are always a few cheaters, but most riders are willing to pay the fare. One problem uncovered at one system is the crew wasn't always collecting the fares, particularly the last few stops on inbound runs.
Or the crew is so overwhelmed they can not collect fare in an reasonable time before the next station. Metra sometimes had this problem on an route I used to take.
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:16 PM
 
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IMO transit should be free in the downtown area a "fareless square" that a few US cities already have but other than that some variable fare system should probably be in place with the price high enough to discourage overcrowding (or recoup enough revenue to add more service) during rush hour but low enough to keep the buses/trains close to full for most of the off-peak hours.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:59 PM
 
4,649 posts, read 3,613,739 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
This is true. The baby boomers (and even younger folks born into the 1960s) lived in times where they were the government subsidized everything to the point where they were handed everything for free or cheap. And now they've just come to expect it. A pity indeed.
Baby boomers were born into the '60s (actually 1964) and by today's standards, the millennial generation is the ''expectation'' generation. Today's college grads+ expect everything handed to them; the boomers shared 1 bathroom with families of 9 kids and two parents. By the way, no to fee public transportation. Philly lets seniors ride free during off-peak hours and regional rail is something like a $1.00, again, off-peak.
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Old 09-26-2014, 09:16 PM
 
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Where I live, transit is free on New Year's Eve, to prevent inebriated folks from driving home. I think something like that would be supported by most people.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,975 posts, read 4,079,995 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blktoptrvl View Post
Everyone knows that public transportation is subsidized by taxpayers, but then, so is every other form of transportation.

So the question really is...

Is public transportation adequately subsidized for our collective goals. In towns where pollution and congestion are huge problems, i would say that public transportation should be free or as close to as possible - especially along those routes that relieve the most traffic. This is for the good of all.

In places where pollution and congestion are not an issue, the riders should bear the heaviest cost.
Profitable or Not, China Doubles Down on Investments in New Metro Systems « The Transport Politic

"It seems more likely that Chinese officials recognize that the metro investments, in addition to offering an important economic stimulus, providepositive externalities that outweigh the subsidies that will be required to maintain the systems. By setting fares low, the metro lines are able to attract higher ridership and passengers from across the income spectrum. Even in the densest, most-packed city centers, metro systems allow largely congestion-free mobility that is able to handle far more people and provide faster service than equivalent tramway or BRT programs. There is a reason these projects have proven so popular among China’s citizens. The transportation benefits they offer certainly contribute to economic growth in the center of the cities they serve and likely limit the suburbanization of jobs."

Shanghai metro charges a nominal amount of $.25 on it's system, despite having seen operating and construction costs increase on par with the West.

Positive externalities are rarely discussed when mass transit is criticized for losing money. And yet the most (all?) highways in the US are valuable only because of they provide some very critical positive externalities (trucks can deliver your goods, you can get to work, ambulances can get to you, ect.). However once the roads get congested, these positive externalities of the roads either level off or perhaps slightly decrease (people get stuck in traffic and arrive late, people spend more of their time on the road, property values stagnate since people don't want to deal with all the traffic, you probably don't have enough easy, convenient parking at this point).

At this point, your mass transit system can be a vital asset in terms of the positive externalities (more people and businesses can fit in to the city, more space on the road for all the trucks and emergency vehicles, some people have faster commutes than they would sitting in traffic, some people actually have productive commutes, ect.) and the more people riding, the better. If we lowered or eliminated the fares, would the positive externalities make up for some if not all of this "lost" revenue?

We treat highways as systems that should have the maximum number of users and maximum positive impact for the investment we've already put in to build+maintain. Why should we treat mass transit systems so different, especially in situations where the highways are already over capacity and congested and can't easily be expanded?
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