U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
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

Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-15-2014, 12:25 PM
 
2,348 posts, read 3,926,038 times
Reputation: 2199

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stripes17 View Post
I'd rather go the opposite way and say that EVERYONE should pay the actual fare. When I lived in NoVA, the gov't workers and others in the public sector were getting highly reduced fares on the transit rail. All of us other joe's had to pay normal fare. So not only did I pay for my ride, but my taxes paid for the rails and the subsidies given to some of the riders. To heck with that!
Which rail system in NoVa? Because it sure is not the VRE nor Metro, gov workers do not get a special fare on those. The only special fares are for seniors, disabled, groups rates, and youths.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-15-2014, 12:32 PM
 
2,348 posts, read 3,926,038 times
Reputation: 2199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post
I wouldn't call 50% majority, unless you like rounding up.

Roads are more subsidized than transit, especially when you figure in all the hidden expenses (pollution, congestion, lost productivity, health care costs, less profits for local businesses, etc.).
Roads are what makes the economy, without it, delivery services would not run, emergency services, etc, every modernized nation in the world has an outstanding road service.

You can harp on mass transit all day long, it still will not change the point that mass transit is the most subsidized of all forms of transportation.

And in your utopia's of mass transit countries like Japan and those countries in Europe, guess what, they have an equally, if not better, road network. Mass transit requires...you guess it, roads. Those buses do not hover over land.

If it was not for people using the roads, mass transit systems would be scrambling for money. If it were not for such a great road network, our economy would not be near what it is today. Everything we do, can be done thanks to roads. You do not receive your mail, food, employment, etc without roads. Mass transit systems do not operate without roads existing. I have yet see a bus operate without a road, or a train not have a road to bring people to the train stations, or parts get to the train without a road.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-15-2014, 01:16 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
Reputation: 14810
Quote:
Originally Posted by k350 View Post
I have yet see a bus operate without a road, or a train not have a road to bring people to the train stations, or parts get to the train without a road.
Some train systems (in particular, rapid transit systems) have ridership almost entirely from people walking to the train station with few park and riders. I guess you could count sidewalks as roads, but considering how much narrower and less construction and space needed for them, that would be rather silly.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-15-2014, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,071 posts, read 16,094,154 times
Reputation: 12647
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Some train systems (in particular, rapid transit systems) have ridership almost entirely from people walking to the train station with few park and riders. I guess you could count sidewalks as roads, but considering how much narrower and less construction and space needed for them, that would be rather silly.
Do they really?

They really don't here although I suppose it could be different on the East Coast, especially for New York. I still suspect that most people are taking some type of mechanized transportation, be it car or bus or even bicycle, to get to the train station in the suburbs of New York. I could be totally wrong in that though. BART is the only one I'm really familiar with, and it has oceans of parking and not nearly enough. It also has a lot of bus routes that feed into it. Outside of San Francisco and Oakland, it's basically something you drive to or maybe take a bus. Very few people walk there. San Francisco/Oakland is more mixed. Probably a large percentage are walking rather than taking transit and driving is going to be a negligible number. Oakland does have Coliseum which has an ocean of free parking and Fruitvale with a fairly large paid lot. Like almost all BART lots, they fill up early in the morning. The others mostly have smaller lots.

Once you get to the suburbs, however, they're basically park and ride.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-15-2014, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,702 posts, read 4,673,493 times
Reputation: 3681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post
People who do not take public transportation are greatly benefited by it though. Less traffic congestion, less pollution, and less health care costs (cities with extensive public transit have significantly lower obesity rates).



Irrelevant. Public transit isn't a market; it is infrastructure. The residuals of public transit far outweigh the operating costs. The OP's proposal is to just completely fund public transit out of the general fund.



All the taxes you pay for road keep never paid the entire costs. Driving is highly subsidized (to the tune of roughly 50%). It is also a net drain on society with low residuals compared to public transit.
Oh geez, this argument again. Driving is LESS subsidized than mass transit. In my area about 50% of the cost of roads is covered by gas taxes, but the dirty secret there is that a LOT of money from gas taxes is redirected to mass transit, which plays a big part in the shortfall. Drivers pay a far bigger share of the road costs than do mass transit riders to the costs of their trains, buses, etc.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-15-2014, 01:46 PM
 
Location: USA
276 posts, read 390,233 times
Reputation: 320
I'd actually ask a little bit different question, myself.

Should mass transit be govt. controlled?

It seems to me the only people who would even entertain the idea that perhaps, it should be "free" to use are coming from the standpoint that government provides it to people as some kind of service.

Well, fine, but as people already pointed out here -- mass transit doesn't typically turn a profit. It actually operates at large losses, which govt. subsidizes to keep it going. So even WITH charging fares for use, it's typically a net loss for govt.

I'm still of the opinion that mass transit options CAN be profitable -- but not convinced it works when government is deeply entrenched in it. Take AmTrak rail as a great example. It was ONCE a profitable, private business venture. But some time in the early 1970's, the rise in popularity of truck deliveries and use of personal automobiles for commuting caused it to go in the hole. Federal govt. picked up the slack to keep it operational, and dumps millions of dollars a year into it to keep it afloat ever since.

Now, if you actually surveyed folks and said, "Hey... What would make you pay to take AmTrak again?" - I think you'd get all kinds of useful suggestion and info. It's clear that "doing what we've always done, yet expecting different results" is insanity -- but that's what our govt. keeps paying for.

If you had a private investor with deep pockets, willing to invest in buying the whole thing and revamping it into something that could be a money-maker again? I think you'd see massive changes and improvements that would actually work. Our govt. lacks that motivation.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-15-2014, 01:53 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
Reputation: 14810
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Do they really?

They really don't here although I suppose it could be different on the East Coast, especially for New York. I still suspect that most people are taking some type of mechanized transportation, be it car or bus or even bicycle, to get to the train station in the suburbs of New York. I could be totally wrong in that though. BART is the only one I'm really familiar with, and it has oceans of parking and not nearly enough. It also has a lot of bus routes that feed into it. Outside of San Francisco and Oakland, it's basically something you drive to or maybe take a bus. Very few people walk there. San Francisco/Oakland is more mixed. Probably a large percentage are walking rather than taking transit and driving is going to be a negligible number. Oakland does have Coliseum which has an ocean of free parking and Fruitvale with a fairly large paid lot. Like almost all BART lots, they fill up early in the morning.
I forgot about bus transfers.

The NYC subway system is run as a separate system from the commuter rail. The NYC subway system has no park and rides, though some may street park and then ride. I've done that once, but those users can't be very many. I don't know how to figure out how much people are taking bus + subway, I'd expect it's a decent chunk of the ridership in Queens and not so important elsewhere. The suburban commuter rail is majority park and ride, though some inner suburban stations get a decent amount of walkers, maybe even a majority. Philly's subway isn't that extensive and I think has few park and rides. I suspect more would take a direct bus than bus + subway, so it's mostly walking. I know about an MBTA study estimated 20% of Boston riders drive to get to the station, most of the park and riders are concentrated in a few outer segments that most of the more urban residents wouldn't use. I'd guess bus transfer riders are a minority but I don't know by how much. DC metro is about half drive, but I can't remember the bus amount. Usually the densest areas with the best coverage use transit at higher rates, so walkers are probably a majority of riders. For San Francisco's MUNI I'd assume most people walk, but it's not really worth taking a bus to a MUNI train.

I also wasn't limiting to the US, I probably make a longer list if I went through European cities. The inner half or so of the London Underground is probably almost all walkers, but further out, some bus + subway and a few park and ride (or drop off and ride).

Edit: I found an Internet source in the mid 90s claiming 9% of NYC subway riders lived in "two fare zones", where they'd have to take a bus to get to the subway. This was before free bus to subway transfers were introduced.

Last edited by nei; 09-15-2014 at 02:38 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-15-2014, 01:53 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,902 posts, read 42,154,529 times
Reputation: 43305
Amtrak was never profitable. In fact, it was formed from the wreckage of the bankrupt passenger lines. The thought was that passenger rail was a social good and had to be maintained.

Amtrak could today be profitable if it got rid of the non-performing lines and kept the profit making ones.

That won't happen because the thought is that passenger rail is a social good and has to be maintained.

Until deregulation in the late 1970s even the freight lines were going bankrupt, ConRail was formed from what survived from the Pennsylvania RR and New York Central, plus some smaller lines. It didn't make a profit for years until it abandoned underutilized routes and made itself profitable. It was then bought, by CSX mostly.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-15-2014, 02:08 PM
 
7,846 posts, read 5,292,068 times
Reputation: 4025
Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
Oh geez, this argument again. Driving is LESS subsidized than mass transit. In my area about 50% of the cost of roads is covered by gas taxes, but the dirty secret there is that a LOT of money from gas taxes is redirected to mass transit, which plays a big part in the shortfall. Drivers pay a far bigger share of the road costs than do mass transit riders to the costs of their trains, buses, etc.
Driving also is a net economic drain on society. Mass transit is not. I've already listed how

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Amtrak was never profitable. In fact, it was formed from the wreckage of the bankrupt passenger lines. The thought was that passenger rail was a social good and had to be maintained.

Amtrak could today be profitable if it got rid of the non-performing lines and kept the profit making ones.

That won't happen because the thought is that passenger rail is a social good and has to be maintained.

Until deregulation in the late 1970s even the freight lines were going bankrupt, ConRail was formed from what survived from the Pennsylvania RR and New York Central, plus some smaller lines. It didn't make a profit for years until it abandoned underutilized routes and made itself profitable. It was then bought, by CSX mostly.
It is in the NEC. Amtrak riders pay 88% of their user fees.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-15-2014, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,702 posts, read 4,673,493 times
Reputation: 3681
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Some train systems (in particular, rapid transit systems) have ridership almost entirely from people walking to the train station with few park and riders. I guess you could count sidewalks as roads, but considering how much narrower and less construction and space needed for them, that would be rather silly.
That must be in very particular areas- the vast, vast majority of systems in the US would be fed by park and rides. Our towns and cities are just not laid out in such a way that this type of "walk to the train" access would currently or ever exist in the future. I can definitely see that in places like New York and some parts of some other dense cities in the NE, but not almost anywhere else.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top