AJ Sadauskas

@TheOne From the article:

"After two successful test phases, the city’s decision has been made: bus and tram travel will become free for Montpellier’s residents. From December 2023, none will have to pay for public transport.

"In this way, the city aims to reduce air pollution, cut emissions and support disadvantaged groups.

"The measure is part of a 150 million euro package that also includes the construction of new bicycle lanes.

Anyone have thoughts on free public transport? Would it work in your city?


#planning #UrbanPlanning #transport #tram #trams #train #trains #ClimateCrisis #ClimatePolicy #railway #metro #cities

@ajsadauskas @TheOne - in #Queensland, the fare box revenue is so small, that eliminating the whole fare collection and enforcement would have a very minor effect on the budget, and could even be net positive if it lead to less driving (health, pollution, crashes, congestion) and more mobility.

The government keeps the full ongoing costs of the fare system secret, but we know for example that they spent A$371 million to add a payment by credit card option. Fare revenue in 2022: A$203m.

AJ Sadauskas

@tom_andraszek @TheOne Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, in theory, the logic of requiring a fare is that, as patronage increases, there’s more money to improve services.

So more passengers -> more fares -> more services -> more passengers -> more fares.

It’s a virtuous cycle.

As opposed to cars, where more passengers -> more traffic -> worse travel times.

That being said, there are good alternatives.

Properties close to public transport services tend to have higher property prices.

A small council rates levy or property tax can capture that value, and be used to pay for the service.

Another option is the Hong Kong Metro model, where the service generates a profit as a result of property development above and around the stations.

In theory, that revenue could be used to fund a public transport service.

@ajsadauskas @TheOne - yes, but the situation needs to be evaluated as a whole from the point of view of the user and trip: car vs PT vs active transport: marginal cost, door to door speed, quality, safety, comfort, availability. By making PT free, we would be making it a bit more competitive against car here. As it is, it loses to car in most categories for most trips, in #GoldCoast: 5% to 85%.

@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne I’d rather increase the frequency of PT before we remove fairs.

@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne I might also learn to spell one day 🤷‍♂️

AJ Sadauskas

@Danwwilson @tom_andraszek @TheOne I definitely agree that improving services should be a priority over removing fares.

Better to pay for a system that’s good than get a free ride on one that’s awful.

@ajsadauskas @tom_andraszek @TheOne I think it would be great to have a service that is as convenient as driving. I live near a major bus route working 6km of cbd as the bus goes, but can still wait up to 15 mins for a bus.

@ajsadauskas @Danwwilson @TheOne - sure, but in the Queensland example I gave removing fares may cost almost nothing.

Let’s say running 10 bus services per day costs $100 (driver+fuel), fares bring $20, card readers+ticket inspectors+software cost $10. Net: 100+10-20=$90. You can make it free: 100, or double services, net: 200+20-40=180, or double and free: 200.

Fares and services are weakly related. It’s not this OR that.

I know of one city where fares cover operating costs: Singapore.

@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne I don’t think people are entirely rational economic access-seeking actors on a per-trip basis. I’m more interested in the psychological difference between pay-per-trip (transit) and pay-once-a-year (car insurance, rates - plus monthly payments if you have a lease, but you can’t just not pay them if you don’t drive, it’s a long term commitment too).

@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne Free PT is one way to align payment frequency (well, remove the pay-per-trip and replace it with nothing), but another is discounted long term public transport passes, creating pre-commitment to taking public transport. And another, perhaps more politically difficult, is road fares per car trip…

Tom Andraszek

@jroper @ajsadauskas @TheOne - oh, people are definitely #PredictablyIrrational when making decisions - check out the 2008 book by Dan Ariely, especially the chapter about the disproportional power of free.

Yep, if you want people to use something less, make them pay for it every time they use it (there are no PT passes in Queensland).

Also, people rarely compare total car ownership costs, which some PT advocates are fixated on, vs fares. It’s per trip decision if you have a car already.

@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne Well not perhaps, obviously more difficult. Discounted monthly passes already used to exist, and I don’t see that they’re technically incompatible with smart-card systems.

Monthly or yearly passes could be salary sacrified and/or a welfare benefit, resulting in many people getting effectively free PT - but seeing it differently from general free PT, as a thing of value that they paid for/were given and should take advantage of… maybe.

AJ Sadauskas

@jroper @tom_andraszek @TheOne Discounted long-term passes for locals would be a great middle ground between free public transport and paying a fare for each journey.

NSW offers a fare cap, and that is certainly one way of effectively implementing long-term tickets for regular commuters.

In NSW, and I’d assume in other states too, there is a photo ID card that’s available to people who don’t have a driver’s licence. Potentially there’s an opportunity there to bundle a year of public transport with the ID?

For tourists (especially from overseas), you could offer public transport fares as part of the cost of the airfare. I know there are countries overseas — Spain comes to mind — that do something like that?

Another option would be to bundle the transport fare with your council rates or weekly rent. That would acknowledge that home owners or residents who live in close proximity to public transport still benefit from the system, even if they don’t use it themselves.

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne Please let’s not return to the crazy days of monthly / quarterly / yearly passes

One of the most lowkey-socialist things Gladys Berejiklian ever caused to happen (I can only guess her direct influence) was to remove the classist and cognitive burden of Sydney’s fare incentives and rewards

Labor’s T-Card and London’s Oyster had/have none of these policy goals

Meanwhile Melbourne is cruel and lazy, charging $3.10 to go a few bus stops (2-hour minimum)

@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne but this is all just tinkering compared to competitive speed, frequency, and reach/door-to-door time.

@ajsadauskas @TheOne I would love it in Prague. It works in Tallinn for residents and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in more cities.

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