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Author Topic: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?  (Read 1230 times)

Offline ozbob

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Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« on: February 28, 2008, 08:18:58 PM »
Maybe it is time to consider the pros and cons of fare free public transport.

Public transport is a community service and is subsidised.  So is health, education and many things.

Fare free public transport means the costly ticketing and enforcement is not needed.  Security is still required but overall there would be significant cost savings. 

Public transport can be funded from general tax revenue or further subsidised by additional rate levies and so forth.  Congestion charges can also be directed to fund public transport.

The article below appeared in 2007.  It is an interesting perspective.

From Sydney Morning Herald click here!

Quote
A free ride is just the ticket

Linton Besser and Sunanda Creagh
August 16, 2007

TWO-THIRDS of Australians want free travel on buses, trains and ferries, funded from Federal Government surpluses, a nationwide survey says.

In a Galaxy poll commissioned by the Greens, 66 per cent of taxpayers said they were prepared to shoulder the tax burden to participate in a trial period of free public transport - though the shortfall in fare revenue from ferries, trains and buses in Sydney alone would be at least $1.07 billion.

Modelled on similar experiments overseas, the trial would entice large numbers of motorists over to public transport and significantly ease the congestion choking each capital city, the Greens say.

Only 26 per cent were opposed to running such a trial.

"If the Federal Government can contribute hospital funding in northern Tasmania and plebiscites on council amalgamations in Queensland, they can fund free buses and trains in Sydney," the Greens' Kerry Nettle said.

"The Greens are calling on the Government to set up large-scale free public transport trials."

Senator Nettle said the research provided a clear mandate to experiment with new public transport policy: "If we are serious about tackling climate change we need to encourage public transport use ? [and] in the longer term, looking to make trains, buses and ferries free."

But Sydneysiders appear far more wedded to their cars than those in other capital cities. The research, conducted at the end of July, showed 78 per cent of those in Melbourne were in favour of such a trial, but only 59 per cent in Sydney felt the same way - the fewest of all capital cities.

In the Netherlands, free travel was offered for 12 months on buses servicing a priority route between Leiden and The Hague in January 2004, costing taxpayers $1.6 million.

According to a review of this experiment, and others, published in European Transport last year, the result was a big surge in patronage.

"Bus use on the free bus routes increased from 1000 to 3000 passengers a day," it found.

"From these new passengers, 45 per cent made the [journey] formerly by car."

But the report also found that the quality of the transport offered affected patronage as much as the price, and that free fares did not necessarily achieve the expected environmental benefits. The costs would also likely rise steeply as demand surged and as resources were diverted to public transport.

The Galaxy research took in 996 people, with almost 300 in NSW and the ACT, 279 in Victoria, and several hundred across Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

A coalition of public transport activists will today launch a report, titled Moving Australians Sustainably, calling for more Commonwealth funding of trains, buses, bike paths and tax rebates for people with yearly travel passes.

The report Moving Australians Sustainably can be found here --> http://www.ptua.org.au/federal/
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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Offline Cazza

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 09:20:21 PM »
New thread split from https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=12863.msg196515#msg196515

I certainly noticed loading and unloading times have approved with pax not needing touch on / off.

Who needs all door boarding now?? Free fares everyday:pr :pr :pr

But in all honesty, public transport fares should be payed for as a tax. That way, everyone has to pay it and people can just hop on and hop off any mode of transport as they go, with no fare evasion either. There would be a set limit that everyone has to pay (obviously seniors would pay less). Plus, it would encourage people to use PT anyway because they are already paying for it. People hate paying for things we don't use, that's how cheap we are becoming.

But this is a serious idea that could be worked on and improved and hopefully incorporated into our silly political world :hg
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 02:26:02 AM by ozbob »

Offline Gazza

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 11:49:08 AM »
It wouldn't work because transport would be over demanded but undersupplied.

Offline Cazza

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 05:26:55 PM »
It wouldn't work because transport would be over demanded but undersupplied.

With the current state of the network, yes. BUT, with a better bus network with feeder services to trains and ferries and a reliable and frequent train network, I do believe that the usage of public transport will rise. As I said, because people are having to pay for transport as a part of their tax, they would be more inclined to use it.

Offline SurfRail

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 05:42:32 PM »
I pay for hospitals and public schools with my tax but I've never used either.

By making PT free all you are doing is throwing away $400m per year in revenue that you have to find elsewhere.  There's no reason you can't increase taxation (at least in the SEQ service area) and keep the fare system in place. 

Petrol taxes would help - in NZ they pay $2/L for unleaded and nobody seems to be rioting about it.  Even a modest charge of $0.10/L would work wonders.  There are silly constitutional issues of course.

Offline Cazza

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 06:00:39 PM »
By making PT free all you are doing is throwing away $400m per year in revenue that you have to find elsewhere.  There's no reason you can't increase taxation (at least in the SEQ service area) and keep the fare system in place. 

I'm not making PT free, I am making people pay for it as a tax (e.g. like the way people pay for water, electricity etc. etc. etc.). People would pay for PT as a part of their rates that they pay to their local council. It would be a set amount (say around $150-$200 per month- the average commute from Caboolture [zone 3] to the City [zone 1] if you travelled 10 journeys per week during peak, would cost you $59.60 or $238.40 per month).

The reason for making PT a 'tax' so to speak is so that vehicles can be quickly loaded and unloaded through all doors AND to stop fare evasion. Just this afternoon, I was on the 3:38pm Brookside-bound route 362 and 6 kids out of about 40 just walked straight on the bus without paying or anything.

Yes, there are flaws and faults that would have to be fixed but as a whole, the idea is could be successful.

Offline James

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 07:35:48 PM »
There are many reasons for charging people a fare to use public transport, one of which is demand management.

Thanks to human psychology, the moment anything becomes "free" leads to people going nuts and undertaking economically useless trips because the only cost is their time. In the other case, 'free' PT does not necessarily cause PT to take all the load, as the generalised cost of driving to your destination may still be lower than using PT once you factor in waiting time, walks to/from the bus stop and so forth.

Also, you'd see a revolt. PT's mode share is 10%, meaning 9 in 10 trips served don't use either buses, trains, trams or ferries. Some people do not use PT at all, or are served by appalling PT, and you're suggesting we hike their rates by thousands of dollars per annum?

It simply won't work. Car mentality is permanently ingrained on "new western" society (e.g. America, NZ, societies with low density housing and major cities spaced far apart), this won't change in our lifetime.

The reason for making PT a 'tax' so to speak is so that vehicles can be quickly loaded and unloaded through all doors AND to stop fare evasion. Just this afternoon, I was on the 3:38pm Brookside-bound route 362 and 6 kids out of about 40 just walked straight on the bus without paying or anything.

This is where the No Child Left Behind policy needs to be modified, and more SNOs need to be brought on to the network.

(May I suggest that this recent line of discussion may warrant a break-off thread).
Is it really that hard to run frequent, reliable public transport?

Offline OzGamer

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2017, 10:37:55 AM »
Perhaps an option would be to make public transport cost dependent on the supply, so it might be free to get on an empty bus at 7:00PM on Sunday evening, but a full fare would be required at 7:30AM on Monday morning.

The marginal cost of an extra user at off peak times is essentially zero, whereas the marginal cost of another peak commuter is very high, as the peak usage determines things like how many buses and trains you need to procure in total.

In terms of the delay of services through fare collection, things like off-board fare collection as is proposed for the Metro should be looked at more. A better smartcard system should allow this to happen at major stops even on regular streets. For example, bus stations like Indooroopilly, Chermside, or Carindale could all have off-board touching on and off, as could major stops on arteries like Mains and Gympie Roads.

Offline Gazza

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2017, 01:54:39 PM »
So you're saying make it like water and electricity bills.

But its not like you generally get unlimited electricity and water for a set monthly fee?

I don't see the advantage in switching away from the current model.

If its free, then how do you deal with the influx of GC commuters who can live a long way from work at low cost.

If there is a lot of kids exploiting the no child Left behind policy, it would be cheaper to hire SNOs then to throw your arms up and make it free.


Offline #Metro

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2017, 03:01:00 PM »

Quote
https://www.originenergy.com.au/for-home/campaign/origin-predictable-plan.html

Predictable Plan has changed the way you pay for energy

You'll pay the same amount for your electricity or natural gas for 12 months - no price hikes or nasty surprises. Our Fair Use Policy applies.

Buffet Electricity Plans do exist. However, buffet electricity AND being free does not.

As others have pointed out, it is possible to offer free travel. Whether that would be desirable during peak hour when adding

one addition service comes at extreme expense (i.e. track expansion required) is debateable.
Negative people... have a problem for every solution.
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Offline James

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Re: Discussion - Fare Free public transport?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 07:22:41 PM »
You could try a supply and demand model, but how easy would that be to understand? We already have it to an extent with peak and off-peak fares.
If someone is faced with a different fare every time they use PT, they will probably be less inclined to use it as they will never know how much it will cost. Free PT at low demand hours could also attract "undesirables" as well, discouraging people from using PT late at night.
Is it really that hard to run frequent, reliable public transport?

 

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