Monday, September 26, 2016

Video documentary - Free Public Transport: 'Transit justice is a crucial aspect of social justice today'

Produced by Revo Raudjarv for Tallinna Television [2015]

Public transit lies at the intersection of several critical social struggles today. Affordable (or free) public transit is an important mechanism for redistribution, and particularly targets low income people.

A central component of public policies to address climate change must be mass expenditures on public transit to reduce reliance on private cars and fossil fuels. Mass transit also enables an increase in the density and livability of cities. 

And public transit that is free and available as a social right is a core demand to de-commodify everyday life in opposition to endless consumerism. Transit justice is, then, a crucial aspect of social justice today, and should be a fundamental part of the political programme of progressives and socialists. The struggle for the extension of free and accessible public transit rubs directly against neoliberal policies, and raises the vision of alternate production and provision essential to anti-capitalist politics.

This video mostly focuses on Tallinn, Estonia, and includes interviews with international activists: Roger Fowler (FareFree New Zealand), Greg Albo (Toronto Free Transit), Erik van Hal (traffic planner, Eindhoven), Michel van Hulten (scientist, Netherlands), Anna Ujma (advisor to the mayor of Zory, Poland), Dan Diaconu (deputy mayor of Timisoara, Romania), Raymond Polus (journalist Hasselt, Belgium), Mao Xiang (Chengdu Transport Department), Siim Kallas (European Commissioner for Transport), Lars Isacsson (Mayor of Avesta, Sweden), Allan Alakula (Head of Tallinn EU Office), Taavi Aas (Deputy Mayor of Tallinn).

Widening roads will not reduce congestion

By Eric Britton, World Streets:The Politics of Transport in Cities,

Dr. Pojani in her lecture at Penang Heritage  of Friday entitled “Urban Transport Crisis in Small and Medium Size Developing Cities and the Effectiveness of Countermeasures” — at one point advises us to FOLLOW THE MONEY.  Now that’s an interesting comment and really makes me wish I had been with you. Here’s an example of how I interpret this counsel from my perspective as a strategic planner.

The hard fact in the above graphic is that politicians and engineers have trouble accepting this strategic approach – precisely because they are trained to look at something else. It’s simply a matter of long-standing professional deformation (if that is English). It does not have to be that way, but in order to get around the corner on this particular problem, both the politicians and their engineers need to be presented with the OVERALL strategic situation, which is quite different from the one they are accustomed to seeing.

The trick in getting this right is that they have to alter their key decision criteria, and bring in something called EXTERNAL COSTS. (More on this at . What this gives us for decision making  is nothing less than a transformative  way of thinking about decisions in our sector. Fair-minded politicians and engineers — once they assimilate this new information and the technical procedures that go with them –will quickly come around to this different point of view . And both these important groups have taken this important step in many many cities around the world that are getting the challenges of efficient and sustainable transport right. (It’s a long list.)

Follow the money

But now on to Dr. Pojani’s point with her “follow the money” comment. In this case those actors who have direct financial interests in actually building more roads – without taking the external costs or impacts of the following acts into full account. Who are these players?

Well of course any company whose business it is to build roads, tunnel and bridges to accommodate all those additional cars. Likewise, property developers and construction firms eager to open up new territories linked by highways and cars. And of course the automotive and petrol industry and associated lobbies and suppliers. Then there are their financial partners.

It is not that there is anything bad in their pursuing their own interests. To the contrary they are pillars of the market economy and necessary to our well-being in this complex and fast-changing 21st century. But it is the job of good governance to ensure that the public interest does not suffer as a result of their activity and profits.

Which means of course that we — and they — have plenty of work ahead.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Christchurch NZ, mayoral candidate promises fare-free buses

Minto makes bold pledges on buses, council salaries: "Christchurch mayoral candidate John Minto is insistent his policy for free public buses won't lead to a rates increase.

The veteran activist launched his official campaign over the weekend, and claims despite his policies being bold, he could save residents money.

He pledged to build thousands of new affordable houses, introduce free public transport, and offer a living wage to all council staff.

He said free public transport will only initially cost $20 million, but will save both ratepayers and tax payers money."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#Publictransit forum plans new free shuttle

Watertown, MA: "At the most recent transportation forum, local officials and residents gathered to talk through ways to improve the current system, while adding new options, including a local bus shuttle."

Christchurch transport woes: Free public buses or one more kilometre of new roads "The cost of free public transport would be about $20 million per year which is the amount currently collected in fares. It would require capital investment to increase the number of buses over the next five years as residents move to public transport.

This is less than the cost of a single kilometre of proposed new roading.

The government wants to prioritise a massive motorway to carve through the north of the city at enormous cost to all of us. In reality such huge roading projects are a subsidy for trucking companies. A single eight-tonne axle (big trucks may have several of these each) does the equivalent damage of 10,000 cars over the same road."

Monday, April 11, 2016

SuperGold free travel keeps seniors off the road

Wairarapa Times: ""We have something like 29,000 Baby Boomers coming on board a year. Every one of them, having paid taxes all their lives, fully expects to get their SuperGold card entitlements. Putting a cap on funding for transport is the National Government interfering with a privilege that senior citizens were given in recognition of having paid taxes all their lives, and the valuable contribution they have made to the community.

"We can't let them get away with it. We need people to stand up. They need to go and knock on Alastair Scott's door for a start, give him a bit of a tongue-lashing, and tell him that this is unacceptable."

The SuperGold Card scheme was an initiative of New Zealand First and was adopted during the term of a coalition government 2007.

In the 2014/15 financial year, 27,225 trips were made on the Wairarapa Rail Line by SuperGold card holders."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Gridlocked Aucklanders spend 20 extra working days a year stuck in traffic

TVNZ : "If Auckland motorists needed evidence traffic congestion has got worse, a study shows they can now expect to spend an extra 20 working days a year stuck in traffic at peak times."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wellington students 'desperate' over public transport costs, call for discounted fares "Wellington tertiary students are demanding discounted public transport and say the city is being left behind the rest of the country.

It comes as students warn of an "increasing sense of desperation" over public transport costs.

An online petition calling for the changes, set up late last week by Victoria University student Byron Oosthuizen, had reached 2800 signatures by Tuesday."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Free buses in Avesta, Sweden


By Pavlina Dravecka / Eltis - the Urban Mobility Observatory, 22 Jul 2015

In 2012 Avesta, a Swedish municipality pictured above, introduced fare-free public transport on its buses. The purpose was to increase, and make it easier to, travel by public transport.

As a result travels by public transport have increased by 80 per cent and car emissions were reduced by 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

In addition, several other positive side effects were noted as a result of the trial. Avesta municipality decided that public transport by bus should continue to be fare free into the future.

Avesta municipality invites delegates to participate in a two-day international conference on Fare Free Public Transport to share experiences and take part of studies on FFPT from three perspectives; population growth, sustainability and equality.

Thursday 17 September and Friday 18 September 2015
Avesta, Sweden
Contact: Sussanna Kippo

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