Monday, October 7, 2019

UK Green Party wants to scrap plans for new roads, use cash for free bus travel for all

By Phoebe Weston, the Independent, 4 October 2019.

The [UK] Green party wants to scrap the Conservatives’ £6.5bn plans for new roads and will instead use the cash to fund free bus travel for all.

The proposals, which will be laid out at the annual party conference in Newport, are part of the party’s Green New Deal, which looks to shift focus from economic growth towards tackling the climate emergency and protecting nature.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green party, says the move will slash emissions from private diesel and petrol vehicles as well as helping low-income families.

He said: “Our reliance on cars is driving up our carbon emissions – a third of the UK’s emissions come from transport.

“Road building currently generates more car journeys, creating a vicious and harmful cycle. This money would be much better spent on reducing CO2 emissions by encouraging the use of public transport as part of a Green New Deal.”

To pay for the Free Bus Fund, the party would allocate £5bn of proceeds from the Vehicle Exercise Duty (VED), which under current Tory party plans is earmarked for road building from next year. The remaining £1.5bn from the VED would be spent on maintaining major roads.

Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, said: “With bus use declining, this proposed fund for free bus travel is exactly the sort of vision needed to make public transport a more viable option for people across the UK, helping reduce emissions at the same time.

Our government should put its money where its mouth is, instead of committing billions to policies which will increase road use and emissions and worsen the climate emergency.”

The party would also increase corporation tax to 24 per cent and spend the extra revenue on funding local authorities by £10bn a year, it says.

It claims the funding would help local authorities maintain roads and deliver more bus services, which have become 65 per cent more expensive to use over the past decade.

Air pollution is currently linked to the premature death of 40,000 Britons a year and the Free Bus Fund would also be topped up by saving from reduced health costs due to less pollution on roads, the party says.

Free bus travel would be implemented in England but not in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as this is a devolved issue.

The news comes days after the Green party also said it would ban adverts for petrol or diesel cars and flights across Europe. The move would use the same powers that enabled Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, to ban junk food adverts on the London Underground.

Deputy leader Amelia Womack said: “Excessive flying harms our health just like smoking and advertising only increases this harm. The climate emergency will cause 250,000 additional deaths year from 2030, comparable in number to deaths caused by smoking.”

The Green New Deal legislation would also look at ways to cut consumption of meat and single-use plastic.

Caroline Lucas, a former Green leader, said adopting the deal was “essential” to avoid environmental and political breakdown.

She said: “If we are to mend our broken democracy and give people hope for their future, we must invest in an economy where we live sustainably, differently and more equally.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

South Auckland candidate proposes free public transport trial

Statement by Brendan Corbett:

Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board candidate Brendan Corbett proposes a six month trial period for free public transport in South Auckland, to get commuters out of cars and end daily traffic congestion. Corbett says free public transport could transform the city and be an innovative move to combat climate change.
This plan is similar to the proposal floated by the Manukau City Mayor, Sir Barry Curtis 13 years ago. 
[‘Curtis says Manukau rail spur threatened’ NZ Herald 21 February 2006: ]

Mayor Curtis nominated three of his city's suburbs for trials of free bus services, which transport authority chief executive Alan Thompson had indicated could prove a very useful investigative exercise. [‘Increased subsidy hits free bus trials’ NZ Herald 7 Sep, 2005 - 

A 4000 signature petition supporting a proposed free bus trial in Manukau, was presented to the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. But opposition from Auckland’s then main bus operator, the multi-national bus company StageCoach, stymied Curtis’s initiative - “a good reason why public transport should be publicly owned and operated” added Corbett.

Free public transport has successfully ended traffic chaos in many overseas cities including Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, and the French city of Dunkirk. “If they can do it, why can’t we?” asks Corbett.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Christchurch Mayoral candidate’s statement

It was fantastic to see so many people out in the square today, marching for action on climate change

In Christchurch, 53% of our carbon emissions come from transportation – mainly cars and trucks 🚗

We can significantly reduce this by creating a better public transportation system, including FREE & frequent buses.

A person who switches from their car to a bus has 15x lower greenhouse gas emissions 🌱

Now before you panic — This forward-thinking idea has already been implemented in cities around the world... and it's working! There have been significant financial and environmental benefits to these schemes, so it really is a WIN/WIN.

Many of you have asked - "BUT WHO PAYS?!?"

Here in Ōtautahi, we have a dramatically imbalanced funding allocation between road development and public transportation. This NEEDS to be fixed ASAP.

Funds will be redistributed more practically between both road development & public transport so that we can invest in a more sustainable and practical future for Christchurch.

This would require negotiation with the government and ECAN but, this will be easily achievable. The policy would lead to a rethink of the hugely expensive and unsustainable roading projects currently being developed for Christchurch.

In short: there are no increased rates or other tax increases needed to implement this policy, as we will be rebalancing the allocations between road dev and public transport. It's that simple.

This really is the BEST way forward for Christchurch.

❓ What are the benefits ❓

✅ EVERYBODY benefits – even those who never use a bus or train will be able to travel In a gridlock-free roading network.

✅ More time at home instead of buried in traffic congestion.

✅ No extra charges for anyone – no rates increases, no extra fuel taxes, no congestion charges, no network charges, no toll roads, no PPPs, …

✅ Improved productivity – roading congestion costs Christchurch tens of millions in lost productivity every year.

✅ Revitalising central Christchurch as more people travel to enjoy the central city, Lyttelton and the city beaches.

✅ Savings for workers and reduced income inequality. The Mayor of Tallinn has called it the “13th monthly salary” because of estimates the policy saves a month’s salary each year for workers using free public transport.

✅ Economic stimulation as workers have significantly more to spend in the real economy.

Find out more info about this policy here 👇

Innovative city award to fare-free Tallinn

Tallinn has been recognized as an innovative city in China 

By Toomas Raag, Pealinn (Estonian newspaper) 27 September 2019

The European-Chinese Green and Smart Cities Summit [took] place in Nanning, China from September 1 to September 5, where Tallinn [capital city of Estonia] was recognized as an innovative city in the category of free public transport and the launch of the Park and Travel system. 
The award was received by Tiit Terik, (pictured below) Chairman of the Tallinn City Council, who also gave a presentation on "Free public transport in Tallinn and Estonia - either an experiment or an experience".

Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin is one of the keynote speakers at the event, who said that smart and green solutions in the European Union and China must serve the interests of the environment and people, and that they must work together. 
 In his presentation, Tiit Terik pointed out that free public transport is a good solution for reducing passenger cars and avoiding congestion in cities. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mayoral candidate pledges free buses to combat climate change

Christchurch mayoral candidate, John Minto says "Free Public Transport is an important part of fighting climate change - Minto for Mayor will get it going in Christchurch!"

Today Minto welcomed an important "breakthrough in the debate about free public transport":

Facebook: Minto For Mayor 2019

Free public transport and more govt action called for

Dunedin's bus Hub. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

"A lot can be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport," he said yesterday.
Transport had a crucial role to play, and he urged "more promotion of public transport, with introduction of "free city transport offered by local governments, paid by ratepayers, at least as a trial exercise".
Some fare-free public transport had been offered in Auckland and he would like to see this extended and offered elsewhere.
Sir Alan is a University of Otago botanist and chairman of the Wise Response Society, a group that promotes sustainable approaches and a "wise response" to climate change challenges.
There was "no substitute for reducing emissions", rather than simply trying to capture carbon through extensive exotic tree planting, he said yesterday.
Such emission cuts required promotion, policies and regulations by central and local governments.
And cuts were vital "in effectively addressing global warming and associated climate disruption", he added.

"We believe the billion trees programme needs urgent review, particularly the use of commercial plantations of exotic conifers with their relatively short rotations.
"Permanent forests, exotic or native, would be more effective in sequestering carbon, " he said.

 - This story is part of the Otago Daily Times contribution to Covering Climate Now, an international campaign by more than 170 media organisations to draw attention to the issue of climate change ahead of a United Nations summit on September 23. To read more of our coverage, go to

Submission on Zero Carbon Bill

Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill

Submission by Fare-Free NZ editor Roger Fowler (July 2019):

I support the general thrust of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill with the strongest possible targets and serious and concerted action planning to achieve those targets.


I submit the following proposal as a viable action towards achieving the short term and long term robust targets of the Bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

1. The Government should immediately declare a nation-wide 'climate emergency' to set the country on the equivalent of a 'war footing' to mobilise maximum support for concerted planned action to combat climate change. The government needs to lead a serious response to this climate emergency and discard empty slogans and ineffective piece-meal gestures. The action has to be big and bold to produce a national mind-set turn-around needed to be successful.

2. Recognising that the proliferation of cars and chronic daily traffic congestion in our cities is already causing record vehicle emission levels and hundreds of premature deaths, plus extensive heart and acute respiratory diseases, and that the impact on the environment is rising, the Government should make urgent steps to place public transport into the hands of appropriate elected governing bodies and plan to upgrade all public transports services and infrastructure to cater for a major increase in usage, and to allow for the introduction of fare-free, quality, no-emission public transport in all the main cities. These moves will have a huge 'big and bold' impact of attracting a large bulk of people out of cars and onto quality, modern, integrated public transport and ending chronic traffic congestion - a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

To support this submission I attach a paper I submitted to Auckland Transport's 'Big Idea' project last year:

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Youth advocate says: Get rid of transit fares

Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Youth Perspectives on Transportation: Free Public Transit for a More Just, Equitable, and Sustainable Urban L.A.
Youth advocate interning with ACT-L.A. urges city to get rid of transit fares

By Eli Pallrand, StreetBlogLA, 13 September 2019
When you wake up each morning, what do you think of first? You probably think about what you’re going to do that day. Off to school, then back home, but do you ever pause to think about how you’ll get there? Probably not, but take a second to consider it, because whether you step out into the crisp morning air and into the driver’s seat or into the nearest subway car can change a lot. It’s not just a matter of how you get to where you’re going, but the means of getting there. 
Building networks of public transit users – ones from across the spectrum of people who live in Los Angeles – requires removing the biggest barrier to use: the transit fare. It’s imperative that the change be made now.
Compared to public transportation, a single car throws vastly more carbon into the atmosphere, fits fewer people, and isolates us from our communities. Like any other essential program, say healthcare or college, we need free public transportation. Until transit is free, every city without it will be plagued by the dominance of cars – and car companies – which destroy an environment already under siege.


Friday, September 13, 2019

Kansas City considering #freepublictransit

Could Kansas City become the first major US city with totally Free Public Transit?

The Kansas City streetcar is already free to ride, thanks to a taxing district whose revenues pay for its operation. City officials hope to use a similar method to make all buses in the city free.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Public Transport Can Be Free

By Wojciech Kębłowski, International Viewpoint, 10 September 2019.
We don’t put coins in street lamps or pay by the minute in public parks. Here’s why we can make subway and bus fares a thing of the past.
If we are to believe transport experts and practitioners, abolishing fares for all passengers is the last thing public transport operators should be doing. For Alan Flausch, an ex-CEO of the Brussels public transport authority and current Secretary General of International Association of Public Transport, “in terms of mobility, free public transport is absurd.”
According to Vincent Kauffmann, a professor at University of Lausanne and one of key figures in sustainable mobility, “free public transport does not make any sense.” Getting rid of tickets in mass transit is judged “irrational,” “uneconomical” and “unsustainable.”
However, if we turn to commentators from outside the field of transport, the perspective on fare abolition changes radically. Social scientists, activists, journalists and public officials—often speaking from cities where fare abolition has actually been put to the test—fervently defend the measure.
For Judith Dellheim, a researcher at Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin, providing free access to public transport is the “first step towards socio-ecological transformation.” For Michiel Van Hulten, one of the earliest proponents of free public transport in Europe, “it is about returning to the commons.” Finally, according to Naomi Klein, this is precisely what cities around the world should be doing —“to really respond to the urgency of climate change, public transport would have to become free.”


Public Transport Can Be Free