Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do you feel crowded?

What is a good transit system?

1.A Good Transit System has Frequent and Convenient Transportation for all.

2.A Good Transit System Helps Strengthen the Community.

3.A Good Transit System Helps Encourages People to Leave Vehicles at Home and Help out our Environment.

4.A Good Transit System Helps Individual's become More Physically Fit.

5.A Good Transit System Helps Reduce Traffic Grid Lock.

6A Good Transit System Helps Reduce the COST and NEED for PARATRANSIT.

7.A Good Transit System Helps Reduce Road Construction.

8.A Good Transit System has Free Public Transit.

9.A Good Transit System works on Barrier Free, Benches and Shelters.

10.A Good Transit System Treats their Employees with Respect.

from Catmeow Transit - Salt Lake City

Friday, December 25, 2009

George Monbiot on Copenhagen bickering

...Even before this new farce began it was beginning to look as if it might be too late to prevent two or more degrees of global warming. The nation states, pursuing their own interests, have each been passing the parcel of responsibility since they decided to take action in 1992. We have now lost 17 precious years, possibly the only years in which climate breakdown could have been prevented. This has not happened by accident: it is the result of a systematic campaign of sabotage by certain states, driven and promoted by the energy industries. This idiocy has been aided and abetted by the nations characterised, until now, as the good guys: those that have made firm commitments, only to invalidate them with loopholes, false accounting and outsourcing. In all cases immediate self-interest has trumped the long-term welfare of humankind. Corporate profits and political expediency have proved more urgent considerations than either the natural world or human civilisation. Our political systems are incapable of discharging the main function of government: to protect us from each other....Guardian via CommonDreams

Thursday, December 17, 2009

All buses are free in Cache Valley, Utah

Cache Valley

In the Cache Valley Region, Utah, all buses are free.

This is why they have free public transport according to the Cache Valley Transit District:



[edit] Convenience

If any fare were added, a significant amount of time would need to be added to the current schedule to accommodate people depositing fares. The addition of a fare reduces CVTD’s ability to provide convenient and timely service.

[edit] Maintain Ridership

Research conducted by independent transportation consultants indicate that CVTD’s ridership could drop considerably if fares were added. If ridership dropped it could place hundreds of vehicles on our already congested roads.

[edit] Alleviate Fear

There are various reason people may be uncomfortable with riding the bus—getting lost, riding with people they do not know or missing the bus. The addition of fare would add to the list, causing more questions like "what is the fare," "do I need exact change," or "what if I don’t have cash?" Being fare-free keeps it simple and increases ridership.

[edit] Keep Operating Costs Low

The cost to install infrastructure for fares would be between $400,000 and $500,000. Significant additional ongoing costs would be incurred such as fare box maintenance, counting of fares, training and collection of fares by an armored car service.

Read more

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Public transit - an essential public service

Farefreenz recent contribution to a discussion comparing overseas fare structures which featured on transportblog.co.nz

Hey …let’s also look at the system in Hasselt, Belgium, where there are no fares! And no more traffic gridlock!
Public transport should be regarded as an essential public service and be fare-free – a relatively simple way to help reduce traffic congestion and pollution big time in these days of global warming.
Fares only contribute a portion of the cost, but cost an enormous amount to collect. Why bother? There are other ways to pay for public transport – for starters the millions of dollars currently being spent on building more and more roads (which we all know will be clogged up in no time), could be diverted to urgently upgrade Auckland’s public transport. A vast integrated network of modern low-emission buses and electric trains could be rapidly moving people about, with no delays as passengers get on and off without having to fumble for change or cards.
If we are really serious about getting people out of cars and on to public transport, making it fare-free and frequent is the way to go.

Check out views and articles on: farefreenz.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

EU - Let us shift from expensive cars to free public bus or train

The advantages of free public transit are enormous and extremely beneficial for all citizens of the European Union:
  • Drastic decrease in emission of exhaust gases
  • Less noise
  • Less traffic jams
  • Better traffic safety
  • Enormous savings in energy and raw materials
  • Creation of new jobs
  • Ascent of efficient economical development
  • Considerably lower public and personal expenses
  • Empowering of social justice
  • Higher cultural dialogue
  • Creation of friendlier urban environment
Read more at Ecohumanworld

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NASA Goddard Director against Cap-and-Trade

...Vice President Al Gore, who perhaps has done more than anyone to raise awareness of climate change, is evidently deceiving himself. "I saw him on Larry King last night," says Hansen, "and what really worries me is that he sounds optimistic that we're now on a track to solve this problem." He lets out an incredulous chuckle. "We're not, however, on a track, and that's clear."...

..."There's a huge gap between their public position and the realities of their policies," he says. "That's the situation we have now in Congress," he adds, alluding to the cap-and-trade legislation that is currently being reviewed by the US Senate. He opposes the bill, in large part because of the offsets system that would allow polluters to continue spewing emissions, but also because political horse-trading has brought in provisions that will enable aging coal plants to stay in operation. The only solution, Hansen says, is to "phase out fossil fuels". And the best way to do that, he contends, is through a carbon tax — or, as he puts it, "a rising price on carbon emissions"....

...individuals cannot solve the problem. "If you reduce your carbon footprint, one of the effects is to reduce the demand, and if a lot of people do that, it makes [fossil fuel] cheaper so somebody else can burn it," says Hansen... nature.com

Free mass public transit is possible

...The initiative is feasible. The only obstacle for making this project come true is ourselves. Are we as individuals and as society mature enough to act responsibly in unity with the thought for common good? Are we capable of a mental turnabout and be ready to sacrifice something for the good of all? Are we ready to do something now when we still have a chance? Only positive answers will bring positive results... Benjamin Dovečar's comments on the Copenhagen COP15 site click to read all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Antarctic ice loss worse than IPCC 2007 estimate

...In 2007 the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) predicted sea levels would rise 18 to 59 centimetres (7.2 to 23.2 inches) by 2100, but this estimate did not factor in the potential impact of crumbling icesheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

Today many of the same scientist say that even if heat-trapping CO2 emissions are curtailed, the ocean watermark is more likely to go up by nearly a metre, enough to render several small island nations unlivable and damage fertile deltas home to hundreds of millions.... Independent/UK via CommonDreams

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Climate camp: December 16-21 Wellington

Building a people’s movement to actively address the root causes of climate change. Join us for a week of free sustainability skill shares, climate justice workshops, direct action and DIY grassroots organising.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Join Free Public Transport Advocates in Copenhagen

The UN climate meeting, COP15 in Copenhagen, is approaching at breakneck speed and most of us lay our fears and hopes in the hands of the world leaders, wishing that they will come up with a sustainable climate agreement. But we can't afford to leave it all to them.

We want to make COP15 not only a global, but a local issue as well, because it's only through local actions we can achieve global change. We have to shift focus: from abstract percentages and climate targets to concrete political measures. A powerful climate adjustment requires comprehensive infrastructural changes in the transport sector. The key to climate adjustment is to be found in the cities, where most of the emissions are generated. Through simple reforms such as planning our cities for public transport, bicycle and pedestrian transport, we can actively reduce car traffic and cut the emission rates in our cities.

So far, the local transport sector has been sadly neglected in the climate debate, and we doubt that COP15 will produce any change in that area. It's up to us to make this important issue visible and put it on the agenda. Even though the inflation in car traffic is one of our biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary oil use, few cities have any serious plans to radically decrease their car traffic.

Freeing public transport from fares would effectively create incentives for car drivers to choose public transport instead. With just a marginal tax-raise (in Stockholm, capital of Sweden, all commuters who earns less than 5000 Euros a month would benefit from this), the public transport system could be made free at the point of entry. Free public transport is one solution to pollution!

If you are going to Copenhagen in december, please join us in the pink block in the big demonstration on the 12th. And if you are not – make a demonstration at home and turn to your local politicians with demands for a radical, climate friendly transport policy with investments in public transport and zero fares!

Best wishes from Planka.nu - The Swedish free public transport group

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looming rail budget cuts undermine public transport

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) looks set to submit to the government's agenda to undermine public transport and build more roads.

The NZ Herald report (18 November) of looming cuts to pensioners' free rail travel, Maxx passenger information services and timetable and other improvements, plus planned fare hikes, will reverse all positive and urgently needed moves to promote public transport and cut traffic congestion in Auckland.

Campaign for Free Public Transport wins Respect

...A message to the Respect Conference from Peter Cranie, the Green Party candidate in the North West at the European Elections supported by Respect, was read out to an enthusiastic ovation. Motions on electoral alliances, supporting the People’s Charter, the political content of our election campaign and alternative strategies to deal with the economic crisis were passed... Respect agreed to affiliate to the Campaign for Free Public Transport. [our emphasis]
Campaign for Free Public Transport Website
Respect Party Website

Can we afford free public transit?

People frequently ask us, "how would you pay for free public transit?" Here is our reply: currently the price of oil is artificially low because many of the costs are externalized. Here is an example of an externalized cost:
"In many villages in the vicinity of the oil facilities, locals are not able to drink the water anymore," said Stieglitz. "Locals who drink this kind of water can get diarrhea and the subsequent dehydration of the body, which might lead to death in those areas if left untreated." read the whole article on Voice of America
If public transit were free, then demand for oil would drop precipitously. The oil suppliers would lose political power, and public policy could force them to internalize their costs. Clean drinking water would be just one of the many benefits of free public transit and would more than justify the investment.

Hi Michael - Welcome to the Free Public Transport Movement!

10 ideas to save the world (or at least to delay the collapse)
1. Higher taxes on fossil fuels, electricity and animal products
2. Decentralisation of the power generation sector
3. Free public short-distance transportation, lower prices (e.g. by waiving taxes) for trains and buses.
4. Public information campaign about climate change in TV, schools etc.
5. Labelling of consumption goods and services with their ecological footprint (or at least carbon + water footprint)
6. Subsidies, binding standards and incentives for ecological renovation of buildings
7. Cancelling subsidies for non-organic agriculture, coal mining, air traffic and other harmful industrial sectors
8. Starting a decarbonisation competition among cities and other local entities
9. Establishing a “Green GDP”
10. High taxes on luxury goods and services

The basic idea is, that polluting goods and practices become more expensive while others should be cheaper. I´m shure, additional cost (e.g. for gratis public transportation) could be compensated with higher revenues for polluting and luxury products. And not to forget the financial side effects of the suggested measures. If we, for instance, reduce private transportation, we also save money for road building and maintainance, less traffic jams save working time, less pollution and accidents help to reduce health costs etc.
Michael's Climate Blog Berlin Germany

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The cost of autosprawl: stronger cyclones

Video of cyclone in Bangladesh.
Gabura :: Oxfam GB

...I think a bloc of carbon-neutral, developing nations could change the outcome of Copenhagen.
At the moment every country arrives at the negotiations seeking to keep their own emissions as high as possible.
They never make commitments, unless someone else does first.
This is the logic of the madhouse, a recipe for collective suicide.
We don’t want a global suicide pact.
And we will not sign a global suicide pact, in Copenhagen or anywhere.
So today, I invite some of the most vulnerable nations in the world, to join a global survival pact instead.
We are all in this as one.
We stand or fall together.
I hope you will join me in deciding to stand.
Address by His Excellency President Nasheed at the Climate Vulnerable Forum
Read the whole speech here...

Lord Mayor Clover Moore calls for public transport tax breaks

Lord Mayor Clover Moore calls for public transport tax breaks

Tax breaks for public transport: Clover Moore. Photo: Alan Place

Sydney Council is demanding the Federal Government introduce tax concessions for people who catch public transport or ride a bike to work.

The council has suggested this be done through concessional salary sacrifice, or personal tax deductions on cycling equipment and monthly, quarterly and annual public transport tickets.

“Australia’s current tax system actively encourages people to drive but does not reward those who make sustainable transport choices by cycling or catching public transport,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

According to the Bureau of Transport Economics, traffic congestion costs Sydney close to $4 billion a year, and this is expected to rise to $8 billion by 2020 unless action is taken.

The health and environmental costs of transport are estimated to cost $1.4 billion a year.

“People who contribute to reducing congestion and pollution and the burden on our health system should be rewarded,” Cr Moore said.

The council has argued that creating incentives for drivers would encourage them to change to more sustainable transport options.

The council is also seeking a review of other incentives in the tax system, arguing that Australia is lagging behind other countries that have transformed their taxation system to actively promote public transport.

The United Kingdom’s tax system calculates Fringe Benefits Tax based on the amount of carbon dioxide that a car emits.

In the United States, employers can provide their staff with tax free public transport vouchers, passes or fares.

“Forty per cent of peak hour traffic is corporately owned or subject to Fringe Benefits Tax concessions,” Cr Moore said. “People are getting rewarded for racking up kilometres on their car.

“If we are serious about addressing climate change and fixing the transport system these imbalances need to be addressed.”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - -- - -

Good on you, Lord Mayor Clover Moore - but if we are really serious: why not make it so much easier and provide a real incentive for people to switch to public transport: make it fare-free for all! [Ed]

Transport is not an island

So Sydney’s CBD will be in ”complete gridlock” unless there is “radical” action to stem traffic and reduce the number of buses from the northern suburbs, the State Government’s own research has forecast (SMH, Nov 9th 2009). Wow that’s a headline to sell papers!…….. “A line of buses, stretching for more than a kilometre, sitting idle on Sydney Harbour Bridge“….that’s fantastic, the imagery is very tempting.

The Government’s Transport Data Centre says if nothing is done then high levels of bus congestion and delays for all passengers will result (not to mention the buses enjoying views from the bridge). Of course if “nothing is done” this will eventuate. It is unclear from the SMH article what methodology was used to come to this conclusion but the SMH suggests that there are “serious implications” for the Government’s public transport strategy for north-west Sydney, which relies entirely on buses.

I’m not about to support the current NSW Government who are useless at best, but I want to say this; there are four sectors in transport: road, rail, sea and air. Three of the four do not exist in NW Sydney, the one that does is road. At the moment the only viable alternative is to put a plethora of buses in the NW. Like it or not this is the REALITY. Link this thought with my previous writings on Free Public Transport and what do you get? You get a mechanism to get people out of their cars and onto public transport. If public transport was free, congestion would be halved like it has in other parts of the world where such ventures have been undertaken. Having an army of buses using our existing infrastructure is not a pie in the sky idea. It is an immediate and cheap option while we play catch up with the last 20 years of neglect.

The results of the ‘do nothing’ scenario revealed that the network, with current traffic management arrangements, would not be able to cope with a 30 per cent growth in bus demand.” Again, I highlight the fact that this is a “do nothing” result. If public transport was made free then the game can be replayed, the pieces reset and we can start to reap the benefits that will filter through all of society. Free public transport would enable those in outlying or housing commission areas of Sydney to travel without making a dent in their meagre wages. It would facilitate less demand on emergency and health services. It would free up people’s income to help “stimulate” the economy (which is an often talked about must in financial circles).

Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, has said that “the city cannot cope with more buses” – but this is assuming nothing changes. What has not been reported in the SMH is what (if any) other modelling was run by the Transport data centre. I suspect that if they ran a scenario under the auspices of Free Public Transport then they would see a result that shows a very different pattern. One that has freight moving around freely, one that reduces congestion to insignificant levels, one that makes the notion of “peak hour” a historical relic in the same class as “clean coal”. So while Clover Moore says the city cannot cope with more buses, the city and the Government had reached an agreement to build a new bus layover areas?

Once again the Road Transport network is seemingly being analysed in isolation from all other sectors of society. It does not operate in a vacuum, getting the system right is a balance of many forces and these should always be assessed. Transport, Health, Finance, Infrastructure, Housing, Planning, Local Government, Tourism and others are all inextricably linked and cannot be entirely separated as they usually are. The sooner this is realised the better.

Adam Butler: Be the Change You Want To Be.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Mobilising to challenge 'feudal era' management

by Matt McCarten
from NZ Herald
8 November 2009

Every thinking New Zealander should go and see Michael Moore's film Capitalism: A Love Story that is now out in cinemas.

I've been a fan of Moore ever since his first film, Roger & Me, which had him chasing down Roger Smith - the then head of General Motors - after Moore's father and thousands of other auto workers were laid off in Flint, Michigan.

His Oscar-winning documentary, Bowling for Columbine, and his last film Sicko, posed serious challenges to corporate capitalism. Moore's latest film is the most politically potent of all.

It's a full-frontal attack on his usual target of corporations and on the whole capitalist system. It has all the usual "corporate greed versus ordinary people" stories, which have parallels in New Zealand. But what particularly resonates is his defiant critique - that corporate capitalism is evil, immoral and undemocratic.

What we need is a just transition to a low carbon economy

by Tane Feary
8 November 2009

Mining in national parks in New Zealand is one of the National Governments suggested "solutions" to the economic crises and New Zealand's place in the financial world. This is yet another example of short term profit and long term environmental destruction. Nick Smith, the New Zealand climate and environment minister talks about balancing economics and the environment, what he is really talking about is bank balances.

New Zealand plays on a brand and image of being a "clean and green" country, yet reality suggests otherwise. Dirty dairy from corporate agriculture companies, coal mining and energy, motorway expansion and a raft of industries are being given the go ahead as they are financially lucrative, and provide a fast buck, the long term cost is not factored in, neither is the environmental cost.

Creating pollution markets does not alter the unsustainable nature of an economy built to make economic growth and profit out of the destruction of ecosystems. Until economics has environmental and social considerations, big business will continue to profit from ecologically and socially destructive activities. A low carbon economy would provide what carbon pollution markets never can.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Copenhagen: mass protests planned

Simon Butler
24 October 2009

Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in climate action protests in the Danish capital of Copenhagen during the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in December.

The biggest action will be a six-kilometre march under the slogan “People First — Planet First”. More than 115 organisations have endorsed the protests, which will demand the richest countries “take the urgent and resolute action needed to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of the global climate”.

It will take place on December 12, midway through the Copenhagen conference. Organisers have called for the date to be a global day of protest.

The protest call to action says: “We demand that those industrialised countries that have emitted most greenhouse gases take responsibility for climate change mitigation by immediately reducing their own emissions while investing in a clean energy revolution in the developing world.

“Developed countries must take their fair share of the responsibility in paying for the adaptive measures that have to be taken, especially by low-emitting countries with limited economic resources.

“Climate change will hit the poorest first, and hit them hardest. All those who have the economic means to act therefore must do so urgently and decisively.”

A range of other protest events are also planned to coincide with the Copenhagen talks. Climate Justice Action, an international activist network, announced it will organise a mass action to shut down Copenhagen Harbour on December 13.

Spokesperson Tadzio Mueller said: “The UN climate talks will not solve the climate crisis. We are no closer to reducing greenhouse gas emissions than we were when international negotiations began 15 years ago: emissions are rising faster than ever, while carbon trading allows climate criminals to pollute and profit.”

The network will also organise a People’s Climate Justice summit on December 16.

In an October 18 statement, Climate Justice Action said it opposed the false, market-based solutions that are likely to come out of Copenhagen.

Instead, it called for a safe climate policy that includes: leaving fossil fuels in the ground; reasserting peoples’ and community control over production; and recognising the ecological and climate debt owed to the peoples of the global South and making reparations.

[For more details of protests planned during the Copenhagen climate talks, visit www.12dec09.dk/en and www.climate-justice-action.org.]

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Make public transport free and people will make the switch

Wollongong free shuttle bus shows: Make public transport free and people will make the switch

Monday October 26, 2009 - The success of the free shuttle bus in Wollongong has stirred the Socialist Alliance to renew calls for public transport to be made free across the state of NSW.

Illawarra Socialist Alliance convener, Chris Williams, said: 'Wollongong's free shuttle bus has been used over 1 million times now - an amazing uptake. It proves that when public transport is made free and frequent, people will make the switch. Given the success of the shuttle, the NSW government should commit to a publicly owned and upgraded, free public transport system. It's a socially just answer to the chronic problem of traffic congestion, lack of parking and lack of mobility for poorer sections of the community'

'Encouraging people to leave their cars at home by providing a real alternative would also greatly assist efforts to reduce global warming. Transport is responsible for 14% of Australia's greenhouse-gas emissions, and road transport accounts for around 90% of that share. Trains are 40 times more energy efficient than cars, so enabling people to make the switch would have huge implications for Australia's emissions reduction targets.

'Making public transport free would also massively reduce costs associated with air pollution, car accidents, traffic congestion, motor vehicle waste disposal, noise pollution and road maintenance. It would more than pay for itself in addition to the social and environmental gains. Our health and environment demand this kind of action; the outstanding success of Wollongong's free shuttle shows it's viable', Williams concluded.

For more information or interviews contact Chris Williams on 0425 329 963

Socialist Alliance Illawarra

The High Cost of Cheap Oil

Someone has to pay for keeping oil cheap

Why are we in the fix we are in? Why is the auto everywhere in our face? Why do we have sprawl? Why is the the climate disrupted and the biosphere in danger? Because oil has a low price. That is right the price is low. But the cost of oil is high, very high. What is the difference? The difference is that "someone else" will pay for the cleanup when oil makes a mess, "someone else" will pay for the traffic congestion, "someone else" will pay for the dust storm damage.

Sydney - A Thai oil exploration company said Sunday its leaking Timor Sea oil well had caught fire. The West Atlas drilling platform operated by PTTEP Australasia in the Montara field 690 kilometres west of Darwin has been leaking around 400 barrels of oil and gas a day since August 21.EarthTimes

Public Transport Should Be Free

How to have free public transport - Adam Butler

No I’m not mad. Public Transport should be free. For the time being I will concentrate on rail. In NSW, only 22% of the running costs for rail comes from the travelling public. 53% already comes from taxpayers and the rest from other revenue like property rental, interest, access fees etc….On top of this, Railcorp recorded a surplus of $194M in 07/08. So to have free rail transport we only need to find the 22% received from passengers. Here’s how we can do it (and do it easily)....Adam Butler

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Towards a UK national campaign for free public transport

Friday, October 23, 2009

An ecosocialist MP for Blaneau Gwent?

Well there is one Member of Parliament pushing ecosocialist politics already Dai Davies, he stood as an independent and beat Labour in a by-election, excellent stuff, he is working with my friend Roy Wilkes on free public transport, I am looking forward to posting up more of his stuff.

Be great if Plaid and the Greens gave him a free run at the General Election...

In the past ten days big strides have been made towards a national campaign for free public transport.

I published a research paper some months ago making the case for the wide-scale introduction of free transport.

In areas like ours, where many of our valley communities and people find themselves isolated, the issue is very important.

If you can’t access work, shops, friends, hospitals, and other things which the better-off expect, then life can become very difficult.

The research led to various interviews including an hour-long debate on BBC radio Wales in which I called for free transport to be introduced across Wales.

A like-minded group in Greater Manchester then contacted me, and from that we have agreed to put the whole thing on a UK-wide footing.

At the heart of the UK campaign will be a major research project.

That research will be unveiled at a Conference next March in the House of Commons.

The aim is to get communities, organisations, trades unions, and others involved from all over the UK.

I’ve been asked to lead the campaign, and will chair that inaugural conference of the National Campaign for Free Public Transport for all.

The vice-chair is Roy Wilkes, who has chaired the campaign for free public transport in Greater Manchester.

The aim will be to produce a fully-costed and rigorous evidence-based case, which will address such issues as the social benefits (especially for less well-off communities).

It will also spell out the costs of the present over-dependence on cars, lorries, and profit-making buses and trains – in terms of the environment, pollution, transport gridlock, Co2 emissions, and other issues.

The overall aim is a fully integrated, publicly owned, and free at the point of use system.

This is an issue which every one of us needs to take seriously. Britain is grinding to a halt, we are churning-out climate-threatening levels of co2, many of our most deprived people and areas are isolated and unable to access vital services.

When people ask us ‘can we afford it’, my answer is it could cost us the earth of we don’t take action on this.

The aim of the national campaign is to put that case to everyone in Britain.

From blogsite of UK green activist, and former principal speaker of the Green Party of England & Wales, Derek Wall: www.another-green-world.blogspot.com

Friday, October 23, 2009

The cost of not having free public transit

We have tried to list all the externalities of the private auto and sprawl. But the list keeps growing and growing. People ask, "can we afford to have free public transit"? The answer is "we can no longer afford not to have it". In the article quoted below fromClimateProgress they show how NRC counts more externalized costs.
...The report estimates dollar values for several major components of these costs. The damages the committee was able to quantify were an estimated $120 billion in the U.S. in 2005, a number that reflects primarily health damages from air pollution associated with electricity generation and motor vehicle transportation. The figure does not include damages from climate change, harm to ecosystems, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, and risks to national security, which the report examines but does not monetize... NationalResearchCouncil via ClimateProgress

Banks Fuel Climate Crisis

BAD BANKS leaflet #3: 'Their Pollution Market Stinks!'

Bad Banks leaflet #3 is available now. It addresses the link between global banking power and the ecological crisis, specifically focusing on the banking class's prosposed "solution" to climate change, pollution markets (or as they're calling them, emission trading schemes).

This leaflet has contributions on the back page from David Parker (writer for www.wellsharp.wordpress.com/), Mike Treen (Unite Union National Director), Omar Hamed (Unite Union organiser & Rainforest Action co-ordinator), and Roger Fowler (editor of www.farefreenz.blogspot.com/).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Car-based economy is simply not sustainable"

Laid-off auto workers can work on public transit

...Public transport creates 25% more jobs than the same investment in building roads or highways. At a meeting of the Policy Board of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) hosted by De Lijn from 13 to 16 October 2009 in Ghent, Belgium, worldwide leaders of the public transport sector called on governments to invest in the public transport sector. Carfree Blogosphere

Monday, October 19, 2009

Free public transport advocate wins seat

[SamWainwright.jpg]Socialist Alliance WA co-convenor Sam Wainwright was elected from the Hilton Ward to the Fremantle Council in the October 17 poll. Wainwright was the candidate with the most votes, polling over 33% of the vote.

A socialist, unionist and community activist, Wainwright advocates for "free and expanded public transport" and for council to "fight climate change", workers' rights, and open spaces for all, and rates based on ability to pay.

For more details of Wainwright's campaign, visit: www.samforhilton.com

From GreenLeft Weekly 17 Oct 2009.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

We're on Indymedia's 'Best Blog' list:

New Zealand has a new blogsite promoting free and frequent public transport, it's called Fare-Free New Zealand. Go to http://farefreenz.blogspot.com/ The editors welcome any NZ or international stories relating to the campaign for fare-free public transport. Send to farefreenz@clear.net.nz The call for free public transport is being made internationally by environmentalists, campaigners against climate change, Green parties, and eco-socialists. It's a campaign focus that makes lots of ecological, economic and political sense. And it's a grassroots response to the threat of climate change that challenges the pro-market illogic of the pollution market (otherwise known as carbon or emissions trading).


Friday, October 16, 2009

Message from Sweden: Action on Climate Change

Blog Action Day: Use the tools at your disposal! torsdag 15 oktober 2009

This blog post is written in English as a part of the Blog Action Day on climate change.

Today the web will probably be flooded with blog posts about how green technology will save us from the horrors of climate change. Some posts will be constructive and original, but a lot of them will probably just be deterministic and overly optimistic. As a contrast to this, we at Planka.nu would like to put the spotlight on what could be done today with political reforms that we have the tools and knowledge to implement. Such as a politically driven change of our infrastructure and simple green tax-switching policies.

In Stockholm and Sweden, we currently have politicians who plan to expand our large road network even more and constantly raises the fares on climate-smart means of getting around such as public transport. At the same time as they are doing this they are not willing to take responsibility for the ever-increasing car-traffic. Our politicians will not acknowledge that there are political reasons behind the fact that car-traffic is taking (and will do so even more according to current projections) market shares from public transport. Instead they blame it on the constantly growing demand for car-traffic, as if supply and demand only had a one-way relation.

More roads and more expensive public transport equals more car-traffic on the expense of public transportation; an equation so easy that even a five year old would understand it.

The transport sector is one of the biggest climate scoundrels in Sweden, accounting for around 40 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, in other words: it is one of the most urgent sectors to make climate-smart.

We in Planka.nu believe that the key to radically decrease the emissions from the transport sector lies within our cities, partly because they are hosts of most of the traffic and partly because their population density provides a good framework for easy and relatively cheap climate adjustments.

In September 2009 we released the report Travel doesn’t have to cost the earth, where we present five concrete measures to make the transport sector in Stockholm climate-smart. This whole package of reforms are built on the idea that we do not have the time to sit around and wait for the green technology to save us, rather the opposite: we need to act now, and we need to do it with the tools that are currently at our disposal.

The five measures we present in Travel doesn’t have to cost the earth are:

  • Transport-saving social planning
  • Major investments in rail-carried public transport
  • Stop on all road expansions
  • Car-free city centre
  • Fare-free public transport

The fact that we can not know what kind of green technology solutions that will be available in the future is a very obvious one. But considering that blind trust in technology development is the dominant position in the climate debate, it is still worth repeating. On the other hand, one thing that we do know for sure is: changes in the infrastructure as well as simple green tax-switching are effective policies that are available to us today.

So, instead of wishful thinking and naive believe in technology we promote measures that will lead to concrete results – i.e. a reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector – and can be carried out with nothing else but the power of political will.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009


No such thing as green cars

By now, it should be obvious that private automobiles are environmentally unsustainable. Yet many people still cling to the fantasy of “Green Cars”. Such people tend to focus only on alternative fuels and the emissions that come out of a car’s tail pipe. They ignore the fact that half the greenhouse gas and pollution a car will emit during its lifetime is created in its manufacture and disposal …and in the manufacture and maintenance of the roads on which it travels. The plastics in a car’s body, interior and tires, the steel in its frame, the lubricants it uses, and the asphalt and concrete it drives on all require petroleum to manufacture and maintain. Andy Singer on CarfreeNetwork


Kirsten@Nexyoo said...

This is a good reminder that we're a long way from a sustainable car. I do think in theory it's possible that cars (and buses, and trains, etc) could eventually be made with renewable energy, and materials recycled in a closed loop. For now, I agree that the best option for the environment is to stay car-free, if possible.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lock out news: NZ Bus rejects free rides

NZ Herald

NZ Bus rejects free rides

4:00AM Sunday Oct 11, 2009

New Zealand Bus has rejected an offer by bus drivers to take Auckland children to school for free when the new term starts tomorrow.

The drivers have been locked out since Thursday morning after issuing a work-to-rule notice in support of their long-running pay dispute.

The four unions, representing about 900 drivers, offered to carry children to school for free to ease disruption on the roads when the new school term starts.

But NZ Bus said it was up to the unions to withdraw their threat of industrial action before it was ready to lift the lockout.