Friday, November 25, 2011

Montenegro - Students demand free public transport

Students walked from the Podgorica University campus to parliament carrying slogans "I do not want to party, I want a job" and "Do not tell me to shut up".

They are demanding lower tuition fees, improved conditions in student dormitories, quality instruction as required by the Bologna Process, free public transportation, as well as more government efforts to boost employment after graduation.

[Montenegro is a small nation in southeast Europe, next to Croatia & Albania. Pop 625,266. Ed]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Letter to the editor NZ Herald

The Business Forum's proposal to add a punitive $2 toll on to public transport tickets to fund more big roads is the opposite of what Auckland needs.

Instead, it's time funding was ploughed into public transport to get us out of our cars and cut this obsession for more roads.

Auckland already has the largest amount of bitumen than any other comparable city.

As your editoral (NZ Herald 14 November) states; "To attract and retain patronage, public transport has not only to be fast, frequent, convenient and comfortable. It has to be affordable." If we really want to succeed - why not divert a fraction of the millions of dollars earmarked for more roads and make public transport fare-free?

Roger Fowler,
Mangere East.
15 November 2011.

Free train travel pushed to tackle peak-hour overcrowding in Sydney

Jacob Saulwick November 15, 2011


Sydney business leaders are backing a proposal by Infrastructure NSW for the government to offer free train travel before 7am.

The proposal, pushed by the Infrastructure NSW chief executive, Paul Broad, would aim to lessen crowding on peak-hour trains by making it more attractive to travel before the peak period.

At a transport forum last month, an Infrastructure NSW board member, Max Moore-Wilton, said the state government should be looking at introducing congestion charging across all modes of transport.

"Why on earth is it just for cars?" Mr Moore-Wilton said.

"Why don't we look at it for State Rail and State Transit? We all know that the people that come in in peak hour should principally be those people that are going to work. They have the capacity to pay," he said.

"Whenever we go and talk about that, the first thing the politicians do is what I call 'Labor disease', which has now become general," Mr Moore-Wilton said at the event, hosted by the Tourism and Transport Forum.

"They say, 'Well we don't want the average punter to pay differentially, we don't want the pensioners to pay deferentially,' and it's left to the merchant bankers to pay. Well they're not the great bulk of the people.

"You've got to tell the people, if we are going to improve peak-hour congestion, those people that need to come for their work should be prepared to pay more. Those people that don't should be encouraged, and I use the word encouraged, through lower pricing."

Mr Broad has raised the idea of free train travel before 7am with the state government. It is unclear if Infrastructure NSW has also raised the idea of higher fares for peak-hour commuters.

The acting Premier, Andrew Stoner, said this morning: "We're all interested in innovative ways to get cars off Sydney's main roads, to get more people on to public transport and Infrastructure NSW is a body that will advise the government on infrastructure, including public transport.

"So that's a proposal we'll think about. It has been trialled in part by a previous government with fairly limited success but we'll have a look at it."

Patricia Forsyth, the executive director of the Sydney Business Chamber, backed the use of more so-called demand management measures.

"The cost of increasing capacity on the road and rail network throughout Sydney is becoming so prohibitively expensive that we need to start looking at using what we already have in a more intelligent and efficient way," Ms Forsythe said this morning.

"Business supports the move by Infrastructure NSW to incorporate a transport demand strategy into its 20-year infrastructure plan. That is a victory for common sense and transport planning," she said.

A recent study by researchers from Southern Cross University and Douglas Economics, presented to the Australasian Transport Research Forum, found some willingness among Sydney commuters to change their travel times if offered attractive pricing.

While most commuters could not change their travel times because of work, the study, which analysed results of a 2010 survey, showed that, for a 30 per cent discount, 15 per cent of peak-hour passengers would be willing to travel 30 minutes earlier, while 4 per cent of commuters would be willing to travel an hour earlier.

Industry experts say that previous trials of free off-peak train travel have thrown up numerous problems.

One problem is that commuters tend to rush for the last train in the free period. This would mean, for example, there would be little patronage growth on a train leaving at 6.30am but huge overcrowding on a train leaving at 6.55am.

Another issue is that free early morning travel would attract to the train system people who do not currently use it. While this would be a good thing, it would also mean more people would need to pack on to crowded afternoon return trains.

Jacob Saulwick is the Herald's Transport Reporter

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fare-FreeNZ submission to the Auckland Plan

Fare-FreeNZ editor, Roger Fowler, presented a submission to the Auckland Council on the Draft Auckland Plan on Tuesday.

His submission called on the Council to "introduce a region-wide network of fare-free public transport to get Auckland commuters out of our cars, and seriously reduce traffic congestion, fuel wastage, road accidents, pollution and related health issues."

Fowler recalled his recent visit to Hasselt in Belgium, who's visionary mayor introduced free public transport 15 years ago, which totally transformed the provincial city from a drab, gridlocked nightmare, into a pleasant, green, 'people-focused' city. Hasselt has since become a popular cultural hub in Europe.

Auckland too could be transformed into a modern, clean & green world-class city by implementing an efficient, integrated, publicly-owned fare free public transport network. Free & frequent low (or no) emission buses criss-crossing the city and linking up with free electric rail services and ferries, would free up the roads and allow people to move about easily, and leave their cars at home.

One councillor inevitably asked "How would it be paid for?" Fowler noted that no one seems to ask who pays for all the extravagent motorways, tunnels, and flyovers that continue to be built - only to be encourage more traffic that soon gets clogged again. Not to mention the high costs to people's health from exhaust pollution and accidents.

Government & Council funding for decent public transport should be a public service priority. Free public transport would make Auckland a world leader and attract a large influx of visitors, who could be levied a special tourist tax. Companies who profit from the resulting increased business could be levied too. And Auckland would be spared the excessive costs of building more motorways.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What if transit were free?

November 07, 2011

As sure as the arrival of the ice and snow, this time of year always brings unpleasant news about how much the city plans to jack up bus fares.

This year, Winnipeg Transit is asking for a five-cent increase to the basic fare, taking it up to $2.45 for a one-way trip. Passes and tickets will go up accordingly.

If approved, this will mean that fares have gone up about 36 per cent since Mayor Katz took office in 2004, or about two and a half times the rate of inflation over that period.

Amazingly, ridership has actually increased despite the rate hikes. While transit officials credit service improvements, it’s far more likely that rising fuel costs, rising awareness of environmental issues and changing commuting patterns are really the cause. And even with several years of growth, ridership is just now back up to what it was 20 years ago.

Politicians and policy makers like to roll out expensive plans to build rapid transit to attract even more riders, but I have to wonder why no one is talking about the one surefire way to boost transit use.

What if it were free?

Now, I can already hear drivers howling in outrage about the idea of transit users getting a “free ride.” But the reality is that drivers have been getting their own free ride for years.

This city spends tens of millions on planning, building and maintaining roads every year, primarily for the benefit of private automobile owners.

The new Transportation Master Plan calls for $2.1 billion in new roads and bridges to be built over the next 20 years. Billions more will be needed to maintain our existing crumbling streets.

But we could potentially save much of that expense if we could simply get more people out of their cars and on to transit.

It wouldn’t be cheap; we’d need more buses, more drivers and more public-operating subsidies. But the benefits are clear. It would reduce traffic congestion, speed up everyone’s commute and eliminate the need for more road capacity. It would benefit the environment, encourage more compact development and enhance mobility for people who can’t drive or afford a car.

Sure, this might be a bold (or crazy) idea, but it would be nice to see a few more of those from city hall rather than just a nickel-and-dime approach to running essential services.

– Colin Fast is a corporate communicator who blogs about life in Winnipeg at

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wacky-Named "Pirate" Party Gains Power in Germany, Calls for Free Public Transportation
by on 09.25.11

Pirate party member Susanne Graf House of Representatives photo
Image: Pirate Party/Susanne Graf

As the rest of the world was celebrating talk like a pirate day, the Pirate Party won its first seats in the Berlin state elections.

In Germany, any party winning more than 5% of the votes is entitled to a share in government. With 8.9%, the Pirate party lands 15 seats in the state government, among them 19-year-old Susanne Graf (pictured above), who will be the youngest representative when session opens in October. Is this the beginning of a new kind of politics? Is the Pirate party walking a green plank?

First and foremost, the Pirate Party campaign program (pdf, German) promises transparency and to give citizens more voice in government.

As a young, technologically oriented party, this could auger a change (which some believe is inevitable) in the way we govern ourselves, a move away from representative government to net-based referendums. While not itself green, many believe this strategy could help take big money out of government, bringing balance back to the human aspect of decision making.

Although the word "pirate" has come to be associated with, well let us just say, the uncompensated use of certain digital properties, the official program of the Pirate Party focuses on equal access to information that is in the public domain, and equal opportunity use of internet technology as well as improved educational opportunity for the youth.

The greenest angle on this approach to equal access in public domains is the call to keep natural areas available for everyone, such as maintaining open access to river banks. Ironically, the debate stirs already over the lack of female presence in the party. Susanne is the only female sitting with 14 males.

The Greenest Planks of the Pirate Party Platform
Probably the greenest plank proposed in the Pirate program calls for free public transport, and activates against expanding highways through the city. Free public transport speaks for itself as a green platform. Thoughts on how to suppress highway construction projects rest on the main Pirate plank: make the contracts transparent, so the big money cannot win behind closed doors, and give people a direct vote on whether such projects should proceed.

Of course, the Pirates advocate nuclear-free power as well. And the campaign program explicitly calls for "sustainable, ecological economic policy."

Pirates Walking Other Planks
The Pirate program offers much more than "open access." It turns the clock back on post-9/11 state controls, fighting against surveillance of citizens and demanding improvements in accountability for police forces.

The platform contains planks designed to open borders, fighting on several fronts against anti-immigrant feelings. Perhaps most controversially, the Pirate platform also demands a change from drug abuse penalization to educational and social supports designed to reduce dependence on harmful drugs. Walking this plank includes the legalization of marijuana, on the grounds that illegal cannabis handlers pose a health risk by selling contaminated products.

Nations around the globe are finding politics as usual unsatisfying in the face of global economic crisis. Sustainability fans know that things cannot go on as they are. The question that now arises in Berlin is: will this youth movement earn respect for a new path forward, a post-capitalist, post-industrial, social-network based politics? Can politics survive transparency? And can it work for a party named "Pirates"?

Friday, September 23, 2011

People Power for the Planet


About The Event

From 11am: Family-friendly cycle ride

Cycle Action Auckland and Frocks on Bikes are organising a big family-friendly bike ride around central Auckland. Meet at 11am at the Wynyard Quarter playground. There will be a limited number of bikes available to borrow for the ride thanks to Cyclists will arrive back at QEII Square in downtown Auckland by 1pm to join in the parade to Albert Park.

From 1pm: People-powered parade up Queen Street

Cyclists, walkers, skateboarders, roller skaters and more from around the city will parade together up Queen Street with signs and banners calling for action to address climate change by moving New Zealand beyond fossil fuels.

From 2pm: Celebration in Albert Park

The people-powered parade will make its way to Albert Park, where there will be live music, entertaining speakers, a vegetarian sausage sizzle, coffee and cold drinks available to purchase (cash only).

You can follow the whole journey, or join in anywhere along the way.

For all parts of the day, we challenge you to come dressed up as your favourite fossil fuel alternative.

Let's create a visual spectacle of human wind turbines, etc.

Or keep it simple and decorate yourself with the unifying symbol for the worldwide Moving Planet day: arrows to symbolise moving away from fossil fuels.

We'll have some face paint on hand at the cycle ride and parade gathering points for the young and young at heart.

Come show your support for moving New Zealand beyond fossil fuels - make your voice heard!

If we don't change them, we'll end up where they're taking us !

Contact: Alan Preston ( a campaign co-ordinator )
Mangawhai Village, Northland , New Zealand
tel: (09) 431 5389
mob/txt: 02102377242

World Car Free day comes to Bay of Plenty

Free bus rides across the region

More than 11,000 passengers enjoyed a free ride on the bus yesterday [Thursday] as part of World Car Free Day activities in the Bay of Plenty. The region's Bay Hopper and City Ride buses were made free for the entire day as a surprise to reward those committed to using public transport.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Public Transport Subcommittee Chairman Doug Owens said that it was a great opportunity to offer a small reward to people who are choosing to act sustainably.

"This was an opportunity to recognise the thousands of people in our community that already know the benefits of using public transport and are making use of our buses. We hope that we created a positive experience yesterday that will increase awareness of our valuable bus networks," he said.

World Car Free Day is an international campaign to promote the economic, social and environmental benefits of cycling, walking and public transport.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council incurred the loss of revenue for the day, and Reesby Buses Ltd also came on board to make a contribution towards the Rotorua costs.

The Bay of Plenty Bay Hopper and City Ride bus services cover all major towns and suburbs in the Bay of Plenty including Opotiki, Whakatane, Kawerau, Murupara, Rotorua, Te Puke, Tauranga, and Katikati.

Cr Owens encourages others to consider the bus as a win-win option for getting around.

"Taking the bus is not only good for the environment, it also takes a lot of hassle out of your day. In addition there's no need to pay for a park, and plenty of time to text your friends and have a read of the paper," Cr Owens said.

"World Car Free Day was a great opportunity to encourage people to use public transport, but the biggest challenge now is to encourage people to make it part of their everyday routine," he said.

"We hope that those who received the free ride yesterday will continue to keep taking the bus and encourage friends and family to join them too," Cr Owens said.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Push to make public transport free for kids under 19 years

San Francisco -- A growing number of city leaders want to make riding Muni (San Francisco public transport) free for kids 18 and under, but doing so would cost $6 to $13 million annually.

Supervisor David Campos said the cost should be viewed as an important investment.

"It's one critical step we can take to improve the quality of life for all families in the city, and to support and encourage a new generation of transit riders for our future," said Campos. He introduced a resolution Tuesday that has the backing of the majority of the Board of Supervisors and would call on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to provide a free transit pass for young people.

But that's a tough proposition since the agency, with a $781 million operating budget, is already facing a $23 million deficit.

Muni's youth cash fare is 75 cents, and the monthly youth Fast Pass is $21. Children under 5 already ride for free.

Muni estimates that 36,000, or about 15 percent, of the system's weekday riders are under 18. Included in that estimate are kids who sneak aboard. A 2009 study found that about 10 percent of the passengers in the peak after-school hours between 2 and 4 p.m. didn't pay. Unknown is the age breakdown of the fare cheats.

Cable cars would be excluded from the proposed free-Muni program.

The idea of free transit for youths is not new - New York City and Portland for example, have variations of such a program. And over the years, the idea of free Muni has been floated.

But proponents say the need in San Francisco is particularly acute now, given that Muni has more than doubled the cost of the youth Fast Pass over the past two years and the San Francisco Unified School District is cutting its school bus program by 43 percent over the next two years.

Gabriella Ruiz said her family, who lives on a fixed income in the Bayview, feels the financial pinch and would welcome the prospect of free transportation.

Ruiz, a 17-year-old freshman at San Francisco State University, and her younger sister who attends high school, pay cash to ride Muni and every day they scrounge to come up with the money rather than shell out the combined $42 at the beginning of the month to buy the more thrifty passes. When money is short, she said she sometimes boards the bus using an expired transfer. "It would be good if Muni was free and we wouldn't have to worry," she said.

Ruiz was one of several dozen people, among them city supervisors, community activists, public schools superintendent Carlos Garcia and Joel Ramos, who serves on the transportation agency's governing board, who rallied on the steps of City Hall Tuesday in support of the idea.

Muni chief Ed Reiskin offered no promises, but said his agency is "very open to discussion."

Money will be the key sticking point.

Muni set aside just $1.4 million this fiscal year to provide free passes for a limited number of eligible low-income students. Campos and other proponents hope a three-year trial could be funded by sources that include the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the San Francisco Unified School District, the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission and even private donors.

Muni could lose $6.4 million to $7 million in revenue if youths rode free, according to a report issued Tuesday by Board of Supervisors budget analyst Harvey Rose.

On top of that, Muni officials estimate that the lure of free service would boost the number of young riders by 10,980 a day, which would require the agency to provide more service and could lead to more graffiti that needs to be cleaned up. Those costs would add another $6 million or more to the tab, although the budget analyst questions whether Muni actually would add more service to handle the additional riders, given the agency's past handling of capacity issues.

The analyst outlines several potential benefits, the costs of which are hard to calculate Among them: Enabling youth to get to jobs at more distant neighborhoods, reducing the need to use private automobiles, which cause congestion and pollution, and cutting truancy to the extent that students miss school because they don't have bus fare.

E-mail Rachel Gordon at

Monday, September 19, 2011

Free student buses transform city

Fare-free bus services for university students in Lawrence, Kansas, have resulted in 138 percent increase in ridership and freed up the roads, as described in the following report. 
Many other cities have experienced similar dramatic advantages after introducing free public transport services. New Zealand cities can learn from these experiments to reduce traffic congestion and move towards a sustainable environment. Editor

Every day, bus drivers provide an instrumental service to students and the community as they travel routes to and from campus.

Unlike other public transit systems, KU on Wheels finds itself carrying more passengers. This is due a great deal to the University going fare-free for the last three years. Students now pay a flat fee as a part of their student fees.

This led to KU on Wheels, in association with the City of Lawrence, winning the 2010 Federal Transit Association Ridership Award. The award was based on ridership increasing 138 percent in the first year of implementation, according to the Kansas Public Transit Association.
As a result of the increased ridership, the busing system helps traffic flow and makes campus greener.

By Marshall Schmidt
The University Daily 18 Sept 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Man's Greatest Mistake

Man's Greatest Mistake: "It is an issue that cuts across many aspects of modern society, it costs billions, it kills millions and maims millions more, it is a key factor behind the obesity epidemic, it criminalises hundreds of thousands of citizens, it eats up vast tracts of land, it is an anti-social menace that blights communities, particularly poorer communities, and it is deeply socially divisive. It is so resource hungry that it pushes up the price of food and other world commodities, it even causes developed nations to go to war."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Big tick for council cycleway

What is it with Auckland and public transport? The two seem to go together like Catholicism and contraception. No matter what logic, rationale or overwhelming support from the people for change, there always seems to be some high priest standing in the way, promising an eternity of hellfire and Sensing Murder replays should anyone challenge the status quo.

It happened again this week after the proposal to build a rather wonderful pedestrian and cycle path over the Harbour Bridge. That's right, a project offering folk the option of being able to walk or bike between Auckland City and the North Shore, rather than being forced to travel by car or bus. Pretty heady stuff, I know. Retro and futuristic at the same time. Just imagine. Wow. Walking.

Anecdotal evidence suggests Aucklanders love the idea. Mayor Len Brown has spoken about it warmly, re-iterating his support for harbour crossing options. National's Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye was in attendance when the plans were unveiled. But, as usual, some arch-bishop of orthodoxy has stepped in to play spoiler. Can't afford it, says transport committee chair Mike Lee. End of story.

Is it just me, or have we heard the same reason for not developing Auckland's public transport system for the past 50 years? Wasn't Mayor Robbie thwarted from implementing a rapid rail network? Haven't successive governments and councils continued to hurl it into the too-hard basket? Result? A city choking on its own vehicle congestion, with one of the worst transport systems going around.

Mayor Robbie's critics used to say he was ahead of his time. Maybe it was just that they were stuck in the past, unable to comprehend the impact of a rapidly changing environment? In 1968, 22 percent of Auckland trips were conducted on public transport. According to the 2006 census results, only six percent of us bother now. And that's including the Minute, now a fully paid-up member of the carless minority.

I don't know about you, but it seems Auckland's public transport still leaves a lot to be desired, despite the attention it receives. The rail option is disconnected and unreliable, the bus system fractured; the task of trying to get from the North Shore to the airport an exercise in hope. And yet Transport Minister Steven Joyce has the temerity to claim the PT option is not popular.

Excuse me? He's got to be joking, hasn't he? This one's not about popularity, it's about Aucklanders having little or no choice but to use cars. Joyce's doctrine reads like some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Spurn investment in public transport, encourage everyone to use cars and, when that inevitably becomes a problem, build more roads and promote even more cars.

That's at least one reason why the proposed harbour bridge cycleway/pathway deserves our support. Anything that encourages people to perambulate or cycle rather than sitting around in traffic jams has to be good for all concerned. Not only a fantastic extension to the city's waterfront development, but an important policy step in the right direction.

And at $23 million? Sounds like a steal. Let's just hope that if it does somehow get off the ground, city councillor Cathy Casey's plea for free access for all is embraced and implemented. Forget the idea of extracting a toll from users and, by definition, making it unaffordable for some. Far better to use a portion of the already-forecasted congestion charges that CBD-bound motorists will soon start paying.

» Click here to watch a video about the cycleway

What's that you say? You wouldn't want to hold your breath? I hear you. Trouble is, if something doesn't change soon, we'll all have to.

Images supplied by Copeland Associates Architects.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The Greater Wellington Regional Council is currently seeking feedback on their Draft Hutt Corridor Transport Plan. When it's finalised in September, the Hutt Corridor Plan will influence decisions on transport projects in the Hutt Valley worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

VAN - Valley Action Network has made a written submission, which Michelle Ducat will expand on in an oral presentation in Lower Hutt on Tuesday, 2 August.

In addition, we are backing an individual submission from Petone resident Norman Wilkins. In support of his submission, Norman is seeking signatures on a petition to re-open the Gracefield rail line.

He has already delivered the following message to letterboxes along the Petone Esplanade:

"To the residents of this Petone Esplanade property

I am asking you to please support a submission to reopen the Gracefield rail line.

I live near the Petone Esplanade and drive people to Wellington Hospital for treatment so I know that there is simply too much traffic on Petone Esplanade and SH2.

According to CentrePort’s research there are approximately 3000 trucks a day using the Esplanade which is about 10% of the traffic, so that means about 30 000 vehicles on that road each day. Those trucks carry about 2.5m tonnes of freight such as logs and scrap metal a year.

My submission asks the Greater Wellington Regional Council in its Hutt Corridor Plan to ask KiwiRail and Metlink to investigate the practicality of:
1. Re-instating the Gracefield to Woburn rail link for freight transport to and from Wellington’s CentrePort.
2. Building a station where the line crosses Seaview Road and putting in car park spaces to enable commuter traffic from Eastbourne to use rail from there into the city.

In presenting this submission I have the support of CentrePort for the use of the rail for freight movement. I have the support of the Petone Community Board, the Rail and Maritime Workers Union and am seeking further backing.

I would also like your support by signing a petition that I can present to the Council on Aug 2nd.
If you are prepared to do this please phone me at 9701010 to make an appointment for me to come to your house for you to sign."

Can you help gather more signatures on this petition?

Print off the petition form and take it around your family/friends/neighbours/networks, or join me in door-knocking this coming Sunday to take the petition to the residents of the Esplanade, who've been badly affected by heavy traffic since the closure of the rail line in 2002.

Time is short. Petition forms need to be returned by next Monday (1 August) so they can be tabled at the oral submissions on Tuesday.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Grant Brookes
VAN - Valley Action Network

[Go to the website for petition details: Ed]

Monday, July 25, 2011

Give up your car, get free public transportation

you ever surrender your car?

We don't mean to trade in your gas-guzzler for a high mileage
vehicle, or swap your Toyota Prius for a Nissan Leaf, or even agree to trundling around in a G-Wiz. In this case, we're talking going automotive cold turkey. What would it take for you to make that jump? Would a lifetime of free public transportation do it for you?

Well, this is what the city of Murcia, Spain is offering. The city is trying to lure residents into a unique trade-in offer: turn over your car, and you get an unlimited pass to the city's new public transportation system.

Like many cities in Europe, Murcia has become a constant traffic jam. Car owners are also finding it harder and harder to find a place to park. City planners in the U.S. [and New Zealand: Ed] might prescribe construction of additional parking lots and new highway lanes as the solution, but Murcia is taking this other route. Sound like a deal?

Autoblog Green

See additional info in the report below: Ed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trade Your Car For A Free Lifetime Bus Pass (If You Live In Murcia)

BY Morgan ClendanielTue Jul 12, 2011

A Spanish city, in a bid to end congestion, has made its citizens an offer: Give up your car and ride our trolley for free, forever.

Mejor en Tranvia trolley offer

People love their cars. They're willing to maintain a car even when it's expensive and difficult. In the Spanish city of Murcia, which had become crowded with vehicles, the government decided to try to pry people's hands off the wheels by offering a little economic incentive. Not only would you not have the inconvenience of trying to park, you could ride the city's public transit for free for the rest of your life.

To promote the campaign, the city made a series of adorable advertisements showing how unpleasant it is to be stuck in traffic and looking for parking all the time.

And just in case some Murcia residents hadn't noticed how annoying it was to have a car in the city, they also started leaving cars in impossible parking spots, like this one, where the car is forced to sit on two other cars to find a space.

Seeing that, a lifetime trolley pass looks quite enticing. While many cities have campaigns to encourage public transit use, and a few use congestion pricing to help limit the number of cars in the city centers, this is an impressive use of city funds to directly influence how people get around the city. A lifetime trolley pass is probably a minimal cost for the city (though most transit systems are already bleeding money without giving away free fares), but with enough given away, could make a drastic difference in the livability of the city.

[Images: Mejor en Tranvia]

[Hat tip: Springwise]

Follow @fastcompany.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Highway spending up, public transport funds cut

Public transport price shock on way

Public transport users have been warned they will be stung in the pocket by rising travel costs.

The government will cut up to $17 million from its public transport budget for the 2011-12 financial year.

Further costings compiled by Green Party transport spokesman Gareth Hughes estimate that figure could balloon up to $87m over the next decade.

Hughes said the big losers would be the growing number of public transport users, warning that local councils would have to either hike up prices, or cut the number of services they offered.

"The burden is squarely being placed on the shoulders of rate-payers and public transport users.

"The government is reducing the financial assistance rates to councils. This means that regional councils will have to find more money to run the same bus and train services.

"Public transport patronage is growing fast. New Zealanders are looking for affordable options and the government needs to make up for decades of under-investment.

"Instead, they are doing the opposite, increasing funding for new state highways to over $1 billion a year for the next decade, while everything else suffers."

Hughes described the policy as a disincentive to increasing public transport services.

He said the time was right for the government to start investing in a "smart, green transport system for New Zealand".

"It will save us money, improve our health and keep New Zealanders moving," he said.

He said the government funding needed to achieve a sound and efficient nationwide public transport system would be "a tiny fraction of the billions" being spent on new motorways.

Campaign for Better Transport convener Cameron Pitches backed Hughes' comments.

"We hope the government isn't going to be too severe on the public transport spend. But we know they are cutting back on the infrastructure spend. At the moment, the national road transport fund, which is a petrol tax and road-user charges, is $2.8 billion a year.

"Of that, 1.8% is spent on public transport infrastructure. But the government is seeking to cut that back to 0.7%. What the government says is, with public transport, the ratepayers are going to have to pay it [almost] entirely themselves."

Neil Reid

Sunday Star Times 17/7/2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Free buses for university students & staff

The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) has struck a deal to continue its transportation agreements with the Medical University of South Carolina and College of Charleston.

This is the sixth year that MUSC has had a partnership with CARTA and the eighth year for CofC of offering students, faculty and staff of both institutions unlimited rides with their organization identification card.

The result is free bus service to these riders, with costs covered by MUSC and College of Charleston.

“Our constant focus is to encourage use of public transit throughout the Charleston area,” said Christine Wilkinson, interim executive director for CARTA. “These two partnerships further our continual pursuit of that goal. We encourage other Charleston area businesses to consider how CARTA can help their employees and staff.”

CARTA also has ongoing partnerships with the City of Charleston, Charleston County School District and Roper St. Francis Hospital.

On average, as many as 65,000 trips per month are taken by MUSC and CofC ID holders. In addition, more than 30,000 riders take the Express routes each month, which are heavily utilized by MUSC and CofC.

“Continuing this important partnership is not only a benefit for our students, faculty and staff, but an investment in the community,” said John Runyon, director of business services at Medical University of South Carolina.

The partnerships offer a number of other benefits, which include:

  • Reduce traffic and congestion in the Charleston area
  • Reduce need for additional parking on campus
  • Accommodating to students and faculty – provides safe travel as well as bike racks for transportation around their respective campus
  • Brings the benefit to staff, faculty and students while increasing ridership and encouraging public transit
  • Increase in ridership enables CARTA to acquire additional federal funding for equipment and upgrades
  • Continuing a strong relationship with two valuable partners and involvement in regular events such as MUSC Green Fairs and CofC Orientation
  • Provides a valuable service to a diverse community

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hundreds protest Kapiti expressway

Activists say road will destroy Kapiti region

DANYA LEVY. Dominion Post 06/07/2011
NO WAY: Opponents to the Kapiti expressway protested outside Parliment today.
NO WAY: Opponents to the Kapiti expressway protested outside Parliment today.

They came on the train from the coast, others walked from their city workplaces and some came by bicycle.

About 300 protesters brought a colourful and vocal message to Parliament today - they do not want the Government's proposed Kapiti Expressway.

Their banners read "Rail Against The Expressway" and "Riding Rough Shot Over Kapiti'' and carried images of Transport Minister Steven Joyce and National's MP for Otaki Nathan Guy.

Forty-three homes will be demolished under the proposal and a further 33 affected under the planned route for the McKays to Peka Peka expressway.

Protest organiser Bianca Begovich said the expressway would devastate our whole district.

"It's not just about a few people losing their homes. It's about destroying Raumati, Waikanae, Otaki and Paraparaumu.''

"Environmentally it's a disaster, socially it's unacceptable and economically it doesn't stack up.''

The Government's consultation on the expressway had been a ``joke'', Begovich said.

"People don't get back to you. I've been waiting six weeks for a New Zealand Transport Agency representative to get back to me. Steven Joyce has never met publicly with anyone that's asked him to.''

The protesters presented a 4000-signature petition to Joyce and Guy asking the Government to revisit the previous proposal for a community link road.

"The community link road was a well planned, well designed road that was for Kapiti and for the greater good of New Zealand.''

MPs from all sides of the political spectrum came out of their offices to see the protesters.

Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi said the Government's move to cancel a public meeting on the expressway just before last year's by-election was "cynical politics''.

"I think everyone was keen to find out what the plan for the expressway was and it was proving very unpopular a few weeks out from the byelection. So all of a sudden they went quiet on the people.''

The expressway was the number one issue on the Kapiti Coast, he said.

"Nathan Guy was all for the link road before the 2008 election. The expressway wasn't even in his vocabulary. He's gone back on his word''

Green Party transport spokesman Gareth Hughes said the real beneficiaries of the expressway were the trucking industry.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the Government had to consider the alternative route.

"Communities do need to be listened to when they feel really strongly about these issues.''

Begovich said she had invited both Joyce and Guy to meet with protesters. Neither were anywhere to be seen.

"Nathan Guy will lose his seat because of this. It's about time he listened to the community.''

- The Dominion Post

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Group puts bodies on line in bid to save rail route

No Sleepers: People opposed to a proposal to mothball the rail line from Auckland to Whangarei made their point during a mass planking protest at Whangarei's Mander Park yesterday.

No Sleepers: People opposed to a proposal to mothball the rail line from Auckland to Whangarei made their point during a mass planking protest at Whangarei's Mander Park yesterday.

Photo / John Stone

What do you get when more than 40 angry people are prepared to lay their bodies on the line to protest a proposal to mothball the rail line north of Auckland - a mass planking in the park.

Yesterday, a low-energy, ground-level planking rally organised by the Save Northland Rail group saw more than 40 people lay their bodies on the line - or should that be tracks - in a symbolic protest against the proposed mothballing.

The planking, which saw protesters lay down planking-style to symbolise the sleepers on a rail line, coincided with a nationwide day of action in support of sensible transport solutions.

Save Northland Rail spokeswoman Vivienne Shepherd said the idea was to highlight the link between massive spending on road projects for truck freight and the running down of the rail network.

The Whangarei-Auckland railway line could be mothballed indefinitely from next year, after talks KiwiRail plans to have with the region's businesses and local authorities. Mothballing would involve maintaining the line but ceasing services.

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To contact the 'Save Our Rail Northland' group:
campaign coordinator is Alan Preston.

Cell phone: 021-02377242
Website: thewayforward2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Free, frequent, clean & colour-coded: Yes! - now let's spread it over the whole city

Three Link services to make inner-city busing easier

By Bernard Orsman
Wednesday Jul 6, 2011

Auckland will soon have three Link bus services as part of an expanded and simplified network in the central city and inner-city western suburbs.

From August 21, most bus services will be banished from Queen St to make the city's premier street more pedestrian-friendly.

The only buses using Queen St will be the airport bus and a new city Link running every seven to eight minutes to Karangahape Rd and back, with every second bus going in the other direction to Wynyard Quarter.

The city Link will replace the free City Circuit bus, which carries 2200 passengers a day. The new service will be free until Christmas and then free for Hop card users and 50c for others.

Auckland Transport public transport planning manager Anthony Cross said yesterday the current city and Western Bays bus network was confusing, especially for new bus users.

The inner Link simplified the existing Link route by running it more directly through the city, Ponsonby, Karangahape Rd, Newmarket and Parnell, while the new outer Link would run in a circle that included Mt Albert, St Lukes, Mt Eden, Epsom and Newmarket.

In response to public feedback - the proposed changes in March attracted 1200 submissions - Auckland Transport changed the city routes around so the inner-city Link service now goes via Britomart and the outer Link service via Wellesley St.

Mr Cross said Western Bays areas not served by the Link buses would have two routes to the city via Albert St - one service would go to Westmere, Richmond Rd and Freemans Bay and the other to Pt Chevalier and Williamson Ave.

Auckland councillor Wayne Walker predicted there would be a quantum leap in bus patronage.

"People like to use circular routes. They are incredibly easy to understand," he said.

New Zealand Bus is spending $66 million on 158 new buses for the Link services. The vehicles are 90 per cent cleaner than diesel buses and will be painted red, amber and green.

By Bernard Orsman | Email Bernard
NZ Herald 6 July 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Environmentalist for fare free public transport to cut oil consumption

Digital Journal 17 June 2011

An interview with an environmentalist and anti-deep sea drilling campaigner in the run-up to the second Hands Across The Sand in London on June 25.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster was one the greatest man-made catastrophes of the past fifty years – was and is – we still don’t know the full and ongoing effects it will have on the flora and fauna of the Gulf Coast and beyond, and even on the Gulf Stream. The eco-movement is nothing new of course, but a branch of that movement – if it may be called that – which is specifically anti-oil – is making headway in the US and in many other countries. On June 25, Hands Across The Sand is mounting its second annual event. One person who has a professional as well as a personal interest in this event and what it stands for, is Maura Flynn, an American marine biologist currently living in London. Here she is in her own words.

AB: How long have you been involved in the anti-oil campaign?
MF: Bit of an odd story. I graduated university with a degree in marine biology right into the recession. I’ve had seasonal or grant jobs here and there, but it’s been hard to find work in a field that’s been suffering from budget cuts and threats of research defunding. In March of last year, out of fears that I was becoming unfamiliar with the current events in my field, I created a blog that aggregated news articles from various places around the web with topics like marine conservation, fisheries and endangered marine species. Not even a month later, the Deepwater Horizon blowout occurred. The news was flooded with articles about the Gulf of Mexico, the marine species that would be affected by the spill, the fisheries in the area and the impacts on the marine environment. It became the topic that I wrote about the most, and through researching the articles I came across events like Hands Across the Sand.
AB: Did you take part in the last Hands Across The Sand?
MF: Yes. Last year the event received a lot of attention after Deepwater Horizon. I actually heard about Hands Across The Sand from a former university classmate of mine back in the United States, and I was very pleased to find that there was an event happening here in London as well, which I'm helping to organise.
AB: Was that organised in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster or is it something that was in the wind long before that?
MF: Hands Across The Sand originated in Florida before Deepwater Horizon as a movement against the efforts of the Florida Legislature and the US Congress to lift the ban on near and offshore oil drilling along Florida’s coast. Deepwater Horizon drew considerable attention to the problems of offshore oil drilling, and the event took off nationally and globally from there. Last year, events took place in all 50 states and in 43 countries worldwide.
AB: What do you hope to achieved by this...protest is not the right word, but I hate to call it a publicity stunt. Action?
MF: I would call it a demonstration. My main goal is to spread awareness of the issue of offshore oil drilling and dirty fossil fuel use versus clean energy sources such as wind and solar power. Personally, I think the environmental movement has sort of a bad reputation at the moment. Oftentimes when I mention an environmental topic I’m interested in or that I’m writing about, people assume I’m some kind of “tree-hugging hippie” or a PETA member who throws blood on people. I feel like these are the two stereotypes thought of when someone thinks “environmentalist.” But really this event is just to show that normal people care about the environment too. I believe most people want to do the right thing; it’s just a matter of bringing the issue to everyone’s attention. We all want clean air, clean water, safe food resources and to pass on a good future to those who come after us. The continued use of fossil fuels and dirty energy is jeopardizing that. This demonstration is a simple way people can come together to say it’s time to move towards a cleaner energy future.
AB: Are you opposed to all drilling for oil, just drilling in the sea, or deep sea drilling?
MF: I’m not a fan of any drilling – or any activity for that matter – that degrades the environment. I am particularly opposed to drilling in the sea or in coastal areas due to the potential magnitude of a spill event. Water will carry oil to places we might not even be able to find…And then how are we to fix it? I know we can’t all stop using oil tomorrow and switch entirely to more environmentally-friendly energy sources, but I do think it’s way past time to be taking a closer look at alternative energy and investing more time and money into its research and development.
AB: What do you think are the alternatives to oil: how can we reduce consumption of oil, etc? MF: The easy answer is to use public transport and to drive less, but there’s so much more than that. Plastic production is a huge consumer of oil, so minimizing the plastic products you purchase is a great step. This includes the obvious such as bottled water and plastic shopping bags, but also things like kitchen gadgets, child’s toys and certain types of clothing. I’m not saying you can’t buy these things, but consider the materials the products you buy are made of, and perhaps move towards items made from recycled glass, sustainably sourced wood or organic cotton. Another thing is to lower your “food miles”. London has some wonderful farmers’ markets, so consider buying your groceries locally instead of at Sainsbury’s, where many products are flown in from other countries. You can also try to eat lower on the food chain – that is, eat less meat and animal products. It takes far more resources to produce a pound of beef than it does to produce a pound of veg. Why not start with introducing one or two “vegetarian days” into your week? Perhaps most importantly, take a moment to write your representatives in the government and tell them how you feel about your country’s oil usage and that it’s time for a change.
AB: What is your view of synthetic oil and other alternatives?
MF: At the moment I don’t know very much about this, but it is a topic I’m looking in to. I know there is currently a debate about biofuels like corn oil because it’s taking food resources that hungry people could benefit from and using them to power luxury items like cars.
AB: How do you feel about a totally fare-free public transport system and similar measures to reduce oil consumption?
MF: I have to say, as an American from a small town where everyone has cars coming to a big city like London with multiple public transport systems…I love it! Everything is so easy to get to, and there’s never any traffic. On top of that, I’m a fan of public transport because it lessens the number of cars on the road. If you know a bus or train is already going to your desired destination, why not just hop on and save yourself the frustration of traffic and tolls? Making it fare-free would just sweeten the deal.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Leave the car in the garage - could save you $10,000 a year

Pocatello Transit Wants You To Dump The Pump

POSTED: 4:47 pm MDT June 16, 2011

Transit officials want locals in Pocatello to dump the pump and, in the process, save a little cash.

Thursday is national Dump the Pump Day, and Pocatello Regional Transit is hoping to entice more people to take the bus instead of their car.The PRT has begun handing out small flyers, and will continue through the week.

They give the holder a full free month on Pocatello public transportation.Transit officials said if you haven't considered taking the bus in Pocatello recently, look again. Routes have been expanded and schedules improved.

They said if you can take advantage of public transport enough to get a rid of a car, it'll save the average family about $10,000 a year.

...hey - this public transport thing might be the way to go!

Free Rides In Honor of Dump the Pump Day

on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Today is the sixth annual National Dump the Pump Day, a day meant not only to raise awareness of our dependence on foreign oil, but also to remind us of the benefits of public transportation. We all understand that public transit reduces congestion, but did you know that transit use in the United States saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline each year and that every dollar invested in transit generates about $4 in economic returns? These are just a few of the benefits the American Public Transportation Association is highlighting this year. APTA is also encouraging transit agencies across the country to offer free rides.

IndyGo of Indianapolis, where transit ridership is up 13.6 percent over May 2010, is offering free rides today on all lines except their downtown/airport express line. Dump the Pump Day couldn’t come at a better time for Indianapollis, where the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority and transit advocates are trying to persuade the Hoosier State’s GOP-heavy legislature to put a new tax for rail on the 2012 ballot.

LexTran, the transit agency in Lexington, Kentucky, is unveiling its new hybrid buses in addition to offering free rides. Space Coast Area Transit in Brevard County, Florida, is offering free rides too, but riders have to go online and print a ticket.

Offering free rides might be a way to attract riders who are on the fence about riding transit for everyday trips, but one can’t help but wonder what’s the long term impact of an initiative like Dump the Pump. Sure, raising awareness is important, but it seems like the only way to really increase transit ridership is to hit drivers in the wallet.

...aren't drivers are being "hit in the wallet" already with rocketting fuel costs? It's time to cut the red tape and penalties - limited free transit days are a good promotion, but permanent city-wide, free & frequent modern public transport is the way to get commuters out of our cars, increase mobility and cut car pollution, traffic congestion, road accidents and wasting precious fossil fuels - big time. Ed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Free bus services in Gibraltar


Gibraltar Government yesterday announced the restructure and shortening of bus routes plus the introduction of a free bus service for all on all routes with the exception of the frontier route. In a statement to the Chronicle, Minister for Transport Joe Holliday said these measures will bring about “a significant improvement in transport infrastructure, traffic flow and parking in Gibraltar.”

Commenting on the introduction of these new routes, Mr Holliday said: “In addition to the on going construction of car parks and parking schemes, traffic management, new roads and other initiatives that are currently being implemented, these new bus routes will provide for a significant improvement in transport infrastructure, traffic flow and parking in Gibraltar.

“The introduction of free bus fares on four of the five routes, is aimed at encouraging the increase in use of public transport and therefore a decrease in the use of private motor vehicles, so as to deliver an environmental gain, as well as improved traffic circulation. The introduction of the new bus routes and free bus service on most routes will represent further significant progress of the Plan.”

A statement by the Ministry of Transport said: “The Government will be introducing a new bus service as stated in its Integrated Traffic, Parking and Transport Plan and as part of its manifesto commitments, on Saturday 28th May 2011.

“The current routes have been reviewed and new routes will be introduced that are more consistent with an efficient and modern bus service that provides for point to point transport. The new routes will have as their main terminus the Market Place bus stop.

“The new routes will be numbered from 1 to 5. In keeping with the Government’s commitment to introduce a free bus service, routes 1, 2, 3 and 4 will provide a free service for all passengers at all times. Routes 1 to 4 will cover all points in Gibraltar, except a journey to and from the frontier.

“Route 5, which will be operated jointly by the Gibraltar Bus Company Limited and Calypso Transport Limited, will be the only fare paying route. This route will operate from the Frontier via Market Place to Reclamation Road and return to the frontier via Europort Avenue, Waterport Road and Market Place

Gibraltar Chronical 26 May 2011.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rail against the express way

The Kapiti coast, north of Wellington, is faced with one of the government's "roads of significance", due to be bulldozed through the district despite a more logical, less expensive & community-friendly alternative.
Locals want their rail services & stations upgraded.
"Save Kapiti" has called for a protest rally at Parliament, Wellington on Wednesday 6 July from midday.


• Roads of National Significance (RoNS) – roads built for trucks, not for Kiwis
• Decisions made without honest public consultation
• Built with borrowed money funded by State Assets?
• There are proven safer, more efficient solutions
• Join over 4000 petition signers for a March on Parliament
Save Kapiti
And don’t forget to ‘vote with your vote’ - Vote against the expressway at the November election.

Check out the website:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

HEI study finds London Congestion Charging Scheme shows little evidence of improving air quality

27 April 2011

The London Congestion Charging Scheme (CCS)—which charged for travel into central London and reduced traffic volume (earlier post)—has shown little evidence that it improved air quality as well, according to Part I of a new study published by the Health Effects Institute (HEI). The study, “The Impact of the Congestion Charging Scheme on Air Quality in London”, was led by Professor Frank Kelly of King’s College London as part of HEI’s research program to measure the possible health outcomes associated with actions taken to improve air quality.

Although the London CCS was designed to improve traffic and not necessarily air quality, early projections had suggested it could also improve air quality. Kelly and his team used a multifaceted approach to explore the impact of the Congestion Charging Scheme on air quality: a variety of emissions and exposure modeling techniques, analysis of air monitoring data, and a newly developed assay for the oxidative potential of particulate matter collected on filters at urban background and roadside monitors. Part I of the report deals with emissions modelling and analysis; Part II, to be released next month, analyzes the oxidative potential of PM.

The CCS offered an unusual opportunity to investigate the potential impact on air quality of a discrete and well-defined intervention to reduce traffic congestion in the middle of a major city. The CCS was implemented in London in February 2003 with the primary aim of reducing traffic congestion by charging vehicles to enter the central part of London, defined as the congestion charging zone (CCZ).

In an earlier study based on data from the first year of the scheme, members of the investigative team had reported early findings of modest reductions in the number of vehicles entering the zone and had projected declines of about 12% in emissions of both PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤10 µm) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) within the CCZ.

—Kelly et al.

The investigators did not find consistent evidence of improved air quality resulting from the CCS. In part it is difficult to identify significant air quality improvements from a specific program—especially one targeted at a small area within a large city—against the backdrop of broader regional pollutant and weather changes.

Within the CCZ, the investigators projected a net decline of 1.7 ppb in the annual average mean NOx concentration and a decline of 0.8 µg/m3 in PM10. The modeling also suggested that a major proportion of PM10 might be accounted for by regional background levels, but that contributions from tire and brake wear might also be important. NO2 was projected to increase slightly, by 0.3 ppb on average; the investigators attributed this increase to higher NO2 emissions associated with the introduction of particle traps on diesel buses as part of Transport for London’s improvements in the public transport system.

From their comparison of actual air pollutant measurements within the CCZ with those at control sites in Outer London, the investigators reported little evidence of CCS-related changes in pollutant levels at roadside monitoring sites, where their modeling had suggested the most pronounced effects would be seen.

—Kelly et al.

Also, some behavioral adjustments among the population, e.g. increased diesel-powered taxi and bus trips to transport people into the zone, may have offset any benefits. Finally, other changes occurring at the same time (e.g. the introduction of more filter-equipped diesel buses in response to a separate rule) likely also affected air quality and obscured effects of the CCS.

The Congestion Charging Scheme was one of the first to be implemented in a major city in Europe or the US—and did show measurable reductions in traffic volume—but air pollution does not know precise boundaries so any benefit of the CCS or air quality appears to have been lost in the larger regional pollution mix.

—Dan Greenbaum, HEI’s President

Overall, HEI’s Review Committee concluded that Kelly and colleagues’ investigation represents a creative effort to explore a subtle change in air quality associated with a complex intervention to reduce traffic congestion. Although they were unable to demonstrate a clear effect of the CCS either on individual air pollutant levels or on oxidative potential of particulate matter, their study offers lessons for future studies of interventions that are expected to influence air quality.

The London Congestion Charging Scheme was a world leading traffic intervention aimed at controlling excessive vehicle flows in central London. The findings reported in this HEI study will hopefully be of use to other administrations considering introducing traffic management schemes so that they can achieve vehicle reductions as well as improving air quality at the same time.

—Professor Frank Kelly

In addition to the Investigators’ Report by Kelly et al., Research Report 155 includes a Commentary by HEI’s Health Review Committee, which summarizes its independent review of the study and an HEI Statement that provides a nontechnical summary of the study and the committee’s comments.

The Health Effects Institute is an independent, non-profit research institute funded jointly by government and industry to provide credible, high-quality science on air pollution and health for air quality decisions. Typically, HEI receives half of its core funds from the US Environmental Protection Agency and half from the worldwide motor vehicle industry. Other public and private organizations periodically support special projects or certain research programs.

HEI has funded more than 280 research projects in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, the results of which have informed decisions regarding carbon monoxide, air toxics, nitrogen oxides, diesel exhaust, ozone, particulate matter, and other pollutants. These results have appeared in the peer-reviewed literature and in more than 200 comprehensive reports published by HEI.


Frank Kelly, H. Ross Anderson, Ben Armstrong, Richard Atkinson, Ben Barratt, Sean Beevers, Dick Derwent, David Green, Ian Mudway, and Paul Wilkinson. The Impact of the Congestion Charging Scheme on Air Quality in London. HEI Report # 155

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Alright punitive measures don't work ... hey! - so how can we make car & oil dependency history & create healthy cities? ....what about fare free public transport! ....make it so attractive that no sane person would even consider driving around by car unless it was absolutety essential.... mmmm; yeah, but how would those poor oil companies survive?

FareFreeNZ editor

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Capitalism's war on the Earth

The ecology of consumption -- excerpt from John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York's `The Ecological Rift'

October 20, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, with the permission of Monthly Review Press, is excited to offer its readers an excerpt from the The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth, an important new book by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York. Links' readers are urged to purchase the book. Please click here to order your copy. You can download (in PDF) the chapter, "The ecology of consumption", below the following introduction, or read it on screen.

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Humanity in the 21st century is facing what might be described as its ultimate environmental catastrophe: the destruction of the climate that has nurtured human civilization and with it the basis of life on earth as we know it. All ecosystems on the planet are now in decline. Enormous rifts have been driven through the delicate fabric of the biosphere. The economy and the Earth are headed for a fateful collision—if we don’t alter course.

In The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth, environmental sociologists John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York offer a radical assessment of both the problem and the solution. They argue that the source of our ecological crisis lies in the paradox of wealth in capitalist society, which expands individual riches at the expense of public wealth, including the wealth of nature. In the process, a huge ecological rift is driven between human beings and nature, undermining the conditions of sustainable existence: a rift in the metabolic relation between humanity and nature that is irreparable within capitalist society, since integral to its very laws of motion.

Critically examining the sanguine arguments of mainstream economists and technologists, Foster, Clark and York insist instead that fundamental changes in social relations must occur if the ecological (and social) problems presently facing us are to be transcended. Their analysis relies on the development of a deep dialectical naturalism concerned with issues of ecology and evolution and their interaction with the economy. Importantly, they offer reasons for revolutionary hope in moving beyond the regime of capital and toward a society of sustainable human development.

John Bellamy Foster is editor of the US-based Marxist journal, Monthly Review. He is professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and author of The Ecological Revolution, The Great Financial Crisis (with Fred Magdoff), Critique of Intelligent Design (with Brett Clark and Richard York), Ecology Against Capitalism, Marx’s Ecology, and The Vulnerable Planet.

Brett Clark is assistant professor of sociology at North Carolina State University. He is coauthor (with John Bellamy Foster and Richard York) of Critique of Intelligent Design.

Richard York is associate professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He is co-editor of the journal Organization & Environment and coauthor (with John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark) of Critique of Intelligent Design.

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Click HERE to download (PDF) "The ecology of consumption" or read it on screen below.

"The ecology of consumption", by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York