How free public transport works
Why should you advocate free public transport? This page will try to convince you.
When urban buses and trams are fare-free, what will happen. Well, what has happened, we can ask, because there are many locations where this has been done. First more people use public transport, sometimes, as in Guangzhou, so many do that it has to be done carefully.
When more people ride, several things happen. First it becomes obvious that there are many immediate benefits. Traffic congestion is less, or grows slower, parking problems are reduced, fewer collisions, and many more. Without even counting carbon emissions, freetransit saves money.
But there are many more indirect benefits that are actually more important. The first is sprawl. The private auto, regardless of what it burns, is essential to sprawl. Sprawl is a generator of waste. When building are far apart, each need a parking lot, mowing service, separate heating and cooling systems, and such. Plus they take up valuable land space that would be better used for permaculture or organic gardens.
Freetransit can be implemented locally in small pieces. There is no need to involve federal governments which are usually controlled by sprawl profiteers such as oil companies, car companies, road builders, housing developers, and consumer-product companies.
Sprawl is heavily subsidized, for example, in the US by the home-mortgage tax deduction. Many sprawl developments get local tax breaks. When the buses in the city are fare-free, the car will be less necessary and will lose it's critical mass as a method of transport. At this point, people will question the need for all the subsidy.
This is where freetransit has its real impact. When people see how costly the car subsidies are, they will demand more public transit. This will be a virtuous circle.
The faster cars go out of use, the faster they will go out of use.
People will urbanize. When this happens, they realize that more farm-hands are not an economic survival plan. They will focus on education, which studies show causes birth rates to fall. This degrowth will save more energy than solar panels, since population will eventually fall and solar panels do nothing to encourage lower birth rates.
With all these forces set in motion, it may be possible to save the biosphere from catastrophic warming.
fpteditors, 2016, no rights reserved.