@TheOne From the article:

"After two successful test phases, the city’s decision has been made: bus and tram travel will become free for Montpellier’s residents. From December 2023, none will have to pay for public transport.

"In this way, the city aims to reduce air pollution, cut emissions and support disadvantaged groups.

"The measure is part of a 150 million euro package that also includes the construction of new bicycle lanes.

Anyone have thoughts on free public transport? Would it work in your city?


#planning #UrbanPlanning #transport #tram #trams #train #trains #ClimateCrisis #ClimatePolicy #railway #metro #cities

@tom_andraszek @TheOne Playing devil's advocate for a moment, in theory, the logic of requiring a fare is that, as patronage increases, there's more money to improve services.

So more passengers -> more fares -> more services -> more passengers -> more fares.

It's a virtuous cycle.

As opposed to cars, where more passengers -> more traffic -> worse travel times.

That being said, there are good alternatives.

Properties close to public transport services tend to have higher property prices.

A small council rates levy or property tax can capture that value, and be used to pay for the service.

Another option is the Hong Kong Metro model, where the service generates a profit as a result of property development above and around the stations.

In theory, that revenue could be used to fund a public transport service.


@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne I don't think people are entirely rational economic access-seeking actors on a per-trip basis. I'm more interested in the psychological difference between pay-per-trip (transit) and pay-once-a-year (car insurance, rates - plus monthly payments if you have a lease, but you can't just not pay them if you don't drive, it's a long term commitment too).

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@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne Free PT is one way to align payment frequency (well, remove the pay-per-trip and replace it with nothing), but another is discounted long term public transport passes, creating pre-commitment to taking public transport. And another, perhaps more politically difficult, is road fares per car trip....

@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne Well not perhaps, obviously more difficult. Discounted monthly passes already used to exist, and I don't see that they're technically incompatible with smart-card systems.

Monthly or yearly passes could be salary sacrified and/or a welfare benefit, resulting in many people getting effectively free PT - but seeing it differently from general free PT, as a thing of value that they paid for/were given and should take advantage of... maybe.

@tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne but this is all just tinkering compared to competitive speed, frequency, and reach/door-to-door time.

@jroper @tom_andraszek @TheOne Definitely agree that speed, reach, and frequency should be the main priority. Especially given the very sorry state of public transport in many suburbs and towns.

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne Please let's not return to the crazy days of monthly / quarterly / yearly passes

One of the most lowkey-socialist things Gladys Berejiklian ever caused to happen (I can only guess her direct influence) was to remove the classist and cognitive burden of Sydney's fare incentives and rewards

Labor's T-Card and London's Oyster had/have none of these policy goals

Meanwhile Melbourne is cruel and lazy, charging $3.10 to go a few bus stops (2-hour minimum)

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne While I'm here allow me to vent indignation at being charged by time instead of distance — thus rewarding for delay — and impacting those who can least afford it, with commutes approaching the 2-hour mark

I also wish to applaud the Gladys era of Sydney Buses for switching to a line-of-sight distance charging scheme

I am NOT defending bus-tram-train price differentials, but "as-the-crow-flies" fares won't punish you twice for using indirect bus routes

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne The dying days of Cabernet Dom Perignon Perrotet were bizarre with the kinds of policies you only see when a government thinks they won't return

Such as: Pushing down the Opal weekly cap even further. It's a pure social policy objective. No other desired outcome.

The exact same thing is true when fare collection is abolished and saves as money money as it costs.

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne Ironically, what Chris Minns and NSW Labor is giving us instead is:

Weekly motorway toll caps instead of lower weekly Opal caps

This is our "socialist" party in charge now. I'm grateful it's only temporary and they're putting Australia's most famous most capable most pointy-headed policy wonk, love child of The Sandman and Merlin the Mandarin, the one & only Alan Fels — in charge of solving Sydney's toll structure once and for all

If it's possible!

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne I've gone off on a rant now … all I ask is for policies that:

• make roads cost money not free

• make arterials that aren't streets

• make arterials that are invisible

• rip up asphalt from "stroads"

(like Parramatta Road, Princes Hwy, Military Road and replace it with bike lanes, lines of trees, outdoor seating)

Neither major party offered all of the above but, weirdly, so weirdly, one of them had gone hard with the first three

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas @TheOne Also weird how the same party started a metro network, laid heaps of light rail track — on many streets with new bans on cars and buses

I just hope Chris Minns doesn't cancel any more rail projects than he promised already

I'm already quite worried that he and Donna Davis will start removing "On Demand" bus services from the Parramatta electorate

/end rant

@ckent @jroper @tom_andraszek @TheOne I agree the risk of rail infrastructure projects being cancelled right now is high.

For all the many well documented faults of the previous government, one thing it absolutely got right was the willingness to invest in rail and transport oriented development.

Let's hope Chris Minns expands on this legacy.

Unfortunately, pulling the plug on two planned metro lines in Western Sydney and putting a cap on tolls doesn't fill me with hope.

@ajsadauskas @jroper @tom_andraszek @TheOne Put a bow on that toot 🎀 that about covers it

His election night speech (like many others on those nights, an insight into the real person), gave me a little hope. I'd love to fill the apparatchik with boldness and confidence, to rebuild a state in his "image" — as in, imagination.

@ajsadauskas @jroper @tom_andraszek @TheOne whoa 🤯 have we all misused the phrase "rebuild in their image" since the first time someone threw insults about building statues, and metaphoric statues to mean "in their semblance"?

Was it originally a nice thing to say? Maybe it used to imply the person had creativity and imagination.

@ckent @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas mmm yeah I guess the cognitive burden comes in because they are often zone based and you have to do gymnastics to work out what zone to pay for and how to travel outside it - but smart cards could make that easier.

Just trying to think of ways to make it more like hopping in your car (sure, you have to buy petrol as you go but you don’t have anything saying “this specific trip will/did cost $6 in petrol”).

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas yeah IKR?

I think I was foolishly anti-metro 10 years ago because I didn't appreciate the turn-up-and-go element … I thought it was a gimmick

Hell no

My saddest memory of the pre-Opal era was the magnificent ticket machines with the incredibly generous facility called "Top Up", the mysterious little slot at knee-height

it did EVERYTHING for you — calculate the price, work out the change

You could use it any day of the week

But did they? ooohhh no

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas no no no no no

Instead, people would QUEUE UP EVERY TUESDAY after a public holiday and MISS THEIR TRAIN just to buy the next weekly ticket

I'm still mad about this — I remember begging a relative visiting from Europe as a tourist, "PLEASE just put your ticket in the bottom, it could NOT be easier"

Nope, cognitive burden —

Undefeated champion!
*holds arm up in boxing ring*

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas so — while we are talking about the concept of "frequent flyer" style rewards for bus/rail/ferry travel

Let's just spend a tiny moment to tell the truth:

It's NOT necessary to ask the public to predict their reward in advance. You CAN just post-calculate the best possible discount and be NICE … give it to everyone, whether they ask or not

Mobile phone companies were the worst at this! Remember the 2000s? Pick a usage plan, but PREDICT your next month.

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas They always had these MICRO-AGGRESSIVE promotional campaigns where they lovingly invited you to call them to save money

The first question was — just like a monthly train pass — "how much do you spend a month?"

Dude, or Ms Dude, I do not KNOW, I mean, that answer is like Heisenberg Quantum Physics because it changes when you offer me a new plan based on my answer

Why CAN'T the mobile carrier just back-date my phone plan based on past usage? No reason. 🤪

@ckent @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas Lol at the people lining up on Tuesdays, I do remember. And regular Monday mornings too. People you could buy it on ~any day~. But apps & cards fix that.

And yeah, if I had to pick one general philosophy to payment frequency/timing it would probably be to make driving more pay-per-trip, including the positive side - easy availability of goget etc. But the other way is interesting to think about too.

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas And yet, a quick way to lose friends — or just cause mental anguish —

is to compare notes for all of these to an e-bike lifestyle

(the barriers to which, are the infrastructure that is laughably cheap and YET underfunded? Compare election promises — it's fun and depressing, to calculate one year of road maintenance, equals an ENTIRE connected cycleway network … a really nice one, you know, like the M7 has, with verges and lighting, lots of friendly signs…)

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas but I"ll outbid myself one level further —

my neighbour has put me to rights and to shame, by showing me that e-scooters are *even* cheaper and *even* more useful

The fact that you can carry it to your work desk is not even as impressive as the ability to yoink it onto your bus or tram ride and sit right down

I'm DTF for an entry-level $999 lightweight this year — "we need a second car", e-bike edition

@jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas Cheap yet underfunded: Look at this bullshit pie chart where:


• Roads: $20.823 billion

has the same size slice as:

• Cycleways: $252 million

I swear, one of the worst inventions was the rhyming of million, billion, trillion.

@ckent yeah. The scale of difference is staggering. 1M seconds is about 11.6 days. 1B seconds is 31.6 years. 🤯

@ckent @jroper @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas like your point. And secondly the bamboozling of the public is easy, what’s the difference between those numbers, they are huge. A big mistake was just made because of this very trick.

@ckent @tom_andraszek @ajsadauskas wow, that pie chart should be illegal. (Probably would be if it was a private advertisement for something, on the basis of misleading information?)

@jroper @tom_andraszek @TheOne Discounted long-term passes for locals would be a great middle ground between free public transport and paying a fare for each journey.

NSW offers a fare cap, and that is certainly one way of effectively implementing long-term tickets for regular commuters.

In NSW, and I'd assume in other states too, there is a photo ID card that's available to people who don't have a driver's licence. Potentially there's an opportunity there to bundle a year of public transport with the ID?

For tourists (especially from overseas), you could offer public transport fares as part of the cost of the airfare. I know there are countries overseas — Spain comes to mind — that do something like that?

Another option would be to bundle the transport fare with your council rates or weekly rent. That would acknowledge that home owners or residents who live in close proximity to public transport still benefit from the system, even if they don't use it themselves.

@ajsadauskas @jroper @tom_andraszek @TheOne I'm 100% willing to be convinced I'm wrong on this, so please do, but:

Would every $1 that's spent on this be more effective (eventually) if channelled into frequency etc?

What's that concept of "memorisable timetable" that's not even a timetable because it's every 10 mins?

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