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bluGill t1_jb4ctu3 wrote

Free transit has been tried. It doesn't get very many more riders, and it means more money is meeded from someplace.

Service us what you need to attract riders. Build great service and they will come. Your car is always near and ready to leave when you want to go, most transit means adjusting from when you feel like going to the schedule: or you can buy a car. Many.times transit has convoluted routes to down town, so not only is the car a lot downtown, if your destination isn't downtown you can turn a 10 minute drive into over an hour: so a car is worth it for them savings.

The above is well known in transit circles, but not outside.


qoning t1_jb4emda wrote

It also attracts unwanted... individuals, as much as it sucks to say, often the fact they can be removed for not paying is the only quick way to make it safe and acceptable for other riders. Living inside public transport is not a solution to homeless crisis.

But yeah as you say, layout of American cities is not suitable for good public transport. People often point out that it can be good in Europe, and it can, but you know where? In high density cities like Amsterdam or Prague or Paris or London. It still absolutely sucks for smaller cities and rural areas (which tbh would often still be counted as suburbs in the US because the distances are so much smaller).


bluGill t1_jb4vbva wrote

> layout of American cities is not suitable for good public transport. People often point out that it can be good in Europe, and it can, but you know where? In high density cities like Amsterdam or Prague or Paris or London

This is a half truth that is incorrectly used as an excuse to do nothing. All cities in the US have forms where there would be good support for transit if there was good transit, but since there isn't good transit people drive. There are apartments with high enough density but not transit all over, we need to serve them. There are through roads every mile or two, and thus within biking distance of most houses (if we figure out how to handle bikes on transit) It doesn't solve everything, but using bad form in some places as an excuse to not have transit anywhere is not good. And if you have good transit (and zoning allows) you can then build denser than current cities do.


guy_guyerson t1_jb4u15x wrote

> and it means more money is meeded from someplace.

Not always, often it just breaks even because the cost of transacting, securing payments, payment equipment, enforcing anti-turnstyle jumping, etc end up eating most of the payments received.

This is probably less the case now that public transit is less cash-based, but it's still a consideration.


bluGill t1_jb4zxt5 wrote

Not in most places with transit. You can look up the budgets of US transit organizations, small town transit you are correct, but for anything bigger fares are significant sources of money (10% being significant).


NotSoSecretMissives t1_jb6g6kl wrote

I mean take for example, Massachusetts, there are ~5 million tax payers and the MBTA, public transit system that collects the most fares in the state, collects ~675 million in fares. Even if you spread that equally to every tax payer that is only $135 per person for the entire year. There is zero reason to include collection systems except to punish transit users.


bluGill t1_jb6k5dm wrote

Where is that 675 million going to come from? Whatever you answer, why not give them that, plus keep the 675million from fares and expand service. I guarantee most riders would prefer better service to zero cost fares.


NotSoSecretMissives t1_jb6pf49 wrote

I agree that's what a lot of riders would say, but it's a complete waste of human resources. If something like transit is such a public good (users and non-users), there's no reason to put an additional burden on those that choose to use the service when it's such a low cost when distributed across the population. Taxes are the most efficient way to fund public services. All that said, public transit should receive way more funding.


No_Maines_Land t1_jb4wvdm wrote

I've a theory about increasing ridership from drivers.

I have to pay a public transit free on my license renewal, it's variable based on engine volume and home address (aka big truck in city, high cost; small car in suburb, lower cost; anything rural, no cost). I generally like the idea of this fee.

HOWEVER, I think it should also come with a discount on public transit that's the same as the public transit fee. IE. if the fee is $240 a year, then $20 off a monthly pass.

This way, the incentive to the individual is that they are losing an advantage/money by not getting the transit pass. Once a driver has a monthly pass, I think they are more likely to at least consider public transit for each trip.

I also think the psychology would support that since the pass is paid for, and not free, even by an indirect means; it would have a positive perception effect.


bluGill t1_jb51i0a wrote

Service needs to be there first. If you cannot reasonably get where you want to go, when you want to be there, then cost isn't a consideration at all. If you have good transit (good means both frequent and coverage) we can talk about other considerations. There are very few places where making transit cheaper will attract more riders than investing in more/better service.


No_Maines_Land t1_jb5d0qg wrote

Absolutely valid.

In my case the service is there, hence why it is legitimate to change a public transit fee on the yearly plating fee. Buddy with a plate registered in the sticks has no public transit charge. Other fellow in suburbia of Montréal pays lass plating fees than me in the city since there is less public transit.


bobtheplanet t1_jba7j6o wrote

I rode the train into downtown Chicago for work for over 35 years. Why? It was convenient. My stations were within walking distance of a few city blocks to both home and work. I would say I was very lucky - moreso than the majority of people in the Chicago area. Yet, we still needed cars for every other trip. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to transportation. Population pressure expands outwards where possible. We are a nation of loners.


bluGill t1_jbap336 wrote

You hit the problem: if transit isn't useful you won't use it.

There are places where people use transit for more than to work trips: places where transit is useful for other trips.