Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Reedy Creek Improvement District -- 20 million/year ride fare-free

Monday, December 9, 2019

Free transit is just the beginning

Protesters jump turnstiles in the New York City subway, during a protest against police presence in the MTA on November 1, 2019. [Photos via Decolonize This Place, by Javier Alvarez.]
Militant transit struggles are breaking out across the Americas.
In Chile, transit riders responded to a proposed 4 per cent fare hike with explosive protests that included mass turnstile jumping, peaceful marches, and vandalism or destruction of subway stations in Santiago. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to hire 500 more transit cops for New York City’s subway – along with increased fares and a series of viral videos of incidents of police violence in the subway – have triggered massive fare evasion actions and rallies.
Last week, bus riders in Vancouver were refusing to pay fares until TransLink offered a fair contract to transit workers, while activists in Montreal marched for a transit-focused Green New Deal. Others in Toronto plastered the city with beautiful posters calling for free transit and proper funding of the TTC. Fare strikes and rallies for free transit are scheduled in several cities for November 29 – the same day as the global climate strike. Transit workers are striking against their private employer in Washington, D.C. while Vancouver SkyTrain workers voted 96.8 per cent in favour of job action. Campaigns continue to escalate in power and scale.
But it’s the specific demands for free transit that knit seemingly disparate movements for climate action, anti-poverty, and prison and police abolition together into a potentially world-changing force.
It’s no coincidence that these efforts are all taking place at the same time. Public transit is one of the most powerful sites of struggle that we have in our cities, given it’s the backbone of how many people get to work, grocery stores, schools, and social activities. The physical nature of the service – requiring strangers to congregate in bus shelters and train stations, often anxious about delays and costs – represents a site of highly effective collective power if harnessed. But it’s the specific demands for free transit, through spontaneous actions of turnstile jumping and campaigns like “swipe it forward,” that knit seemingly disparate movements for climate action, anti-poverty, and prison and police abolition together into a potentially world-changing force.
Technocratic transit wonks often condescend to advocates of fare-free transit, arguing that municipalities need more funding to improve service and that calls for free transit undermine that goal. Of course it’s true that transit departments need massive amounts more money – but that shouldn’t be coming from regressive fares that increasingly benefit corporate owners like SNC-Lavalin’s botched light-rail project in Ottawa. Instead, excellent transit systems can and should be fully funded by increasing taxes on rich households and corporations and rerouting current spending on roads and highways.
Such a transition will have a huge range of benefits: boosting ridership, cutting emissions, making streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and ensuring that everyone has the ability to travel regardless of income. It’s an exceptionally straightforward policy to implement, and can serve as a clear rebuttal to the growing trend of privatization and austerity.
Transit agencies will no longer have to worry about “fare evasion,” which has long been used to justify dystopian securitization measures. After the TTC’s alleged loss of $61 million due to fare evasion in 2018, it launched a widespread ad campaign to threaten riders with $425 fines and dozens of new fare inspectors and transit enforcement officers. Similarly, New York responded to a reported loss of $215 million last year from fare evasion by hiring 500 more Metropolitan Transportation Authority cops – costing almost $250 million over four years (that’s in addition to the over 700 existing transit police and 2,500 NYPD officers who patrol the city’s subways and buses).
Unsurprisingly, such enforcement is highly racialized: two-thirds of the MTA riders arrested for fare evasion in the second quarter of 2019 were Black, while a decade’s worth of TTC data indicated that Black transit users have been fined at a rate almost double their demographic. Transit police are increasingly profiling and detaining undocumented people on transit, leading to deportation and incarceration. While getting rid of fares doesn’t eradicate racist policing, it removes one of the main tools used to harass and detain in transit spaces.
Free transit also protects transit workers. Bus drivers, especially, are forced to bear the brunt of rider anger at high fares and poor service. According to a survey conducted by the Amalgamated Transit Union of drivers, 73.6 per cent of assaults are caused by fare disputes. If we want to reduce the very threat of attack and abuse that workers face on the job, we should remove the primary source of incidents: fare disputes.
Ditching fares means that people are no longer denied transportation due to lack of money. It also means that riders can board the bus far more efficiently, not having to scan their transit pass or put a pocket full of coins in the farebox, increasing the ability for the vehicle to remain on schedule, and for riders to be able to rely on its service. Some cities have half-heartedly introduced low-income transit passes but they’re often still far too expensive or require a byzantine means-testing process. It would be far simpler just to abolish fares.
It’s not some utopian demand. Over 100 transit systems operate fare-free around the world, including much of Estonia. Dunkirk, France, became one of the largest examples, when it introduced free buses to its population of 200,000 last year. About half of riders surveyed said they were new transit users and were using it instead of driving a car, a clear indication of the policy’s power to reduce transportation emissions in a city. Such an approach can be scaled up to any level, of course, including to intercity bus service or national passenger rail.
Free transit is about much more than transit: an end to austerity, a refusal of police power, and a demand for decommodified and universal public services. We simply can’t build the world we dream of until we confront ruling class power in all its forms. As geographer Juan Correa told CityLab, people in the highly unequal country of Chile attacked the subway because companies were extracting profits from them through higher fares: “This was a moment of rage, of stating that this institution was public, but they make me pay and with a hike that is unjustified.”
Free transit is a struggle for genuinely public and democratic control of our society. Activists in Chile and New York City are showing us how to win. Let’s join them at the turnstiles today.


James Wilt is a freelance journalist and master’s student based in Winnipeg. He has also written for The Narwhal, VICE Canada, Canadian Dimension, and the National Observer, and is working on a book about public transit. He tweets at @james_m_wilt.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Fare-free transit system in North Carolina breaks ridership record

BOONE — AppalCART, Boone’s free public transportation system, recorded a new record of single-day ridership on Thursday, Oct. 31, with more than 18,000 passengers, according to the organization.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Chapel Hill, NC, #freetransit a huge success

How do we do this? In 2002, Chapel Hill, working in a close partnership with the University of North Carolina and the Town of Carrboro, made our bus system fare free. It was a bold step — and it worked. Within five years, the ridership of Chapel Hill Transit more than doubled. Today, our bus system, serving a community of about 85,000, carries over 7 million riders a year, making it the second-largest bus system by ridership in the state. Our system saves thousands of car trips a day. And we are the largest public fare-free system in the entire U.S.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Friday, September 6, 2019

UWS Duluth students ride #publictransit fare-free

Ride the Bus for Free

DTA Bus Riding is FREE with your UW-Superior ID!

Students, faculty and staff get FREE rides any time, anywhere in the Twin Ports with your valid university I.D.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Gap, France, fare-free public transport

La Communauté d'Agglomération gère la compétence "Transports" sur les 17 communes du territoire "Gap-Tallard-Durance", au travers du réseau gratuit

Monday, September 2, 2019

Ridership soars with fare-free #publictransport in Tartu County, Estonia

Since the introduction of free public transport in Tartu County last July, the number of bus passengers on county routes has seen significant growth, regional Tartu Postimees reports.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Free public transportation in Tórshavn Municipality in the Faroe Islands

The city of Tórshavn, the capital of The Faroe Islands, is promoting a shift from private car use to public transport through economic incentives, i.e. by making public bus transport free for everyone.

Monday, June 10, 2019

#freetransit in Rock Hill, SC, USA

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - The City of Rock Hill is launching the first, free public transportation system in York County on Monday, June 10. Thursday morning, city leaders displayed the fleet of 7 electric buses that will be running four routes starting this summer.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Luxembourg implements fare-free #publictransport

The move will save on the collection and processing of fares. It may also encourage a shift away from private cars; traffic congestion, especially around Luxembourg City, is a serious problem.
Some city centres around the world offer free transport in a bid to reduce congestion, and in some US counties the bus system is free. But no other nation has eliminated fares from its entire transport network.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Ridership triples with fare-free public transport

One major step that Chamonix took towards reducing pollution is making all public transport free for both residents and visitors. The move to make public transport free costs the municipality five million euros per year, but has tripled the number of people using the system each year.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ovacık, Turkey, public transit is fare-free

Friday, April 5, 2019

Antalya, Turkey, now has fare-free #publictransport

 mass transport in antalya was free
Mayor of Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Menderes Türel, a good news to the people of Antalya X to the residents of Antalya until today, comfortable, modern comfortable and environmentally friendly vehicles with ease of public transport President Türel, 23 March Saturday in the city center of the bus with AU plate buses, black official platter busses and rail The system was free.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Utah Valley Express Bus Rapid Transit is fare-free

UVX fare has been covered by a Federal Highway Administration Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant through 2021, so you can enjoy Utah County’s first BRT line free of charge.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Hoboken, NJ, HOP Bus to be fare-free

Finally, the City will be making Hop bus service free of charge beginning March 4.
• FREE Hop bus service;
• New Hop buses;
• Mobile parking app;
• Streetscape enhancements on Washington Street.
Free Hop bus service will begin Monday, March 4. Other target Year 1 projects will be subject to council approval.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Montana town sees ridership double with fare-free #publictransit

By all measures, the Zero-Fare project has been an incredible success, demonstrating how thoughtful public investments can be leveraged with private donations to achieve important community goals.

By December 2017, transit ridership had nearly doubled in Missoula, increasing an incredible 70 percent, from 900,000 to more than 1.5 million rides per year. This surge occurred primarily in response to the Zero-Fare program, as well as new, high-frequency 15-minute (Bolt!) routes and expanded evening service.