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Old April 21st, 2009, 04:31 AM   #61
Inego
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I think a snowball would have a greater chance in hell than this one getting up. Apart from Gibson having no support within the parliamentary party, throwing away $1billion revenue for a relatively marginal cost reduction and increased strain on a system running at/near/above capacity - yyeah right!!

Given they haven't had the will to simplify fares across transport modes, this is Gibson living out a fantasy to get his name in the paper....

Kent
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Old April 21st, 2009, 04:33 AM   #62
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I can guarantee that ticket cost is not the reason that most people do not use PT
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Old April 21st, 2009, 04:37 AM   #63
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This has been brought up in many places around the world. In some instances (although probably not in Sydney), the cost of fare collection is less than the revenue raised. With free fares, the operator saves money on:
-Staff at stations
-Ticket inspectors
-Vending machines
-Ticket gates
Bus operators have the most to gain. Faster loading as all doors can be used and queues aren't necessary allows for considerably shorter dwell times for buses. This reduces dwell times allowing for savings on fuel and wages, or alternatively faster and more frequent services for the same number of vehicles and staff.

But for Sydney, I don't think the benefits would outweigh the lost revenue. For a bus dependent PT system, possibly, but for a rail dependent system already beyond capacity, I don't think it'll achieve much.

Relevant thread: http://www.sensational-adelaide.com/...hp?f=17&t=2329
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Old April 21st, 2009, 02:14 PM   #64
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it's a nice idea, would make it easier to get around sydney on in the sense that you wouldnt have to worry about having the money - but then again i am a cash strapped uni student.

that being said, i don't like the idea. it might get labor votes, the last thing this state needs.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 02:17 PM   #65
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I doubt this will happen because the state government will have to compensate toll operators for lost revenue and that will be hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cross City Tunnel
M7 Westlink
Lane Cove Tunnel
Sydney Harbour Tunnel
Eastern Distributor
M2 Hills
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Old April 21st, 2009, 02:32 PM   #66
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Wow what a coincidence. There was a news report in the radio today about introducing Free public transport in Brisbane on Ferries, Trains and Busses if you travel outside of peak times. It was originally proposed by the NLP but the current Labor party has also proposed it and has NLP backing.

Looks like Brissy could be up for free PT too (outside peak times that is)

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Old April 21st, 2009, 02:44 PM   #67
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Lol, it's becoming a fad.

Seems pointless.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 02:55 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by L2 View Post
Lol, it's becoming a fad.

Seems pointless.
Pointless?
Some of my more socialist orientated friends think that ALL public state run transport SHOULD be free for the people.
I tend to agree.

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Old April 21st, 2009, 02:57 PM   #69
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Should every kind of government service be completely free too then?

It costs money to run - people can help pay for the cost of running it. I don't see the point of making it free.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 03:15 PM   #70
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I think this debate is nicely illustrated by the MTA in New York. They have some of the lowest fares I've come across, yet their infrastructure is crumbling rather and they have massive budget blow-outs. Improvement to services is rare despite the obvious importance of services such as the New York Subway to the economy of New York as a whole.

When compared with Tokyo - a rather expensive system, the differences become obvious. Tokyo provides the single most extensive railway network in the world, the stations are almost spotless and new lines are built as fast as people can draw them on a map.

Of course, with every comparison there will always be the cries of "apples and oranges" and with this one there are perhaps justifiably a few points to address. Tokyo runs a fully privatised system with no government subsidies whereas the MTA is a "government" entity. There is also the huge difference in culture between Japan and the USA with regards to mobility. This aside, it shows that you are generally more likely to get what you pay for with regards to transit as long as there is the governmental will to invest.

There are of course exceptions to this rule such as Auckland where we pay $210 a month to use a public transport service that would make most third world nations blush.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 03:46 PM   #71
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I personally think the idea has loads of merit.

Free public transport is not going to see a mass exodus of car drivers onto public transport and create a gridlock on the PT system. Let's face some facts here, you are not going to see an increase of PT use in the CBD and outwards as over 90% of CBD workers already use public transport to get to work.

What we might see is a shift of people into using PT on runs that are not congested in peak. If say I was working in Enfield and had to get a train and bus from Lewisham to my point of work (yes there are two connecting buses at Stratty station) I would probably take the PT route if it was free rather than spend the money commuting by car.

If you introduce a citywide congestion tax on cars and user pays for user roads you could funnel that money into improving regional and local bus services (from rail stations and ferry stops) that would attract patronage.

I disagree with anyone that suggests the public transport network in Sydney will get swamped, there will still be plenty of traffic out there, but the XXbn dollar road projects could be shelved and the money diverted to public transport at a fraction of the cost.

And that includes the myopic Metro proposal. I have been in support of a Sydney metro for ages, but people are so used to our ordinary suburban trains it will take a little or a lot for them to get used to it.

With the CUB development put on hold and Barangaroo likely to follow I can't see the need for the Metro at this time.

The money would be better spent improving Citryrail and cross regional transit links, and the SW link. The NW link is a not a priority as buses could easily funnel workers displaced by higher tolls onto buses and the good roads they already have out there.

1. Can the road projects
2. Uniform road tolling for everyone
3. Stop the metro
4. Increase bus frequencies and cross regional routes with bus priority.
5. Extend the light rail to the Quay (via pitt street) and ask Veolia to increase it's services.
6. Extend the light rail into rozelle and leichardt. Increase ferry services.
7. pay out the owners of the airport line and leave it free (imagine the no congestion at Sydney airport)
8. Re-introduce a weekday timetable for weekends.
9. Re-deploy station staff in new roles
10. Get the balls to do it.

Ree's has an opportunity to make a difference right now. Transport in Sydney is going to change dramatically in the coming decade, carbon constraints are going to make the family car a luxury *once in a while* item and the pressure is going to be on the government to find alternative transport in some way or means.

Better to start now and save the dough than later when the problem is un-livable.

mx
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Old April 21st, 2009, 03:48 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mx5star
What we might see is a shift of people into using PT on runs that are not congested in peak. If say I was working in Enfield and had to get a train and bus from Lewisham to my point of work (yes there are two connecting buses at Stratty station) I would probably take the PT route if it was free rather than spend the money commuting by car.
People are going to start using rubbish services just because they're free?

Makes them even more worthless than they are now.

Don't you work at an airport - perhaps we'll be seeing you on the bus from Broady to Tulla if it were free, ay?
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Old April 21st, 2009, 04:39 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L2 View Post
People are going to start using rubbish services just because they're free?

Makes them even more worthless than they are now.

Don't you work at an airport - perhaps we'll be seeing you on the bus from Broady to Tulla if it were free, ay?
L2, there is a big difference in PT in Sydney compared to Melbourne or any other city in Australia. Sydney is somewhat densified and has several CBD's. It wouldn't be too hard to implement complimentary bus services around the entire metropolitan area to compensate for the added patronage.

I'm not saying it's a fix all, but it would certainly be a start in the right direction in weaning people off roads before they are forced too and the system then crashes. We only need another oil shock, and we both know that will come as soon as business as usual cranks up again.

Broady to Tulla? (don't you mean Brighton?) I work out of Tulla now but still drive or cabcharge it. Unlike Sydney traffic, Melbourne traffic is a little more reliable.

mx
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Old April 21st, 2009, 07:04 PM   #74
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NT Government is considering the free public transport plan aswell.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 11:41 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mx5star
What we might see is a shift of people into using PT on runs that are not congested in peak. If say I was working in Enfield and had to get a train and bus from Lewisham to my point of work (yes there are two connecting buses at Stratty station) I would probably take the PT route if it was free rather than spend the money commuting by car.
What about the $$ value of your time? With shit service levels, the time cost will still outweigh the cost of commuting by car for the vast majority of trips.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 01:40 AM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
Pointless?
Some of my more socialist orientated friends think that ALL public state run transport SHOULD be free for the people.
I tend to agree.
Yea... Socialists tend not to care much about the economy. Kind of unfortunate in the current climate. You can't give back to 'the people' if the economy is borked.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 02:38 AM   #77
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Do you think the Airport Line (in either Sydney or Brisbane) would come under the free public transport?

To be honest I don't Brisbane would get bothered with free transport, and only possibly on Go Cards outside of peak. Where as in Sydney, Rees looks just desperate enough that he could actually do it. And once it's done, there won't be any going back. Like GST.

Another side note; how do you think changing the 8 cents fuel subsidy into say much cheaper PT verging on free would go down?
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 02:39 AM   #78
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I'd rather see the 8 cents used for improvements

this obsession with free PT is ludicrous and appeals to the wannabe socialist inside you all
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 02:49 AM   #79
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I don't necessarily agree with the plan, but I can certainly see the political points scoring ability of it.
I would fear that a system already not coping well with the number of passengers would basically grind to a useless halt. And the government would just hide behind the line; "Well it's free, what do you expect". Also losing valuable things such as security on trains and buses late at night, perhaps guards (well they should possibly go anyway) and station staff to help wheelchair passengers. The list could go on.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 02:52 AM   #80
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http://www.ptua.org.au/myths/free.shtml

Quote:
Myth: Making public transport free will encourage use
Fact: Although Melbourne's fares are far too high, cost is not the main factor that puts most people off using public transport. Just eliminating fares without improving services won't shift the habits of enough people to justify the cost. But if service improvements can attract more people to public transport, we might as well maintain reasonably cheap fares so as to recover some of the cost.
A popular suggestion by sustainable transport advocates is that more people would be persuaded to leave their cars at home and use public transport, if public transport were free. One can also make a case for free public transport on social grounds, by analogy with free health care and free public education.

However, the difficulty with this idea is its effectiveness, when compared with the cost. What primarily deters people from using public transport is not its cost (provided it's competitive with car travel) but factors like flexibility, convenience and door-to-door travel times. If you live or work in one of the many Melbourne suburbs with no usable public transport at all, the fact that it's free isn't going to make it any more attractive.

I love public transport and have always been a vocal supporter. However, I work long shifts in an industrial park in Tullamarine, where the nearest bus line is not remotely within walking distance. If it wasn't for the location of my workplace, I wouldn't own a vehicle. Industrial parks are booming, yet they are nearly always inaccessible to public transport. How would free public transport be of benefit to employees like myself?
---Erin Lewis (Fitzroy North), The Age, 12 March 2006

I would love to get the bus to wherever I want to go, and I'm more than happy to pay for it - but it has to exist first! The bus services here are hopeless, every hour on a Saturday, not at all on evenings or Sunday. Oh, and only one route. Too bad if you want to go anywhere other than Southland. Free transport will only benefit those who have a good choice already.
--- Gillian Scott (Aspendale Gardens), The Age, 12 March 2006

Economists acknowledge the existence of these non-financial barriers when they say that public transport has a low 'price elasticity of demand'. What this means is that, all other things being equal, a 10 per cent drop in price causes less than a 10 per cent increase in patronage. Thus Adelaide, despite having Australia's cheapest public transport fares, also had Australia's most steeply declining public transport patronage through the 1990s, and today has a low (albeit stable) modal share by capital-city standards.

(Adelaide was also in the early 1990s the first city to experiment with free public transport for students, as was proposed by the Victorian Liberal Party in the 2006 state election. This did not help arrest Adelaide's steep decline in patronage, and is best seen as a policy that may or may not have benefits for education but probably doesn't for transport.)

So, if the objective is to maximise public transport patronage, eliminating fares on its own is a rather ineffective strategy. As it is also the most costly strategy (even taking into account the savings from eliminating fare collection), it is probably not the first we should consider.

An Age article in March 2006 estimated that free public transport would cost about $340 million a year. Logically, this has to be weighed up against the alternative, which is to spend an additional $340 million a year on improved services. This would likely boost patronage more than free public transport would, and because more passengers means more fares collected, there would be increased revenue allowing services to be improved further still.

On the other hand, once you've made public transport free, the money for any additional services has to be found in government budgets. So does the money to employ staff, that are needed for passenger assistance and security even if they're not selling tickets. This means that the more well-used the system is, the more it costs the taxpayer - quite the reverse of the world's best public transport systems, which come close to covering their costs (often despite relatively low fares) because they attract high patronage and hence high fare revenue.

Given the enduring popularity of the idea of free public transport, it's reasonable to expect that if it were truly a good idea it would have been tried already in at least one of the dozens of large cities around the world where public transport is popular, successful, and subject to a much greater degree of democratic control than in Melbourne. Certainly, it's a characteristic of these cities that their fares are much cheaper than ours. And yet, international experience with free public transport in large cities is rare.

The one example usually cited is Hasselt in Belgium, a town of 70,000 people (roughly the size of Bendigo) where buses have been free since 1997. As a measure to revive a declining city centre by encouraging people to visit more often it has been an outstanding success. But it has been less successful at encouraging a shift to sustainable transport. A survey of bus passengers a year after implementation found that 18% were former cyclists, 14% former pedestrians and 23% former car users. In other words, the free service was actually more successful at reducing walking and cycling than at reducing car travel. Hasselt's buses now serve an average of 12,000 trips per day, and while bringing much-needed custom to the city centre, are not the majority mode of transport even for Hasselaars (let alone the 200,000 daily visitors from the wider region, who either drive or pay to use trains and regional buses).

Notwithstanding all this, it's certainly true that public transport fares in Melbourne are higher than they should be. For many years Melbourne has had the highest fares in Australia relative to journey length, and recent fare increases have outstripped both the rate of inflation and the change in the cost of owning and operating a car (which actually decreased at the time the GST was introduced in 2000). They are now at the level where many trips can be made more cheaply by car. For this reason, at least part of the dividend from future patronage increases should be applied to reducing fares to competitive levels.

International experience points to a more effective strategy for shifting travel habits from cars to public transport than just axing fares. It involves such measures as high service frequencies, central coordination of timetables, traffic priority for trams and buses, and a conspicuous staff presence. Provided fares are set at a level competitive with car travel, these measures have been proved more effective in boosting public transport use than making public transport free - and at a much lower cost to the public purse.
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