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Would Free Public Transport Be Feasible- And Effective In Reducing Car Usage?

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You need a service like Merseyrail - not quite a train but bigger than a tram, and great prices - I can get a day return from Southport to Chester for a fiver.  Add an extra 20p (yes, 20 pence) and I can go on any bus in the Merseytravel area with my train ticket too.

 

Merseyrail%20(David%20Arthur).png

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16 hours ago, lil-minx92 said:

Many (not all) car owners claim that the high cost to them of using public transport means they can easily justify owning a car and using that instead-the added convenience being a nice bonus.  

 

If the government is serious about wanting to reduce car usage to help save the planet, would providing free public transport- buses and trains- be the  most effective (and also fairest) way?

 

 

I don't think you'll ever get people out of their cars voluntarily, they're  too attached to them. Several bus routes pass my house, one is every 12 minutes,  and I live 6 minutes walk from the railway station. I can't persuade anyone to use public transport, My friend and neighbour uses her çar to go to the pub about 250 yards away, parks up and walks back down the hill afterwards. 

 

Pathetic doesn't come close

15 hours ago, willman said:

There are genuinely lots of reasons why people won't use public transport - i don't think any of them are eradicated by making the journey free.

Over 65's get free transport and still take their cars shopping etc.

This is true.  I have a free bus pass and appreciate the privilege, I don't mind using it but many people seem to think it's beneath them

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16 hours ago, tinfoilhat said:

Trains are packed now, making them free would make it worse.

To be fair, any move to make public transport free would also have to involve an increase in capacity.

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Hate to burst the bubble - but there is no way to have 'free' public transport - the vehicles cost money to purchase, run and maintain, the drivers/engineers need paying -- need I go on?

 

Or is everyone going to be stung by a (say) 20% increase in council tax to pay for it?

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1 minute ago, RollingJ said:

Hate to burst the bubble - but there is no way to have 'free' public transport - the vehicles cost money to purchase, run and maintain, the drivers/engineers need paying -- need I go on?

 

Or is everyone going to be stung by a (say) 20% increase in council tax to pay for it?

Plus, if lots of people switched to use this free public transport, there would be a massive reduction in the amount of money the government gets from fuel duty (which will raise £28.4billion this year), not to mention road tax.

 

That would have to be recouped somehow. 

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The cheapest option for me if I was to rely wholly on public transport is an annual Travelmaster pass which would allow me to travel on any bus/tram/train throughout South Yorkshire. The cost is £1,281. 

So I have nearly £1300 to contribute to my car running costs every year before the car starts costing me more than public transport. That more than covers my annual petrol costs.  but obviously MOT/Tax/repairs/depreciation (although I wholly own a car that cant depreciate much more!), start to make car ownership more expensive, but not massively for me.

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Hyperthetical example, as you would have to force people out of cars

What if there was a cross party policy to increase vehicle excise duty, starting at £1200 per year for the smallest car. Increasing annually until car usage was back to 1950s level.

Public transport to be run by the state. 80% of the VE duty to go to the transport budget. 

 

 

Edited by Janus

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Getting places is far easier in a car except SOME city centres. Should there be an issue, a jam, an accident or whatever I can choose to navigate around it rather than sit there like a bus would have to. 

 

Public transport is expensive, cramped and so unreliable. The busses are usually so hot in the summer and damp and dirty in the winter. It takes me: 

 

Roughly 25 mins to get home by car. 

Roughly 1.5 hours by walking

Roughly 1+ hours by tram and then bus (Through the city centre at rush hour) 

 

If you can convince someone the last two options, every day, are preferable you're on to a winner. Making it free would be lovely but I doubt it would tempt people from their cars. 

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If work was the only place I needed to get to then I would happily pay more for regular, reliable public transport! But in the real world where people are parents and carers who need to be able to get to multiple locations quickly and efficiently then the car will always be essential.

 

I work full time, and I'm a carer for an elderly relative... I often have to pop in on my way home from work to drop off shopping (this would require 3 different buses and 2hrs travel time on public transport!). If there's an emergency I can be there in 10 minutes, so it's a no-brainer for me.

 

I used public transport in Oslo last year and it was incredible!  Affordable, regular, clean, bang on time and free Wi-Fi everywhere!

 

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3 hours ago, lil-minx92 said:

The cheapest option for me if I was to rely wholly on public transport is an annual Travelmaster pass which would allow me to travel on any bus/tram/train throughout South Yorkshire. The cost is £1,281. 

So I have nearly £1300 to contribute to my car running costs every year before the car starts costing me more than public transport. That more than covers my annual petrol costs.  but obviously MOT/Tax/repairs/depreciation (although I wholly own a car that cant depreciate much more!), start to make car ownership more expensive, but not massively for me.

I see you didn't mention insurance.Is that relatively cheap these days, because its quite expensive here?

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Next questions :  Where do you find all the trained/qualified PSV drivers - or the vehicles they are going to drive? Bus companies are struggling to fill driver vacancies even now, and buses/trams/trains take time build, as well as the infrastructure for the last two modes.

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33 minutes ago, Ontarian1981 said:

I see you didn't mention insurance.Is that relatively cheap these days, because its quite expensive here?

Its not too bad unless youre  a young newly qualified driver or have made recent claims. I pay about £280 a year. How does that compare with Canada?

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