Friday, July 26, 2019

Billions of dollars go to subsidize fossil fuels

The IMF estimates that eliminating fossil fuel subsidies could free up US$2.9 trillion in government revenue annually. 

One in four say they cannot afford #publictransit fares

But some evaders simply don't have the money. According to data compiled from public defenders by the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) in 2017—a low-income advocacy group that's suing to compel the NYPD to release more robust fare evasion data—more than one in four low-income New Yorkers said they could not afford to pay for public transit. The group also described a large number of evasion arrests taking place in high-poverty neighborhoods (the lack of official data makes it tricky to paint a complete picture). "It's a crime of poverty, not a public safety problem," said Harold Stolper, senior economist at CSS, "and so the solutions should be affordability, not enforcement." 

Monday, July 22, 2019

City Buses: So Why Not Ride Free?

Nobody wants to hear it, but the truth is that Mike Quill, the erstwhile New York City transit union chief, was right: Public transportation should be free.
Yes, free! That is, as free as anything gets. Free, in this case, means that the cost would be paid through the general fund (that's a euphemism for taxes.)
On the face of it, free transportation has a ring of absurdity. But upon reflection it makes a lot more sense.
Think of it. Free public transportation would make it possible to meet all criteria for efficiency and popularity. Funds would be available to create a complete system with adequate routes and good schedules as well as the nitty-gritty costs, such as salaries, operating expenses and capital investment.
Yes, but wouldn't all those buses run empty?
No. Creation of a good system of free public transportation would entice droves of people -- many of whom now believe that buses are only for people too poor to afford their own car -- to shun the exorbitant cost of owning an automobile in favor of a free, enjoyable socially desirable ride to work or play. Who would want to pay for a car, with all its attendant expenses, if he could ride free?