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Free Public Transport: Tallinn's Mixed Results

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NewDream
NewDream  
4/15/2014 9:40:43 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Worth it even for the 3% increase
I think it will just take more time for the ridership to pick up more. That's assuming the buses actually go where people need to go, as well as being clean and safe...a free trip that is not convenient isn't really free when you look at its overall impact.

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
4/10/2014 11:38:29 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: free public travel
Thanks for jogging my feeble memory, Amy. Is the slugline still adjacent to the Mall? Years ago when I still lived in your fair city, the Park Service or some other federal organization got involved and was threatening to close it down entirely, or move it to some backwater that would ensure its quick demise. Obviously they didn't shut it down, but I can't recall if it got moved.

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
4/10/2014 11:10:00 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: free public travel
That's the charmingly named "slugline," and it is alive and well. 

Susan, I am bummed this experiment didn't have more dramatic results. I live in DC, like Tallin a compact and walkable city, yet WMATA which runs the buses and subways would never in a bazillion years give up the revenue generated by fares, which increases every year. Studies have shown here that in the meltdown of 2008 and during the more recent sequester, which is still in full effect in Washington AND across the US, use of public transport leapt as people's wages dropped, stopped, or stopped temporarily. 

I am also sending your article to my MIL, who is a Tallin native :-)

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
4/8/2014 10:05:45 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Free Transport
if the transport was free and going from my city to my work place id take it, especially if it were a nearly direct route with little stops along the way. In my city I can walk to my downtown area where there are shops and places to eat along with entertainment (its about a 10-15 minute walk, good exercise).

Would I use it, depends upon where i need to go, if i'm going grocery shopping, No i would have to drive my car, i shop for nearly two weeks worth of groceries at a time.

Someone mentioned Free Wifi on buses or trains...that would be useful as some people could telecommute from the train or bus if they are long rides. If no wifi then usually people just try to catch a few winks (as in Zzzzz's).

Toby
Toby  
4/8/2014 7:50:28 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Transit economics
I think you are right Terry, it is amazing that no one has jumped in to make this a part of their platform for services and content nationwide. Here in the UK there is wifi on the trains but it is not great. There is also wifi on the London Tube but only in the stations, even so it is very handy. 

Kim Davis
Kim Davis  
4/7/2014 5:15:15 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: That's disappointing!
It's particularly interesting that free public transport would pull pedestrians rather than car drivers. Is this a function of poor economy, and people being forced to work who would have been using public transport if they could afford it?

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
4/7/2014 2:10:53 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: free public travel
Maybe nuride is closer to what you're describing then, Terry, since its free to join and use, and allows members to log their trips and carbon savings etc. All the best aspects of the sharing economy, plus loosening up congestion, hopefully.

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
4/7/2014 1:57:59 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: free public travel
Right, Susan... except that Lyft is commercial, and the sort of thing I'm talking about isn't -- it's a kind of quasi-crowdsourced carpool system that improves the efficiency of moving around the city, especially at rush hour.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
4/7/2014 1:40:41 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: free public travel
@Terry, one of the best known ride-share apps is Lyft, that started in San Francisco a couple of years ago. As you say, there's probably a dozen different ones now. 

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
4/7/2014 12:43:13 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: free public travel
Years ago, Washington, DC had an ad hoc commuter pickup spot, where lone drivers could could load up their cars to use the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, which if you had 3 people, would zip you along an otherwise congested expressway. I'm sure there's an app for this now (or dozens), but this early crowdsourcing success is worth emulating in other forms in other cities.

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