Monday, November 26, 2012

Seeking Economic Growth? Make Transit Free!

For municipalities interested in jump-starting economic growth, making public transportation free is one avenue to success.

Local governments are considering paying for public transport out of taxpayers receipts, making travel free. Such an incentive might take cars, and congestion, off roads, and help the environment. Many people think it's an idea worth considering, but the costs need to be considered.

In Belgium, local government made public transport free, and with success. Lots of money was saved by all parties; the transport companies, the government and particularly the customers.

Busses often make sense, unless they are underutilized -- then they can actually contribute to more pollution. We see diesel power systems undergoing revolutionary technological advancements that have already achieved dramatic reductions in emissions for urban buses and highway engines. Advances in emissions-control systems and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) are helping clean diesel engines achieve emissions performance equivalent to compressed natural gas (CNG) and other alternatives. But if ridership isn't maintained, the advantages of the bus and bus lane vanish.


- Posted by Tom/Bluedog

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