Replied to French city makes its buses free, spurring new ridership and decreasing car use (Boing Boing)

A year ago, the city of Dunkirk in France made its bus system entirely free — causing a boom in ridership, as well as a drop in car usage.

It is interesting that there has been an increase in rides that may not have occurred previously Clive. This reminds me of an episode of RN Future Tense exploring whether free transport can save our cities? Also, Jonathan English wrote an interesting piece explaining what this is not necessarily the solution for the US.
Bookmarked Some thoughts on the Myki data leak (Daniel Bowen)

What happened was that PTV released a whole bunch of Myki touch on/off data for a “datathon” event, where people see what handy things they can do with the data.

It was “de-identified” – that is, Myki card numbers were removed and replaced with another identifier, which could link trips from a single card together, but not back to a card holder.

Or so they thought.

Part of the problem was they left in a flag indicating the card type. This is not just Full Fare (Adult) or Concession – it goes down to the precise type of Concession or free pass. For instance type 39 is a War Veterans Travel Pass; type 46 is a Federal Police Travel Pass.

The recent Myki data release is a good example of the challenge of de-identified data.
Replied to

Your suggestion of a dedicated Bendigo line via the airport would resolve the bottleneck between Sunbury and Sunshine. However, I think the most telling point to the article is that the 2027 timeline is far too long.
Listened Can free public transport save our cities? from Radio National

Luxembourg is just about to make its public transport free. The first country (albeit a small one) to do so. But do the promises of a cleaner, less congested urban environment really stack-up?

In this edition of Future Tense, Antony Funnel looks at the positives and negatives to free public transport. This includes questions around accessibility, frequency and public value. He also wrote a pieces for ABC News, which can be found here.
Bookmarked All the Bad Things About Uber and Lyft In One Simple List by an author

The report in the Daily Bruin revealed anew that Uber, Lyft, Via and the like are massively increasing car trips in many of the most walkable and transit friendly places in U.S.

It comes after a raft of recent studies have found negative effects from Uber and Lyft, such as increased congestion, higher traffic fatalities, huge declines in transit ridership and other negative impacts. It’s becoming more and more clear that Uber and Lyft having some pretty pernicious effects on public health and the environment, especially in some of the country’s largest cities.

Angie Schmitt compiles a number of negative effects associated with Uber and Lyft. They include an increase in driving, predominantly operating in transit-friendly areas, often replacing biking and walking, hurting transit and hoarding data.

It is interesting to consider this disruptive innovation alongside a wider discussion of the future of public transport.

Liked The cost of Luxembourg’s free public transport plan (

From March next year, commuters in the tiny nation will not be charged for trips on its trains, trams and buses. Marc Auxenfants crunches the numbers of such a move.


The move to free transport has attracted a great deal of international attention.  “If the country had launched a promotional campaign, it would have cost millions,” comments economist Michel-Edouard Ruben. “With this announcement, Luxembourg just achieved a worldwide ad campaign for free.”

But he feels the style outweighs the substance. “Free transport is a false, fashionable idea,” he argues. He feels the money would be better spent on rent subsidies or social housing.

Constance Carr, a senior postdoctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg, voices similar views, saying: “Free public transport is a complex issue and fees are not the problem.” She highlights high-priced housing as the key social issue, saying rising costs are driving people out of the city to border areas. Making more land available for housing would be one potential solution, she says, but whether land owners would support that “is a big question”.

Replied to Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S. (CityLab)

The widespread failure of American mass transit is usually blamed on cheap gas and suburban sprawl. But the full story of why other countries succeed is more complicated.

Reading your discussion of public transport, it is interesting to think about Australia and in particular Melbourne. It feels like we sit somewhere between America and Europe. Although the network is integrated with a tap on and off system in place, there is still the lack of regularity in some places.

Living in a new suburb amoungst the sprawl, we have one bus route which runs every hour, which is pretty useless and another which runs every twenty minutes. I usually end up driving to the station, where the trains run close to every six minutes during peak. However, there are only a limited number of parks.

There is the promise of new infrastructure, new tunnels and ring around the city. However, this will still take time and there is no political guarantee, especially when many of the ideas were first mooted in the 60’s.


Instead of building highways first, which tends to make neighborhoods auto-centric and de-prioritizes transit, European cities tended to put transit first when they built new neighborhoods.

Why do we only run decent service on expensive subways that were built from scratch?

Germany, for example, high-speed Autobahnen go just about everywhere. The land of BMW and Mercedes-Benz boasts a strong car culture, and its plans for a national network of expressways were first formed in the 1920s; indeed, these highways helped inspire America’s interstate build-out. But Germany never stopped building rail systems

Fares need to be low enough that people can afford to take transit. New York City will soon join other cities like Tucson and Ann Arbor in having discounted fares for low-income people. That is important to make transit accessible to everyone. But fair fares isn’t just about keeping fares low. It’s also about eliminating arbitrary inequities. People shouldn’t have to pay a transfer penalty or a double fare just because they switch from bus to rail, transfer between agencies, or travel across the city limits. A transfer is an inconvenience—you shouldn’t have to pay extra for it

Nearly every Torontonian is within a 15-minute walk of a 24-hour bus route. Virtually every one of the major roads on the city’s grid has a bus route that comes at least every 10 minutes, all day long. People making long trips across town usually transfer to the subway for a quicker ride, but it is also convenient to make cross-suburban journeys by transferring between buses—they come frequently enough that there is little risk of standing for an hour at a forlorn suburban bus stop waiting for the connection