Saturday, June 8, 2013

They have stopped ignoring and ridiculing #freetransit, now they are fighting it. Here's their latest.

With 19,000 readers a month, the U.S. based #freetransit blog network is making great progress in getting out the word. What is the word? Free. Free is cheaper than charging fares.

The case has been made thoroughly by many people and we have tried to link to them all. Here is the argument in a nutshell. If you look at the big, real, economic picture, there are so many deferred costs, direct subsidies, and damages done by the autosprawl system, that the pitiable few coins in the farebox are negligible compared to the benefits of breaking the critical mass the of the auto-system, something only free buses (or mother nature) can accomplish.

So how are the oil-auto-and-sprawl profiteers responding to the message of "free is cheaper?" They are framing the discussion in accounting terms. They write longs posts comparing things like price of fare and elasticity to sound like economics. But they want to lock us into accounting thinking. Don't fall for it.

Oh, and in case they claim microeconomics? Public investment is not a business. But some principles apply. Charging fares reduces return on investment by raising variable unit costs against fixed. 

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