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Author Topic: Estonia - rolling out free public transport nationwide  (Read 737 times)
grahame
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« on: May 22, 2018, 02:29:57 pm »

From an article at City Lab - free public transport for local residents throughout the country.

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Estonia is already a world leader in free public transit: In 2013, all public transit in its capital, Tallinn, became free to local residents (but not tourists or other visitors, even those from other parts of the country). The new national free-ride scheme with extend this model even further, making all state-run bus travel in rural municipalities free and extending cost-free transit out from the capital into other regions. 

The plan will not, however, extend Tallinn’s existing free public transit policies to other Estonian cities, and it also won’t make riding Tallinn transit free to visitors (at least, not initially). So while most of the country’s land area and population—which is overwhelmingly concentrated around Tallinn—should get fare-free daily lives, it’s not precisely the case that no Estonian will ever buy a bus ticket in their own country again.

Still, it’s a remarkable plan. While Wales in the U.K. (a larger, more populous place than Estonia) already offers free bus travel on weekends, no country has yet tried to abolish fares all day, every day, across such a large area. And the implications of such a model are vast. Free buses for all could lead to a massive democratization of mobility for Estonians, meaning that travel costs paid at point of use need no longer be factored into many people’s monthly budgeting. And while outsiders might assume the government’s costs to be prohibitive, it won’t actually be that expensive to implement.

Text a bit 'flowery' in style for me - but I think I understand the concept and what the article is saying.

So is this something we should see used as an example for the UK ... or for cities with congestion problems?   Or in rural areas where the cost of collecting bus fares is more than the fares collected sometimes?   Should the ENCTS scheme be moved down from pension age by 5 years every year, until there's a card for everyone by the middle of the next decade?

Before someone else asks .. "Ooze gonna pay4 it"  Cheesy


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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2018, 04:50:22 pm »

From an article at City Lab - free public transport for local residents throughout the country.

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Before someone else asks .. "Ooze gonna pay4 it"  Cheesy





……….or as they say down Tallinn way, Кто будет за это платить?
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2018, 07:39:13 pm »

Two minor points.
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The rural parts of this former Soviet state, which joined the E.U. in 2003,
May 2004 actually.

And...
From an article at City Lab - free public transport for local residents throughout the country.

Quote
Before someone else asks .. "Ooze gonna pay4 it"  Cheesy





……….or as they say down Tallinn way, Кто будет за это платить?
I don't think Russian is either the most common or the most popular language in Estonia.

As for the idea itself, IIUC it's rural buses that are being made free to use (those in Tallinn being already free) so city buses continue to charge fares. And it's not clear from the article whether free for residents means strictly local residents or all Estonian citizens. I've never been to Estonia but generally speaking Eastern Europe has far greater rural-urban difference in incomes, standards of living and employment opportunities than the UK.
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martyjon
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2018, 08:20:39 pm »

A few years ago I visited Iceland and spent a number of days in the town of Akureyri where the bus service was free to everyone. There were only six routes serving the townsfolk which ran from about 06:00 to 20:00 daily. This was a godsend to me as the hotel I was billetted in was up a flight of 120+ steps from the towns central area and then all uphill for about a mile to the hotel itself but the bus service stopped right outside the hotel and the bus was better acclimatized to the hillclimb than I was.

From Wikipedia ;

Bus

SBA-Norđurleiđ (Icelandic Bus Company - northern route) is an Akureyri-based company that provides a long-distance bus service to the town. Local bus services within Akureyri are provided by the SVA (Akureyri Bus Company), which does not charge fares. The cessation of fares in 2008 resulted in an increase of 130% in passenger numbers compared to the previous year when fares were charged.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 08:32:59 pm by martyjon » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2018, 10:26:18 pm »

from The Independent

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While rail travellers in Britain prepare for tickets to cost 3.1 per cent more in 2019, Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to abolish all fares on public transport.

A new coalition government is taking office in the Grand Duchy with the promise of abolishing tickets on trains, trams and buses next summer.

At present fares are capped at a low level: €2 for up to two hours of travel, which in the small nation covers almost any journey.
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Reginald25
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2018, 07:35:25 am »

Interesting. I've always wondered what the effect of a dramatic price reduction on public transport fares would be in terms of savings elsewhere. The famous bus passes that us oldies use seems to have significantly increased bus usage in some areas, probably with a saving to the public purse in the need for infrastructure improvements to cope with ever more cars. Its noticeable that some people in the area where I live used to say the public transport was non-existent (it wasn't) but now seem to find it's there when its free.
I'm not advocating totally free public transport, a small charge would discourage pointless travel over short distances (as does happen with the ENTS) but I do think there is a case for public funding of much of the cost (just as happens with costs of roads etc).
 
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martyjon
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2018, 08:30:02 am »

Roll out free public (bus) transport in Bristol, with a few additional P&R sites on the arterial routes into Bristol and hey presto, Bristols daily congestion and gridlocked traffic would disappear.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2018, 11:29:08 am »

And more from the Independent:
Quote
For a small, very rich nation it is a bold and timely move. But could it work in Britain?
Quote
The infrastructure is so overstretched that any substantial reduction in fares would make rush-hour trains unbearable: like it or not, price serves to dampen demand.
Quote
In time, city transport will become a civic-funded amenity just like bin collections and street lighting. Already, ticketless travel on Saturdays and Sundays could work wonders in reducing traffic congestion and boosting the quality of life: the mayor of Manchester might want to try it as an experiment one weekend. In time, and with sufficient investment in capacity, central London could become a free travel zone.
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/luxembourg-free-public-transport-uk-trains-buses-cars-uber-travel-a8671546.html
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Tony (Formerly FT, N!)
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2018, 12:36:19 pm »

Roll out free public (bus) transport in Bristol, with a few additional P&R sites on the arterial routes into Bristol and hey presto, Bristols daily congestion and gridlocked traffic would disappear.

Which would make it a lot easier to drive a car.

Oh, hang on...
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Now, please!
grahame
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2018, 12:40:48 pm »

Roll out free public (bus) transport in Bristol, with a few additional P&R sites on the arterial routes into Bristol and hey presto, Bristols daily congestion and gridlocked traffic would disappear.

Which would make it a lot easier to drive a car.

Oh, hang on...

You pay for the public transport by have a congestion zone clear road zone charge.
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Dispatch Box
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2018, 01:27:39 pm »

Roll out free public (bus) transport in Bristol, with a few additional P&R sites on the arterial routes into Bristol and hey presto, Bristols daily congestion and gridlocked traffic would disappear.

Which would make it a lot easier to drive a car.

Oh, hang on...

You pay for the public transport by have a congestion zone clear road zone charge.

Great Idea!, This would be done to residents of Bristol by sending out special plastic passes with council tax bills.
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Lee
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2018, 03:51:23 pm »

I recently looked at whether this could be done in North & West Wiltshire:

Why not define several trunk (spine routes) that are free.

That got me thinking - What if we took the core bus routes from our Option 24/7 North & West Wiltshire Bus Franchising Proposal Pilot Area, franchised them and then made them fare-free?

These would be the following colour-coded service groups:

TRANSWILTS YELLOW - Bath-Corsham-Chippenham corridor including Chippenham and Corsham town bus routes.

TRANSWILTS GREEN - Bath-Melksham-Devizes and Chippenham-Melksham-Trowbridge-Frome corridors including Melksham and Devizes town bus routes.

TRANSWILTS ORANGE - Chippenham-Calne-Royal Wootton Bassett-Swindon and Chippenham/Calne-Devizes and Trowbridge-Devizes/Calne-Marlborough corridors including Calne town bus routes.

TRANSWILTS BLUE - Bath-Bradford-on-Avon-Trowbridge-Westbury-Warminster-Salisbury corridor including Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury and Warminster town bus routes.

Using grahame's Working out the costs of running a bus service through the day as a guide, I allowed for a Monday-Saturday roster of 40 vehicles on a 13-hour cycle between 0600-1900 and 12 vehicles on an 18-hour cycle between 0600-2400, plus a Sunday roster of 12 vehicles on a 16-hour cycle between 0800-2400.

I estimated that this would come out somewhere between Ł9.5 million and Ł10.5 million per annum depending on how much competition between the private bus companies there was in the tendering process, which in turn would determine how much of a profit margin they would build into their bids.

Given that we also designed our proposed network to integrate with rail as far as possible, it would be interesting to see what impact the overall package, fare-free, would have if implemented.

On how to fund it, it is obviously interesting that each of the corridors that I have identified above has seen a significant amount of development in recent years, and this is set to continue. Rather than fixate on the anxieties that come along with this, I would instead propose harnessing this trend in the form of a specific levy on each such development subsequently built along those corridors.

As well as funding the fare-free bus network, the money raised could also, if so desired, go towards funding rail service improvements such as TransWilts extension to Salisbury/Southampton, new stations at locations such as Corsham, Devizes Parkway, Royal Wootton Bassett and Wilton Parkway, or indeed contributions to beneficial MetroWest extensions to Westbury and Chippenham via Corsham. In return, the developer gets their development added to the fare-free bus network as we go along, providing the not inconsiderable bonus and house-buying incentive of free public transport for residents as soon as they move in.

The key difference I think for us in North and West Wiltshire is that we could reorganise existing bus vehicle capacity as described above and probably have enough to accommodate the initial increase in passengers using the buses due to them being made fare-free, whereas the capacity challenge would be somewhat of a different order in Bristol, I would imagine. 
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2018, 04:20:03 pm »

Very interesting how we do have capacity and duplication in the bus network that's really a bit silly ... Lisa and I dashed across the bus station at Bath as we arrived on a connecting no. 4 at lunch time yesterday ... a D3 and an X72 both loading.  We left on the D3 first - thin load from the bus station, but gathered up passengers and we were passed by the X72 as we hit the London Road.    Move to to Melksham and we stayed on the D3 to ride around ... passed a 14 the main Bud's Bus stop then picked up significant numbers at places like the Forest Chapel.   Noting the minimum Ł2.50 fare within Melksham; we picked up quite a few on bus passes and very few if any local paying passengers ... Lisa and I got off at the very end of the loop - stop outside next door to our home!

Slight digression there - except that cost per rider on a proper network that's busier / promoted could reduce significantly.
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