Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ali Mustafa interviews Free and Accessible Transit activists

No Fare is Fair!

"This campaign also arose in part from the energies around the Right to the City campaign and the recognition that organizing around the issue of transit can have great popular appeal right now because so many residents of Toronto are upset about the recent fare-hikes. While transit systems in other large metropolitan areas get large government subsidies to cover their costs, Toronto's transit system relies on user fees for approximately 70 percent of its operating budget, causing fares to rise to $3.00 in 2010. As a result, there has been a lot of dissatisfaction regarding the state of transit in the city. We believe that by building a effective campaign around free and accessible transit, we can direct that anger and frustration around fare-hikes to include an analysis of public goods, public accountability, the failures of the market system, and the right to democratic participation in the shaping of our city. A free transit campaign has the potential to be a popular movement because it has clear and tangible links to the daily experiences of many people, especially those with low income."

Check out Ali's blog, From Beyond the Margins

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jobs and Free Transit!

How Does Free And Accessible Transit Create New And Better Jobs?

An expanded transportation system provides more jobs. A large part of the manufacturing infrastructure in Ontario and elsewhere - made idle by the shift in private production to lower wage areas for higher profits - means that those capacities
can be harnessed for the production of new and advanced mass transit vehicles, components, construction of routes and other parts of a new accessible transit system. This means a shift towards public ownership of manufacturing,
more jobs, and employees with more democratic input into the work that they do. Just as original
subways, buses and streetcars were financed by issuing Ontario bonds, this can be done today- without burdening current and future generations with the profits paid out to private interests. And new jobs will expand the tax base.

Why Free Transit?

What Is Free And
Accessible Transit?

Public transit should be a right for
all people in the city. Using subways,
busses and streetcars in Toronto should
be fee of fares. Transit users are
not ‘customers’. Mobility is not
a commodity to be bought and
paid for by individual users. It is
an essential right, like public education,
libraries, water, doctors and hospitals.
It should be funded by government revenues.
Transit should be accessible to everyone
who needs it. That means
regardless of their income, which
part of the city they live or work in, or if
they are living with disabilities and have
particular physical challenges. All of us
would be able to travel anywhere within
our city when we need to.
Can you imagine how empowering
it would be to go where you need to be,
when you need to be there, not just on an
overpriced ride to and from work or the
occasional appointment or family event
– but where you need to be and who you
need to be with, any time of the day or

What Do We Mean By
Accessible Transit?

At $3 per fare, transit is becoming
too expensive for poor and
working people. For disabled
workers, a ride that normally takes 1
hour takes 3-4 hours on Wheel-Trans.
Wheel-Trans riders also get “demerit
points” for missing the bus. Most
buses and streetcars are not accessible
for people with disabilities
or for many seniors. Only half
of TTC subway stations have elevators
but they are often out of service

How Could We Pay For
A fairer tax system would provide
enough revenue to pay for fare-free
transit. The provincial and federal governments
would have to contribute their
fair share of funding to Canada’s largest
city. The amount of taxes that
riders would have to pay would be
lower than the amount they spend
each year on the cost of commuting
today. Right now, government subsidize
roads and highways that cars use.
With a fare-free transit system, we could
save on the costs of environmental
pollution and diseases caused by
our current dependence on private cars.
We need to make our tax dollars benefit
the common good.