Monday, July 14, 2008

Free transit

Impossible you say? Crazy?

Well Hamilton city council was discussing just that last week.

The short version is that HCC received a recommendation from its Works Committee outlining ways the city could introduce free transit. On smog days only, in the summer only, or year-round all-the-time free transit.

The year-round all-the-time free transit would come at a cost to residents of, on average, $161 a year (included in property taxes).

At first I thought, everyone is going to have to pay for something that not everyone uses? No way is that going to fly.

But then I thought, wait a sec, the point of taxes is to provide services that are for the general good of society - free health care, free social services, free education. I would certainly argue that free transit should fall under that category. Offering free public transit would make taking the bus more palatable to those who aren't so keen, and would also mean that folks who aren't making a lot of money would be able to get to work and still have money for food, and if transit were free prompting more people to take the bus (figures show that there would be a 20% increase in ridership), then carbon emissions would be reduced a substantial amount.

I think its something worth talking about.

Unfortunately Hamilton decided that it didn't have time to implement it this year but would look into it for next year. Boo.

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