Monday, December 6, 2010

UK commuters start to see price inefficiency of rail transit

If there was ever a case proving the economic irrationality of government mass transit, this UK example is it (from
Millions of commuters are likely to switch from trains to cars to avoid double-digit fare increases next month.
More than one in four say they will change their mode of transport in the new year, when rail fares will go up by as much as 13 per cent.
Many of them, particularly in the capital, say they are planning to drive, while fewer people are likely to go for greener or healthier options such as car sharing, walking or running to work.
Campaigners said they were appalled that rail fares – already the highest in Europe – were putting more people off public transport. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the ‘supposed greenest government ever’ was ‘effectively forcing people into the least green travel options’.
The findings come from a survey of 3,000 workers by job site
For decades, the British government -- under Labour and the Tories -- has created an enormously inefficient service, requiring all taxpayers to subsidize its costs, regardless of whether they use it.  Users are charged a fraction of the real average-rider cost.  Now the Tory-LibDem coalition government is raising fares to better cover the ruinous financing model (the new fares may be the highest in Europe, but they are not even close to covering the cost).  The increased fares make train riding economically unsound -- greenness and nanny-state health considerations be damned -- so people vote rationally with their feet, from train stations to their own garages.

Who was it who said, "Traffic congestion is the price you pay for not riding mass transit"?

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