Friday, December 13, 2019

Autosprawl Meltdown in Massachusetts

Monday, December 9, 2019

If energy prices fall, and debt rises, the economy should boom, right?

We already seem to be on the road toward a new crisis; this crisis is likely to be much worse than the Great Recession of 2008-2009. This time, a major problem is likely to be energy prices that are too low for producers. Last time, a major problem was oil prices that were too high for consumers.

The problem is oil. Since 2005, every day more joules of energy are needed to get a joule of oil out of the ground and into service. The oil industry cannot tolerate low oil prices. This is not a future thing, this is right now. The only thing keeping the economy going is massive debt.

Even though natural gas is plentiful, oil still moves the cars, trucks, trains, and ships. No transport, no economy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Magazine lists 9 benefits of fare-free #publictransit

  • Free fares would be the biggest single pro-environment policy enacted by any national government anywhere on the planet, dramatically slashing car use and CO2 emissions.
  • Free fares would be the biggest anti-poverty, pro-social inclusion policy enacted in Scotland, or anywhere else in the UK. It is mainly people on low incomes who rely on public transport
  • Free fares would cut the number of road accidents, reducing human suffering and relieving pressure on the NHS and the emergency services. The Scottish Executive estimates that road accidents cost £1.4-billion a year to the Scottish economy. (On an average day in Scotland there is one fatal road accident; another 8-10 involving serious injury; and 250-300 minor accidents. The vast majority involve cars.)
  • Free fares would be help to reduce the levels of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, which have risen steeply in line with the expansion of road traffic
  • Free fares would potentially increase the spending power of over a million workers by between £40 and £100 a month, boosting the overall economy.
  • Free fares would increase business efficiency and productivity: the CBI estimates that traffic congestion costs business across Britain between £15 and £20-billion a year.
  • Free fares would be a major tourist attraction, bringing hundreds of millions of pounds into the Scottish economy every year from increased visitor numbers. An increase in tourism of just 20 per cent would bring an extra £1-billion into the Scottish economy.
  • Free fares would attract worldwide support, especially from the global environmental movement, and would bring pressure to bear on governments throughout Europe and the wider world to adopt a similar policy.
  • Free fares would reduce Scotland’s reliance on depleting oil reserves; 67 per cent of all oil produced globally is used for transport. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Cambridge, MA, city councilman calls for #freetransit

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ― As New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority moves to hire $250 million worth of new transit cops to stop a supposed $200 million worth of fare evasion, this Massachusetts city’s newly elected socialist councilman has an entirely different proposal: Make transit free. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Chamber backs free bus service in Worcester, MA.

The idea of eliminating the $1.75 bus fare has been percolating in Worcester since May, when the Worcester Regional Research Bureau issued a report suggesting the system was a good candidate for doing away with fares to boost declining ridership. Officials at the Worcester Regional Transit Authority have said they would study the idea, but momentum ratcheted up several notches this week when the local chamber of commerce business group urged lawmakers to use revenue from a transportation funding bill to pay for a three-year test of the concept. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Give public transit back to the public

Providing comprehensive public transit, free at the point of access, allows for every member of our community to contribute the most they possibly can without ever having to worry if they can afford it.
We have the opportunity in Burlington to demonstrate that free public transit is not only possible, but beneficial to the well-being of the people.
Not to mention that encouraging people to use public transit dramatically reduces our carbon footprint. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Free shuttle services in Acton, MA. @Actontransit

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Free Transit idea spreading everywhere

Participation in the U-Pass CT program — which would offer students free public transport throughout the state — remains a high priority for the Graduate Student Assembly this year. 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Worcester, MA considering fare-free #publictransit

A Massachusetts public transit agency is considering a fare-free bus system. 
The Telegram & Gazette reports that the Worcester Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board voted unanimously last week to conduct a fare analysis that includes consideration of a fare-free system. 
In a report in May, The Research Bureau called the WRTA "a perfect candidate" for a fare-free bus system. The report calculated that the $2 million to $3 million annual cost to provide free service could be made up through cost savings, increased governmental aid and partnerships. The report said offering the service for free would reverse the system's declining ridership.

WRTA Administrator Dennis Lipka says to go fare-free "we have to find a sustainable way of making that up" and one-time grants would not be sufficient. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

School students in Boston to ride fare-free

BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston public schools are making it easier for students to get to school.
Starting in September all students in grades seven through twelve who live in the city will receive a pass for that will provide unlimited travel on trains, buses and even some Commuter Rail lines.
This is an expansion of the MBTA pass program.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The McPherson Paradox: growth = heat; collapse = heat

As a fan of life, I would prefer humans and other life forms avoid extinction in the near term. As a rational conservation biologist, I know better than to rely on my beliefs rather than evidence regarding the Sixth Mass Extinction and abrupt, irreversible climate change. In contrast to my evidentiary approach, most humans prefer fantasy over evidence. As one consequence, it is small wonder we have arrived at the edge of extinction. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Traffic congestion has reached a ‘tipping point’ in Massachusetts, state officials say

The Baker administration on Thursday acknowledged the state’s epic traffic has reached a “tipping point” and signaled support for major new tools to combat congestion, including allowing commuters to pay to bypass gridlock and reserving bus lanes on highways. 
At a news conference, Governor Charlie Baker released a long-awaited report that concluded what Boston-area commuters already know: Traffic in and around the city is bad, and getting worse.

“No one likes traffic and congestion, period, and it’s a frustrating and inconvenient reality for too many people,” he said. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Capitalism the driver to near-term human extinction #nthe

According to thermodynamics, we will grow until our inputs end, or, until we choke on our outputs.

Between the two world wars, we understood thermodynamics, and, we discovered communism.

This was probably our last chance to consciously direct ourselves as a species.

Instead, millions were slaughtered, and their leaders were turned back to capitalism.

Now we are reduced to spectators, watching as banking elites turn up the furnace and pile up and the waste.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Can Worcester, MA, go fare-free?

Fare hikes are sometimes presented as a way to raise revenue, despite evidence that charging more to ride the bus does not necessarily improve cash flow. Instead, the 2017 fare hike preceded two straight fiscal years of declining farebox revenue. Total fixed-route fare revenue in 2018 was around $3 million, the lowest since 2010 (see Chart 1). 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What if car subsidy had the tight budget restrictions that buses have?

When the Worcester Regional Research Bureau dropped a report last week advocating for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority to move to a fare-free system, the idea seemed to take hold in the community.

How do you replace the revenue. Who will pay for fare-free buses? These questions are asked because the frame is wrong. We should be asking who is paying for all the car subsidies? Well, one of the hidden costs is the loss of the biosphere.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Boston would benefit from fare-free #publictransit

“People are increasingly realizing that the incentives that government provides people are really important in the outcomes that we get in transportation, and we need to be giving people better choices,” said Chris Dempsey, the director of Transportation for Massachusetts. “In a world where we are raising MBTA fares and gas prices are near historical lows on an inflation-adjusted basis, it’s no wonder we have the worst congestion in the history of Massachusetts when those two things are happening at the same time.”
One option is to lower or even eliminate T fares rather than keep raising them. Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu has advocated this approach, saying that eliminating T fares would ease the burden for those least able to pay, reward those doing their part to ease congestion, and help lower harmful greenhouse gas emissions. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Forget fare hikes — make the T free

Running a public transit system is not free, but relieving riders of the cost burden would benefit everyone who uses the roads and breathes air. Nearly a hundred cities around the world have abandoned user fees in favor of alternative funding streams that remove financial barriers for residents to access public transit.

In Massachusetts, fares from bus and subway riders contributed just over 20 percent in revenues for the MBTA budget in 2018. The agency and elected leaders should be proposing big ideas to reduce and eliminate that burden. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Science blog predicts Late-Permian-like event in less than 35 months

Humanity is facing the final, western corporate capitalist, fossil fuel initiated, catastrophic Arctic methane hydrate destabilization and Permian style methane blowout - firestorm that will culminate in 1 to 8 years (2020 to 2027).

We will all be boiled alive like lobsters in a massively humid atmosphere and converted into stardust.

Recent data from the Arctic confirm an exponential rise in the temperature anomaly of the Arctic stratospheric methane which is now 65 degrees C above the normal, while it was only 20 degrees C above the normal, 6 to 8 years ago.