Public Transport with or without Fares

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Charging or dropping fares
A model for New York and New Jersey in the United States
Access of folded bicycles on buses and public transport

Public transport, called public transit or mass transit in the United States and Canada, carries the public in conveyances. Public transport usually consists of buses and trains in the narrow sense. Public transport in many cities with too many private vehicles receives heavy subsidizes from taxes. Public transport usually requires payments of fares. Limited systems of public transport allow use without paying fares.

Charging or dropping fares

Charging fares can cost public transport. The costs to collect fares must include the expenses to have personnel and equipment to sell and check fares and the time spent to pay fares. Collecting fares on board public conveyances can slow down the travel speed and many buses depart late when passengers must enter through a specific door to pay. The costs to sue or prosecute evaders of fares must be counted as not all accused evaders are convicted. High fines may be imposed to discourage violations and to cover losses from unknown evaders of fares.

Dropping fares can also cost public transport. Fare-free areas can attract more riders including troublemakers making vandalism, graffiti and rowdiness. Attracting too many new riders in short time may delay the service even more. Dropping fares requires slow, detailed and careful plans to accommodate not only more riders but also any higher costs to maintain security, facilities and conveyances before troublemakers degrade the service.

J. CRAWFORD at considers charging fares, passengers standing, driving being faster and being unpleasant the four unwritten laws regarding public transport. He thinks that most Western systems should abandon fares entirely, but that cannot happen anytime soon, so most systems should try to phase out fares from area to area with slow, detailed and careful plans. Phasing out fares carelessly may attract troubles making it unpleasant to ride public transport.

Public transport with a larger system or higher fares may incur less relative costs to charge fares. Smaller systems with lower fares incur more relative costs to collect fares. When phasing out lower fares, it is common to drop fares in a small area first and to expand the fare-free areas only when feasible. For conveyances where passengers pay abroad, like many buses and trains, starting fare-free zones near the end of their routes may reduce potential problems when the same riders must still pay in the opposite directions of the same segments.

As some museums require payments for admissions called suggested donations without absolute amounts, any systems unable to drop any portions of fares may also want to consider the same way by requiring riders to pay any amounts except zero.

Dave OLSEN has an article titled Fare-free transit would be more than fair. In the United States, Florida Department of Transportation has some Completed Public Transportation Projects, including Advantages and Disadvantages of Fare-Free Transit Policy. Examples of fare-free central cities include Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Austin Texas Capital Metro Transit in Texas in the United States failed its fare-free system-wide experiment from October 1989 to December 1990 because the system was too large to drop fares system-wide. The downtown 'Dillo service is free.

Whether fares must be paid or not, many funds and strategies may subsidize and support public transport and discourage excessive use of private vehicles.

1. Private vehicles in crowded areas should be heavily taxed. Collecting taxes and fees from private vehicles upon registration or insurance can support public transport. Parking fees in crowded areas should be higher to support public transport.

Bicycles should not normally be taxed to support public transport. Public transport should try to allow bicycles without arbitrary access denial. Reasonable access of folded bicycles on buses and public transport is very important to further reduce use of private motor vehicles.

Taxes and fees from private vehicles to support public transport should vary in different areas depending on the demands of public transport. Where the demand of public transport is high, the corresponding taxes and fees from private vehicles should be high. Where public transport is not needed or warranted, no surcharges supporting public transport should be required. Increasing taxes upon vehicles but not personal incomes prevents taxing those who neither ride public transport nor own private vehicles.

2. On tolled roads and areas, buses for public transport should be allowed to pay reduced or no tolls. Any tolls may support public transport. For example, within the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York in the United States, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority uses its tolls to subsidize the New York City Bus and exempt these buses from tolls.

3. The advertising fees should be hiked where ridership is higher, especially in fare-free areas. As many systems requiring fares receive fees from advertisements, fare-free areas need more subsidizes from advertising.

4. Taxes from hotels can support public transport. Receiving more taxes from hotels requires good tourism. Excessive crimes deter tourism.

5. Whether fares must be paid or not, voluntary contribution to public transport should be encouraged with incentives on taxes, such as deductions and credits. Even if any portions of a system exempt fares, donation boxes should be provided at good locations where people can pay any amounts as they wish without delaying conveyances. Donation boxes should not be used on board conveyances in any ways that delay the service. People should not give their donations to strangers claiming to collect funds to support public transport.

6. Certain fines for violating the public transport, such as disorderly conduct on public transport, driving illegally in bus lanes and parking in bus stops, should support public transport, but fines should be imposed to deter problems but not to generate revenues. Heavier penalties, such as doubled fines, for disorderly conduct on public transport should be considered in fare-free areas and times to deter troublemakers. Restraining orders should bar very serious troublemakers from the public transport.

There are other financial sources to support public transport. This list is not all-inclusive.

Fares pay for certain costs to operate public transport, but the cost to charge fare can be high. Having careful plans for long term can possibly phase out fares on situation-permitting basis to promote public transport and to discourage excessive use of private vehicles. Phasing out fares with careful paces and secure funding from other sources should enable people to ride many systems of public transport without mandatory fares in part or even in whole, but maintaining the security and comfort is still important. Having better public transport with or without fares to reduce use of private vehicles brings better quality of life. Any structures of mandatory fares should be simple, as complex structures may discourage use of public transport. Charging higher fares in peak hours but lower fares in off-peak hours may reduce crowding. If charging no fares attracts more troublemakers, requiring riders to pay any amounts expect zero may reduce problems.

A model for New York and New Jersey in the United States

ISO 6709 locates places in the format of +DD.DDDD-DDD.DDDD/. The United States uses right-hand traffic and the United States dollar (USD).

The following systems of mass transit in New York and New Jersey in the United States or portions thereof exempt fares:

The Staten Island Ferry requires no fares from passengers or bicycles. No motor vehicles are allowed after 11 September 2001.

The Staten Island Railway charges fares only when entering or exiting Saint George (+40.6431-074.0747/). The basic fare is 2.00 dollars. Fares are not charged elsewhere.

The AirTrain in John F. KENNEDY International Airport charges fares only when entering or exiting Howard Beach (+40.6613-073.8295/) or Jamaica (+40.7004-073.8080/). The basic fare is 5.00 dollars. Fares are not charged elsewhere.

The service is free of fares on the Airline Connection Buses in LaGuardia Airport (+40.774-073.874/).

The AirTrain in Newark Liberty International Airport (+40.69-074.18/) charges fares only when entering or exiting Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station, which is accessible by trains only. Fares are not required in other portions.

Phasing out fares should start on systems with lower fares in limited locations to see if it works well.

As the New York City Bus, Long Island Bus, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and trains and buses of New Jersey Transit collect fares abroad, fare-free zones should start at the last boarding stops so the same riders must still pay in the opposite directions of the same segments. Revenues should not lose too much in this way. Fares should not be dropped even at the last boarding stops if overcrowding already exists at any time. The fare-free zones should be extended only if dropping fares at the last boarding stops is successful.

Paying the fare with a MetroCard to the Long Island Bus (N15, N19, N33, N70/72, N79 and N95) still requires a separate free transfer to transfer one-way from to a connecting bus operated by the Suffolk County Transit, Huntington Area Rapid Transit, or the Long Beach Bus. The price of an Unlimited-Ride MetroCard extends a one-way free transfer from the Long Island Bus to a bus operated by any of these three companies not accepting MetroCards, subject to certain restrictions.

The New York City Subway and Port Authority Trans-Hudson collect fares when entering through turnstiles. As turnstiles often lead to trains going to both directions, dropping fares should start at very limited stations without causing overcrowding. Stations near major rivers are probably the best locations to drop fares first. The Port Authority Trans-Hudson should try to allow fare-free entry at Christopher Street Station (+40.7326-074.0079/) in New York, New York 10014 and Exchange Place Station (+40.7162-074.0328/) in Jersey City, New Jersey 07302 only when not crowded. Both stations are very close to the Hudson River and neither the Lincoln Tunnel nor the Holland Tunnel has non-motorized access.

New Jersey Transit has three light rails as proof-of-payment fare collection systems. Passengers must have validated tickets prior to boarding light rail cars. Fare enforcement officers inspect tickets randomly. Those found without validated tickets are subject to fines, and repeat offenders may be subject to criminal charges, but those with difficulty using ticket vending machines may be able to explain this to fare enforcement officers, who will assist them with the machines.

Dropping fares on proof-of-payment fare collection systems should also start at the last boarding stops with clear notices telling whether fares must be paid or not. Those found without validated tickets but thinking that they should not be penalized, such as in case of malfunction of ticket vending machines or validation machines, should plead not guilty to fight summonses, but excuses for not having valid tickets must be honestly claimed.

Access of folded bicycles on buses and public transport

Transportation Alternatives: T.A. Magazine Winter 2001: The Folding Bike Solution: "Folding bikes can also be taken onto transit at any time of day. ... Since a folded bike qualifies as luggage, even all buses are open to you, allowing you to enjoy the best of all worlds: full transit access and full bike access to the entire region."

Different systems of public transport have different rules on access of folded and non-folding bicycles. Even though folded bicycles are designed for greater access, some drivers of buses and employees of public transport do not know folded bicycles. They may refuse them unnecessarily or because they are bicycles or with odd shapes.

Advices for bicyclists
Advices for companies and employees of buses and public transport
Sharing the road
Known cases in New York and New Jersey in the United States
External links
A fictional road war of a driver of a folding bicycle against a bus driver

Advices for bicyclists

Not all companies and employees of buses and public transport know folded bicycles. It is best to carry a suitable bag to pack the bicycle like a luggage for a better chance to argue for access. Some drivers of buses and employees of public transport refuse folded bicycles when their odd shapes may cause hazards if not in bags. Bicyclists may want to persuade and claim that other drivers of buses or employees of public transport have allowed the folded bicycle in some ways, especially if the bicycle has been transported in a bag. Known drivers of buses and employees of public transport tend to allow folded bicycles much better. If a bus is crowded, it will usually stop to load and unload passengers very frequently and become slower than a bicycle. This may allow a bicyclist to drive faster than a bus.

Even if a denial of access is improper, never protest by damaging the bus or the conveyance, or even by assaulting the bus driver or the employee of public transport. Never cause undue interference with a bus while bicycling along its route. If a driver of a bus drives or acts dangerously, consider calling the police. Bicyclists should not hold cellular phones in their hands while bicycling. Use lights when driving at night. Mister Qin GANG in the United Kingdom sells a Batteryless Bicycle Flashing Safety Light System.

Note the date, time, route, vehicular number, direction, location, and any other related information of any incident if a complaint is desired. See also License Plates of the World. Consider further complaints to elected officials and advocating groups for bicyclists if a company does not respond to a complaint well.

Advices for companies and employees of buses and public transport

Some areas are far from bus routes or public transport by on-foot access. Allowing folded bicycles would increase accessibility to buses and public transport, thereby increasing ridership of both bicycles and buses or public transport and decreasing use of private cars. When combined, bicycles and public transport provide a more flexible, inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and often faster alternative to the car. Many folded bicycles occupy limited space and fit under seats. Suitable bags can protect others from any potential hazards due to irregular shapes on folded bicycles. They are not regular bicycles.

For drivers of buses, it is much better to say "Could you ride yourself or the next available bus?" rather than "You cannot take this on. It is a bicycle." or similar things. Drivers of buses must be better educated on this matter. Refusal of folded bicycles should be limited to extreme cases, such as overcrowding or other unusual hazards, which make it impractical or impossible to allow folded bicycles. In case of refusals of folded bicycles and other denials of access, detailed documentation should be required and simple reason such as "it is a bicycle" should be considered insufficient. Overcrowding is uncomfortable and more buses should be added. Charging higher fares in peak hours but lower fares in off-peak hours may reduce crowding.

People gathering in the aisle without moving to the back of a bus allowing standees can prevent others from boarding easily through the front door. It can hamper the ability to bring a folded bicycle abroad, whether in a bag or not. Friendly drivers of buses may instruct boarding through the back door but unfriendly drivers may just deny access even if there is still room in the back. Responsible drivers of buses should kindly ask people to move to allow others to board. If problems persist, consider calling the police to remove any passengers willfully refusing to co-operate.

If an extreme situation leaves no choice but to discharge a folded bicycle from the bus, the bus driver should issue a continuing-trip ticket to allow the passenger to take the next available bus without extra fare if so requested. It may happen when wheelchairs take all wheelchair priority seating and alternate space on board is unavailable, but it may be possible to bicycle faster than the bus and board it again when loading and unloading wheelchairs delay the bus.

Sharing the road

Bicyclists may incidentally delay buses on roads not prohibiting bicycles. Similar situations apply with respect to tracked trams (trolleys or streetcars) if bicycles may be driven on the tracks. Parallel tracks on roads may catch the wheels of bicycles. The list may not be all-inclusive. Those mixing incidental and deliberate delays due to bicycles on routes of buses should not to be licensed to drive any vehicles.

1. When a bicyclist passes through or approaches a bus stop in front of a bus that is about to enter the stop, the bus driver must not force the bicyclist off the road or stop too far from the edge of the road without valid reasons.

2. When a bicyclist overtakes a bus that is stopped in a bus stop and about to pull out, the bus driver may have to wait for the overtaking bicyclist. (Some countries and areas require traffic to yield to buses leaving bus stops whenever safely practical.)

3. Where a bus lane does not prohibit a bicycle, a bicyclist unable to use other lanes may incidentally delay a bus unable to overtake the bicyclist.

4. If a road or a lane is too narrow to allow a bus to overtake a bicycle, the bicycle may be legally allowed to use the full lane for better safety. (Check the traffic law for details.) The driver of a bus may have to wait until the traffic is clear before overtaking the bicycle.

5. When a bicyclist is about to go straight-ahead and a bus behind is about to turn, the bicyclist may incidentally delay the bus if the bus cannot safely overtake the bicycle before turning.

5.1. In right-hand traffic, a driver of a bus behind a bicyclist on the right who wants to go straight-ahead or turn right may have to wait before turning right.

5.2. In left-hand traffic, a driver of a bus behind a bicyclist on the left who wants to go straight-ahead or turn left may have to wait before turning left.

5.3. Before turning left or right, similar situations apply on one-way roads.

6. On a two-way road, when a bicyclist turns left in right-hand traffic or turns right in left-hand traffic directly as a vehicle, the driver of a bus behind the bicycle must wait while turning in the same direction as the bicyclist does if there is not a second turning lane.

7. When a bicyclist passes through or approaches a roundabout in front of a bus, the bus driver may have to wait before overtaking the bicyclist.

When the Montgomery Bus Boycott occurred in Alabama in the United States in 1955, some people rode bicycles instead of the racism buses. Bicycling along any routes of the buses not prohibiting bicycles could incidentally delay the racism buses.

Most people wait for buses while they go nowhere. However, bicyclists may be able to wait for buses while bicycling if they can stop at proper boarding location in time to catch approaching buses.

The environment of bicycling is never good enough without reasonable access of folded bicycles on buses and public transport. Situation permitting, reasonable access of folded bicycles on buses and public transport makes everyone win. Unnecessarily denying access of folded bicycles on buses and public transport makes everyone lose.

Known cases in New York and New Jersey in the United States

GOOD: A folded Dahon Getaway bicycle with the size of 71 cm * 25 cm * 46 cm fits under up to 2 seats on many local and limited-stop buses of the New York City Bus and Long Island Bus, especially the wheelchair priority seating available on all of their buses. When a suitable bag covers the folded bicycle, problems should be rare. The New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, Section 1050.9 (g) says that bulky items are not allowed on the New York City Bus without itemizing bicycles as bulky.
Typical seats on many buses of the New York City Bus and Long Island Bus

BAD: Transportation Alternatives Message Board: Bicycles and the Bus: Someone claiming to drive a bus of the New York City Bus provided useful and detailed information on admissibility of folded bicycles on buses, but his or her attitude became worse while talking to apparently no one but himself or herself.

BAD: Someone reported that she encountered certain drivers of the Long Island Bus refusing her folded bicycle.

BAD: Front bicycle racks on the QBx1 buses of Queens Surface Corporation over the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge with sidewalks removed in 1946 were unreliable, so when traveling between Queens and the Bronx in New York with a bicycle on a bus, it is best to take a bagged folded bicycle. Certain drivers of the Queens Surface Corporation reportedly refused folded bicycles just because they were bicycles. The company insuring itself reportedly claimed that the only collapsible item allowed on its buses was baby strollers due to insurance liabilities, and whether an item was admissible depends on if it was too large to be held on one's lap. The drivers of the Queens Surface Corporation might tend to be more impatient and aggressive. This company is now the MTA Bus.

TOO BAD: Transportation Alternatives Message Board: KICKED OFF BUS WITH FOLDING BIKE: Someone described a refusal of a folded bicycle of reasonable size inside a bus of New Jersey Transit. A response to the complaint just claimed that bicycles are not allowed in the passenger compartment of the buses of New Jersey Transit. It is a failure to distinguish folded and non-collapsible bicycles for access on buses.

The following table is for general ideas only, which may vary from time to time, from place to place, and from bus to bus. It does not apply to express buses.

New York City BusQueens Surface CorporationLong Island Bus
Performance of schedulesFair to goodPoor to averageFair to good
Availability of schedules at bus stopsWidely availableNon-existentRarely available
Adequacy of serviceGoodPoorAverage
Adjusting service such as adding runs as neededAveragePoorPoor
Reliability of serviceFairPoorAverage
Professionalism of driversGoodAverageGood
Performance of safetyGood to excellentPoor to averageGood
Announcing bus stopsPoor to averageVirtually noneAutomated and excellent on most buses
Response to comments of customersFair to goodPoorPoor
Width of an aisle versus seats per rowMostly wider aisle versus 3 seats per row for good circulation (some have narrow depressed aisles versus 4 soft seats per row)Narrow aisle versus 4 seats per row for bad circulationFairly wide aisle versus 4 seats per row for fair circulation

External links

Travel with Bicycles
Topica: Taking your bicycle on public transit (bikes-n-transit)
ProperTreatment: BiCycle

United States:
 New York:
  Metropolitan Transportation Authority:
   MTA New York City Bus
   MTA Long Island Bus
  Queens Surface Corporation

A fictional road war of a driver of a folding bicycle against a bus driver

This is a fictional story. British English (en-GB) is primarily used with American English (en-US), Canadian English (en-CA), Australian English (en-AU) and New Zealand English (en-NZ) noted as needed. Any real event similar to this story shall be deemed coincidental.

A driver of a multiple-speed folding bicycle sees a bus approaching the bus stop and wants to board it with the folded bicycle. The bus is not heavy loaded, but the bus driver says,
"You cannot take it on."
"Why not?" The bicyclist asks.
"It is a bicycle."
"I have a bag to cover it like a luggage." The bicyclist says while putting a foot in the doorway of the bus.
"Bicycles are not allowed on the bus. Keep your foot off my bus." The bus driver insists not to let on.
"I was admitted with it elsewhere."
"Keep your foot off my bus before I close the door!" The bus driver says while closing and reopening the door with intent to harm the bicyclist.
"What are you doing?" The bicyclist says while unfolding the bicycle and setting it on the carriageway (en-US: roadway).
"Keep your foot off!"
The bicyclist drives the bicycle along the bus route on urban roads. Problems are about to happen.

Many people get on and off the bus frequently, so the bus has to stop so frequently, but the bicyclist need not stop for these passengers. As the bicycle and the bus have overtaken each other so many times, the bicycle is often in the way of the bus when approaching bus stops and the bicycle often overtakes the bus about to pull out of the stop. The bus has been delayed for several seconds.

The impatient and aggressive bus driver becomes hostile toward the bicyclist for frequently delaying the bus, even though the bicyclist has no intent to cause delays purposely. The bus driver frequently honks toward the bicyclist even in silent zones where honking is banned without emergencies.

When both the bicycle and the bus approach a bus stop, the bus driver impatiently cuts off the bicyclist and stops away from the curb. Another argument occurs next to the front door of the bus. The danger occurs.
"Why did you cut me off?" The bicyclist complains.
"Why didn't you get out of my way?" The bus driver asks.
"You were killing me!"
"You were blocking my way! Get out of my way!"...

A similar problem occurs when the bicyclist is overtaking the bus driver leaving a bus stop without regard to surrounding traffic. The conflict continues as both of them proceed. As the road narrows and the bicycle is ahead of the bus, the bus driver is impatient again and keeps honking even when no overtaking is permitted in the narrow road.

After the zone with no overtaking ends, the bus driver overtakes and almost hit the bicyclist. As both approach a red light, arguments arise again.

The road war is heated further when the bicyclist turns at an intersection (road junction) in front of the bus turning in the same direction. The impatient bus driver almost hits the bicyclist when turning widely. After a long road war, the bus finishes its route and no passengers are accepted as the bus will not be in service, but the problems have not ended.

Meanwhile, the bicyclist telephones the bus company to report the dangerous bus driver.
"I would like to complain against your bus driver trying to kill me on the road." The bicyclist says.
"Trying to kill you?" The telephone operator answers the call.
"What happened exactly?"
"That driver first refused my folded bicycle and then tried to kill me when I drove myself along the bus route."
"I will try to send someone, but it will take some time. In the meantime, you may want to stay away from that bus driver to be safe."

As the dangerous bus driver takes a rest before deadheading, the bicyclist also telephones the police from a telephone booth.

"This is the police. How may I help you?"
"I would like to report an aggressive and hostile bus driver who tried to kill me on the road." The bicyclist says.
"Trying to kill you?" The police operator answers the call.
"What happened specifically?"
"That driver first refused my folded bicycle and then tried to kill me when I drove myself along the bus route."
"Where is that bus going?"
"It is stopped at the terminal now."
"Where are you now?" The police operator asks.
"I am located at... Ah!"

The bus driver starts the bus and crashes through the telephone booth where the bicyclist was just talking to the police. Fortunately, the bicyclist escapes and drives the bicycle away.

"What is wrong? Hello?" The police operator loses the contact and tries to trace the call while the bus driver without passengers goes after the bicyclist in an aggressive and hostile way. The wild chase happens!

The bus chases the bicyclist through different areas. The bus driver does not slow down even through traffic calming areas. In many instances through traffic light signals, the bicyclist passes yellow lights while the light is already red when the bus passes through. On curves, the bus frequently cuts through the edges or the central lines of the roads. Through residential areas closed to buses, the bus sideswipes many parked vehicles and causes damages at fast speed. Through traffic congestion, the bicyclist drives between the rows of vehicles to miss the bus, but the bus driver still drives on the pavement (en-US, en-CA: sidewalk; en-AU, en-NZ: footpath) to chase the bicyclist while pedestrians are endangered.

At a railway level crossing (en-US: railroad grade crossing) without gates, the bicyclist crosses while a train sounds the horn, but the bus driver still races the train and is almost hit. On a narrow bridge with the width of 4 m, the bicyclist just passes a meeting car, but the bus sideswipes the car.

The bicyclist enters a bicycle path in a park closed to motor vehicles, but the aggressive bus driver still enters the path illegally. Many people, whether walking, jogging, running, skating, or bicycling, scream while they try to avoid being hit by the bus on the park path illegally. As the path has many low-hanging branches of trees, the bus hits many branches and litters the path.

A police officer patrolling the park on a bicycle notices the bicyclist being chased by the bus driven illegally and announces through the police frequency.
"Attention all units, a bus is on a bicycle path in the park illegally and chasing a bicyclist. Bystanders are in danger. Request all available assistance to intercept."

After the bicyclist and the aggressive bus driver leave the park path and enter the road again, the problems continue. The police have yet to intercept.

While approaching a low overpass overhead, the bicyclist hopes to miss the dangerous bus. However, the aggressive bus driver still ignores the posted height limit and tries to take a chance to proceed under it. The bus hits the overpass slightly and causes damage to the bus and the overpass.

A weak bridge over a shallow river is ahead. The posted weight limit is very low. The bicyclist has no problem to cross the bridge at all. However, as the bus driver ignores the posted weight limit, the heavy weight of the bus severely damages the weak bridge. The bridge collapses. The bicyclist just escapes the collapse of the bridge, but the bus falls into the river!

The bicyclist looks at the collapsed bridge where the dangerous bus just falls into the river. The sirens become louder as the police are approaching. The police have yet to investigate and clean up the whole mess caused by the wild chase on the roads.

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