Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Negative Bus Fare

Pay people to ride the bus
  (+10, -3)
(+10, -3)
  [vote for,

Our area recently added more taxes to increase bus service. Frankly I opposed it. Huge empty or near-empty buses now roll around town. Fares come nowhere close to covering the cost of operation, and probably never will.

But since we're going to have them, and they aren't going to ever break even, we should at least try to encourage people to use them, and reduce the traffic load.

So I'm proposing (for my town and others like it) that anyone who buys a yearly bus pass get paid a dollar every time they get on a bus between 7-9am and 4-6pm. If they ride every day, twice a day, 50 weeks a year, they'd get about $500 back, on a pass that cost them maybe $150.

Heck, if we REALLY want to get bus ridership up, we should pay people in lottery tickets... "Ride the bus, become a millionaire".

TomRC, Sep 27 2002

Why Brits drive on the right side of the road, the left http://www.amphicars.com/acleft.htm
[[ sctld ], Sep 28 2002]


       Man, I wouldn't ride the bus if they PAID me! Then again, a cool half-thousand sounds pretty sweet. I'll go set up my camping stuff downtown so I get a good place in line.
Amos Kito, Sep 27 2002

       //Pay people to ride the bus//
Pay people to clean the bus, then I'll consider.
Mr Burns, Sep 28 2002

       Jack up the tolls to pay for the buses, and you'll probably kill two birds with one stone.
DrCurry, Sep 28 2002

       If the bus paid money to riders, you would end up with buses full of people who had nowhere really to go but just wanted the money; these people would tend to scare off anyone who would otherwise have use for the bus.   

       I would suggest it would be simpler to work out a deal with the transit unions that would pay the bus drivers their current wage to stay at home (or do anything other than drive a bus); you may not be able to save money on union-employee wages, but at least you'd save on fuel and maintenance costs.   

       As another alternative, try to work out some deals with private companies which would have a profit incentive to run routes people actually want. One of the interesting features of London's Underground is that although it does receive government subsidies today, the lines from which it evolved were intended to turn a profit for investors. Although Charles Yerkes (sp?) went bankrupt and died before his deep-tunnel lines opened in 1906, they have since been quite successful and continue to be well-used to this day.   

       As a perhaps more closer U.S. example, there exist a number of busses that run between Rockford, IL and Chicago O'Hare airport. These buses receive no government subsidy, and yet at least two companies are able to run them profitably on a roughly hourly basis. These companies identified routes people actually wanted to use, and make a lot of money serving them.
supercat, Sep 28 2002

       There was a band of 'eco warriors' who would give out cakes and other treats to those who car-pulled, cycled, or rode public transport.   

       I'd rather have the cake. Mmm.
[ sctld ], Sep 28 2002

       Its alright, i'm British, i don't have to spell things correctly.
[ sctld ], Sep 28 2002

       No, we drive on the right side, the left.   

       See [link] on how Brits are correct (and good Catholics).
[ sctld ], Sep 28 2002

       In Britain, and pretty much all Commonwealth countries, they drive on the left hand side ofthe road. In your state (I'm guessing Hawaii), you drive on the right hand side, yes?   

       The earliest example of a 'keep' rule, is that of ancent rome, whcih was 'keep left'. So overall, i would be inclined to say that the Empire is correct. But then, i am biased.
[ sctld ], Sep 28 2002

       I tend to do a left-right-left. Don't knwo why. Just always have.
[ sctld ], Sep 28 2002

       austere, a significant number of tourists die this way (looking the 'wrong way' before crossing). I personally ran after a bus in NYC & tried to jump on the side with no door, & belatedly realised i was 'in' the traffic..
pfperry, Sep 28 2002

       If public transport took people where they wanted to go when they wanted to go there, then they wouldn't need incentives. Speaking personally I'd be willing to tolerate the temporal and geographical discrepancies if I could redress the balance with a pushbike. Until one of these conditions is met, I'll use the car. Proudly keeping to the left.
egbert, Sep 30 2002

       //If public transport took people where they wanted to go when they wanted to go there, then they wouldn't need incentives.//   

       Yes, but politicians are generally more interested in where THEY want bus/rail lines to go (or not go) than in where RIDERS (or prospective riders) want them. As noted, one of the things that made the development of London transport interesting is that much of the infrastructure was built by companies who sought to make a profit. Since the only way to do that was offer people a chance to ride where they wanted to go, such considerations were generally (with some notable exceptions) given priority over politics.
supercat, Sep 30 2002

       I like. (+).
neilp, Nov 01 2004

       I like too. Please note, in central London there is a congestion charge of £5.00/day (=$10.00/day ish) for driving a car which has been used to fund public transport (mainly buses). Our buses are now half the price, twice as fast and twice as frequent. They rock. This sort of idea can work.
wagster, Nov 01 2004

       and London's streets are cleaner and the traffic moves faster to boot.
neilp, Nov 01 2004

       This is actually a novel idea, seeing as the Greater Vancouver area is making such a push for people to 'go green' and ride the buses. Along with devoting highway sections to "High-Occupancy' vehicles, bicycles, and Buses, they've forced all university students into paying for a universal transit pass every semester, (albeit subsidized).   

       I don't really have a problem with the transit system taking me where I want to go. In Vancouver, there is a very good network of buses, along with some elevated light rail. The problem for me is the horrendous waiting times when transferring.
Cuit_au_Four, Sep 24 2005

       Supercat - good point about freeloaders riding just to make some money. But easily countered by requring anyone signing up for the rebate program to show a current automobile registration.   

       Anyone without a car might be allowed to by a somewhat cheaper year-pass, but not take part in the rebate program, since it is aimed at reducing traffic.
TomRC, Feb 27 2009

       Fantastic, TomRC! Six and a half years spent considering the point before responding. Now that's what I call due consideration.
DrBob, Feb 27 2009


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