Comment 25967

By adrian (registered) | Posted July 17, 2008 at 10:11:30

I think the argument that public transit ought to be free or very cheap because taxpayers fully fund the construction of roads a is weak one.

The argument seems to be that people who drive their cars on roads are getting a free ride, while transit users or cyclists are not.

I do agree that certain highways should have tolls, however, the need for roads and their public utility was apparent long before the automobile existed. The Romans built roads centuries ago because they are needed for most forms of transportation, for carrying goods we all rely on, and for quickly accessing distant locations (i.e. keeping the "empire" together). Even if we had no cars, we would still have roads.

As well, public transit users and cyclists DO use roads. The argument that car drivers are getting a free ride only makes sense if their vehicles were purchased by taxpayers. However, car drivers have to purchase a car out of their own pockets.

Paying a fare to ride the bus is like paying a very small part of a lease on that bus, plus part of the driver's wages.

As far as a comparison to public libraries goes, I think the question haaa raises, "Why is transit so different?" has many obvious answers, almost too obvious for me to get into, for example: it isn't possible for the average person to afford to compile a personal library of thousands of books, but the average person can easily afford public transit; borrowing a book has a negligible impact on its longevity but buses burn fuel that someone has to pay for.

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