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Estonian Public Transport To Be Made Free

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Tallinn city administration has claimed that the official decision will have to be made in September and the public transport will become free in January 2013

Estonia’s budget surplus widened to 1 percent of gross domestic product last year, compared with 0.2 percent in 2010, Public debt relative to economic output grew to 6 percent from 5.8 percent a year earlier, the office said.

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Tallinn city administration has claimed that the official decision will have to be made in September and the public transport will become free in January 2013

The things which are possible when you have a competent government!

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Doesn't seem like a great idea. People will just overconsume public transport. I see the consequences of all-you-can-eat travelcards in London all the time: people flag down buses carrying 50+ people in order to travel one stop, sometimes less than 100m. Total waste of other people's time and fossil fuel energy, but such is human nature!

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I have occasionally wondered what the costs of making the trains free in the UK would be. They are already heavily subsidised - so if you make them free you (1) lose the ticket revenue, and (2) save the costs of running ticket offices, barriers, inspectors, enforcement etc. I wonder what the money gap would be if you closed that lot down, and if it wouldn't just be worth the government stepping in and saying we'll hand over the extra £X billion for general convenience.

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Don't regard these figures as being realistic but lets just think:

The local train costs £1000 an hour to run

There are 10 trains an hour and they are filled at 30% capacity on average

They run on a timetable so go when they are scheduled to not when they are filled

Fees from passengers bring in £1000 an hour after cost of collection is taken into account

If it were made free:

Same costs of £1000 an hour

Same number of trains

But number of users doubles with 60% of spaces filled on the average train

However there is a net income less of £1000 an hour per train to the city

So in order for it to make sense for it to be free:

The costs to the city associated with other forms of transport - road maintenance etc - would have to come down

The extra money in commuters pockets would have to be spent in the local businesses and be clawed back into the city's coffers by replacement fees/taxes to ensure it is fiscally neutral

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it might reduce the balance of trade due to the lowering of oil imports, and thus be beneficial to the government; however, they'd lose a huge amount of tax revenue from fuel sales. Guess it would never happen here then.

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I have occasionally wondered what the costs of making the trains free in the UK would be. They are already heavily subsidised - so if you make them free you (1) lose the ticket revenue, and (2) save the costs of running ticket offices, barriers, inspectors, enforcement etc. I wonder what the money gap would be if you closed that lot down, and if it wouldn't just be worth the government stepping in and saying we'll hand over the extra £X billion for general convenience.

as if a union is going to allow this lol.....

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I have occasionally wondered what the costs of making the trains free in the UK would be. They are already heavily subsidised - so if you make them free you (1) lose the ticket revenue, and (2) save the costs of running ticket offices, barriers, inspectors, enforcement etc. I wonder what the money gap would be if you closed that lot down, and if it wouldn't just be worth the government stepping in and saying we'll hand over the extra £X billion for general convenience.

Rather than doing away with fees altogether I think there's probably some optimal fee that is low enough that 99% of the people are prepared to pay it regardless, so you can get away with only having automated barriers and a metro-style zoned fare system. That way you can still heavily reduce ticketing costs, while still getting some revenue.

It's just a pity that any spare cash that ends up in people's pockets will immediately be absorbed by a corresponding increase in house prices.

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The Estonians have apparently done really well in recent years moving to a free market economy. This doesn't seem very free market on face value, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt but I'd love to know what the reasoning is behind it.

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Doesn't seem like a great idea. People will just overconsume public transport. I see the consequences of all-you-can-eat travelcards in London all the time: people flag down buses carrying 50+ people in order to travel one stop, sometimes less than 100m. Total waste of other people's time and fossil fuel energy, but such is human nature!

Don't kids travel free in London?

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The Estonians have apparently done really well in recent years moving to a free market economy. This doesn't seem very free market on face value, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt but I'd love to know what the reasoning is behind it.

Might simply be that they think it costs as much to collect fares as they get back? Also note that Tallin only has 400K people living there, so comparisons with somewhere like London don't really work.

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Rather than doing away with fees altogether I think there's probably some optimal fee that is low enough that 99% of the people are prepared to pay it regardless

We had something like that in South Yorkshire between 1974 and 1986. All child fares anywhere in the county were 2p during that period. Adult fares were 9p (rising to 10p towards the end of the scheme).

As soon as this was done away with, adult fares rose to 35p (the equivalent journey today is £2.10).

The service was pretty reliable. Timetables barely changed from year to year (unlike today).

The subsidy came from the now defunct South Yorkshire County Council, which I believe took up most of its budget.

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We had something like that in South Yorkshire between 1974 and 1986. All child fares anywhere in the county were 2p during that period. Adult fares were 9p (rising to 10p towards the end of the scheme).

I remember visiting some friends in Sheffield around 1985! The bus fare was 10p! I was amazed! :huh:

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I remember visiting some friends in Sheffield around 1985! The bus fare was 10p! I was amazed! :huh:

These days the price goes up by 10p every so often.

Considering that the 70s/early 80s was a period of high inflation, it was quite a feat.

It was popular with a lot of people but ideologically it was a battleground between Mrs. T. and the "Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire".

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These days the price goes up by 10p every so often.

Considering that the 70s/early 80s was a period of high inflation, it was quite a feat.

It was popular with a lot of people but ideologically it was a battleground between Mrs. T. and the "Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire".

I'm a great fan of subsidised public transport! If it's cheap I will use it, but I am also a confirmed petrol-head! :(

So it does have to be cheap, and I'm sure we all end up paying for it one way and another!

Still, I always thought it a good compromise!

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Just home from the pub. Cameron's dining friends on Radio 4. Read this as "Etonian public transport to be made free"

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No. A budget surplus and low public debt makes it possible for governments to do things that would be unimaginable to a country in our position.

Seriously, you think a ****ing disaster of a country is something to be admired? I suppose if you timespan is two years its looks pretty good.

Lets ignore the IMF bail out and almost total economic crash shall we?

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Seriously, you think a ****ing disaster of a country is something to be admired? I suppose if you timespan is two years its looks pretty good.

Lets ignore the IMF bail out and almost total economic crash shall we?

I think you're confusing Estonia with another country...

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but I am also a confirmed petrol-head!

Even as a pedestrian I can understand that. If I was safe to drive a car (bad eyes =

) I'd have a car.

The sheer convenience is seductive (unlike some buses, which just smell like a convenience) plus you get your own private space, away from the unwashed masses.

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