Ian B Knocks Al Baron’s Free Public Transport Plan on Head


Er, even if the math is correct-

I don’t use the railways, hardly at all. £212 extra tax per year would be a great deal to me. Those people commuting for two grand a year are doing so to save accomodation etc. costs nearer to work. So what you’re really asking is a standard public choice rip-off; one group get subsidised by a theft from the general masses which is too small to incite them to revolution. The process that got us where we are today.

People who pay two grand for a season ticket are doing so because working far from home nets them more than two grand more than working nearer home. That’s their choice which they are entitled to make. Damned if I’m going to pay so they can benefit though.

One likely thing that would happen is that subsidising commuters like this would lead to more commuting. That would lead to the tax bill steadily rising, transferring ever more payments onto those who don’t commute. THere wouldn’t be any cost savings from “efficiencies”. There never are.

Very bad idea. Classic anglo-socialism, in fact.

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3 responses to “Ian B Knocks Al Baron’s Free Public Transport Plan on Head

  1. A terse response and one that is not thought out at all. You are making the same mistake as Richard Dawkins; he has turned atheism into a religion; don’t do the same with Libertarianism.

    First point to note, you are already subsiding the rail network, sucker. And you will subsidise it more and more and more, but your subsidies will continue to go to the fascistic private rail companies. I say that with good reason, have you seen the way they treat “fare dodgers”, including people who get off the train early?

    This proposal is not a rerun of the tragedy of the commons; the more people who use the network the cheaper it becomes in comparison to run.

    So £212 is a lot of money to you? Then go and visit your great-aunt Alice in Scotland later in the year, or instead of flying to Paris, take a free train ride to Dover and catch the ferry.

    And take your wife, kids and the church choir with you.

    What you are really afraid of is that somebody gets something for nothing. People alway take that view, unless it is them who is getting the something. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, huh? I got news for you, until the Tories introduce a sunshine tax, there is.

    You can use the Internet free in your local library. You can set up a free website or blog like this one.

    If you have three or four computers in your house on a network you can have one paid account and the rest of the family including your pet cat can all log on for free.

    Who’s paying for that? Advertising? Think again. It’s a free ride. Take it.

    Now look at what a free train and later bus transport system would do. It would take a lot of traffic off the roads, leading to fewer accidents, less traffic police, who could be diverted to proper policing.

    Cleaner air, cleaner environment, a massive drop in the import of petrol, oil etc, which is more money in your pocket.

    No more fare dodging and prosecutions for such which would save countless court time. Lots more.

    Do the math, and you’ll see it makes sense. I did for London ten years ago:

    http://www.infotextmanuscripts.org/ken_livingstone_letter.html

    And no one has refuted it yet.

  2. Graham Davies

    Further to Ian B’s response, you may well be able to do away with ticket checks/security staff and free up some court time by doing this. The problem is that you would then need to start using court time on those who won’t pay the tax. Think of the possible absurdities. Would you be happy to see someone on minimum wage imprisoned for not paying for an upper class commuter’s journey?

  3. Agreed. The Golden Rule is that subsidies don’t make things cheaper, they make them more expensive. And subsidies just acrrue to the least elastic factor of supply.

    In the instant case, totally free public transport would simply improve rental values in more out of the way places, i.e. it is not a subsidy to commuters, it is a subsidy to people who are renting or selling houses to such commuters.

    As I am heartily sick of the Home-Owner-Ist policies of successive UK governments who are determined to subsidise land ownership and tax everything else to death, I’d also have to oppose this idea.