Free Transit is in Town, For Now

Free Transit Toronto member Stefan Kipfer has written an important piece about free transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the article on the Socialst Project’s website here.

“Demands for free transit in Toronto, Oshawa, Edmonton, and Ottawa might generate such demands elsewhere. And calls for fare freedom may yield other calls for freedom, with regards to mobility and much beyond. This is exactly the point! Demanding fare freedom raises the question: why not make other vital services (from public housing to childcare and post-secondary education) free? Also: why not consider public transit a genuine public space free from harassment, from segregation, from racialized policing? Why not put public services such as transit at the centre of economic development strategies that are both egalitarian and ecologically sustainable? Why not introduce free public services to reorganize the way in which we plan our towns, our cities, our lives? Why, in fact, should we pit one just and green demand against another? Why not work together to build a broader vision for a different city, a different world, in which human and other lives are affirmed and enriched? If free transit is one entry point to start building a new world, why not bring mobilizations for transit and mobility into conversation instead of competition with other critical political campaigns?”

Free Public Transit in Canada?

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Canada has added its voice to discussions about fare-free transit in Canada. This is an important development in the fight for free transit.

Read the ATU’s piece, Free Public Transit in Canada” here.

“ATU Canada advocates for fares to be affordable for all, and advocates for progress toward creating a fare-free transit. Incremental pricing actions (such as fare-freezes and reductions) are realistic in lieu of immediate fare-free transit subsidized by government. In our advocacy, we prioritize efforts to eliminate cost barriers to accessing jobs, education, health care, and other services, through the implementation of low-income passes. A gradual approach to fare reduction is sorely needed in many municipalities across Canada, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that transit is safe, reliable, and affordable for all.”

Trillium Line Extension

SNC-Lavalin’s Trillium Line extension plans failed to meet the minimum technical requirement not once, but twice. That the City could accept SNC-Lavalin’s flawed proposal is down to the use of a secret clause included in the Request for Proposals (RFP) contract which gave senior managers discretion to disregard technical requirements in favour of financial ones.

Putting cost-savings over technical soundness is no way to plan a transit system. Indeed, the problems with Stage 1 show that improper technical requirements can lead to delivery delays and a flawed system. Secretive dealings like this let corporations get away with delivering poor service while charging high costs to the people of our city. The City of Ottawa must stop building our transit system on the cheap and in ways that outsource its responsibility to build and maintain a functioning system to for-profit entities outside of its control.

Read more about the issue here: SNC-Lavalin’s ‘poor’ LRT bid should have been tossed, evaluators found (CBC).