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Subsidies for buses much higher than for cars

Re: “Car drivers more equal than others,” letter, March 26. Transit buses also travel on roads, park on roads and wear down roads (with greater axle weight). Roads are subsidized for them, as well as cars.

Re: “Car drivers more equal than others,” letter, March 26.

 

Transit buses also travel on roads, park on roads and wear down roads (with greater axle weight). Roads are subsidized for them, as well as cars.

The Victoria Transport Policy Institute, in its research paper Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs, states: “Transit subsidies average about 60 cents per passenger-mile, about 40 times larger than the approximately 1.5 cents per automobile passenger-mile roadway subsidies.”

Also, it gives automobile and transit external costs per passenger-mile, which compare cars to transit buses for a myriad of factors such as operating subsidy, crash costs, external parking, congestion, road facilities, roadway land value, traffic services, air pollution, noise, resource externalities, barrier effect and water pollution.

Cars cost $0.202 per passenger mile, transit buses $0.336 per passenger-mile. Also, of note is the car average occupancy figure of 1.42 is not single occupancy.

The U.S. Transportation Energy Data Book, as well as an article in the Journal of Public Transportation, suggest transit buses use more energy and produce more greenhouse gases per passenger-mile than cars, trucks and commercial passenger aircraft.

The key is occupancy. Transit buses are great during rush hours in densely populated urban corridors, but not so great in urban off-peak hours and in rural areas. Also, buses, generally, take a much more circuitous route to get one from point A to B. Statistics Canada studies suggest that even in large urban centres such as Vancouver and Toronto, travel by transit can take nearly twice as long as by car.

I ride my bike, where feasible, and, of course, do it on taxpayer-subsidized roads.

 

Paul Williams

Ladysmith