terça-feira, 21 de agosto de 2012

The value of urban and intercity rail investment

I live in Poland, and here we have a great and dense network of regional rail and the city has more then 25 lines of light rail + lot's of bus lines, including night buses, express buses and in nearly all major avenues there is either an exclusive light rail or an exclusive bus pair of lanes.

As a result I don't own a car at all, because it is absolutely unnecessary. I can go anywhere I want in the country fast and cheap on public transport, and in the process I save huge amounts of money. The cost of 1 year of subscription to the entire public transportation system of my city, including all light rail, buses, night buses, express buses and even the bus to the airport is 1000zl=300dollars. That's amazingly cheap. For the intercity transportation, and I travel reasonably often, I once tried to calculate how much I expend, but the amount was so low that I gave up. I would say that I expend a maximum of 2000zl=600dollars in intercity transportation.

So 900 dollars for transportation all around the country ... how much would I have to pay if I had to do this in a car? Parking near my work alone would cost more then that, as it costs 400zl per month=4800zl per year=1500 dollars. Not to mention Highway fees, gas, insurance, car devaluation, speeding/parking tickets, car maintenance, etc, etc =D How much would it be per year? Maybe 9.000 dollars? A factor of 10x more expensive then I currently pay...

So here we are: People in the USA apparently are extremely rich (or filled with debts) so that they can waste lots and lots of money in car transportation. I am poor, so I prefer to save 8.000 dollars each year that would otherwise be wasted. I save them into investment assets which in turn give me income for my vacations while I do nothing.

And exactly the same can be applied for the society as a whole: Societies that invest into public transportation and into intercity railways indeed have to collect taxes and make investments in the infra-structure. But each citizen in turn receives a much, much bigger amount of money in return simply because he doesn't need to go around by car so much and saves this money. Societies that don't invest into urban and intercity rail essentially force their citizens to waste lots of money for transportation.

In the USA people are forced to use cars for everything because there is no other choice, while in Europe people can choose: Those that prefer to go by cars can do so, and those that prefer to save money and use the public transport can just as well do that and won't loose much at all.

Nenhum comentário: