Revenue Ideas For Local Transit System
Warning: This isn’t geeky. Here are some geeky transit maps to distract you instead!
If you’ve followed this blog long enough you know I live in Vancouver BC. Our local transportation authority Translink is facing some revenue shortfalls due to a decreased local demand in fuel (a quarter of their revenue is from fuel taxes). So I decided to put my thinking cap on to see if I can devise some transportation-related ways for them to raise money or to save money.
Many of these are quite radical (have you known me to be otherwise?), and may draw Big Brother or “invasive Government” comparisons. Some of these ideas are referring to local situations, but may be applicable to your city too.
In no particular order:
Bike licensing/registration: Mandatory one-time fees for each adult bicycle that would build a database of bikes that can be accessed quickly for theft reporting and identification in theft recovery by the police. I’d like to see license numbers engraved into the bike frame so they can’t be scratched out easily.
Ticket top-ups: You hold onto existing transit stubs (that are expired), which you can “refill” at ticket vending machines. The tickets would need space for several time stamps. This saves from issuing brand new tickets all the time. A nice recycling option.
Wasteful driving tax: All the fast-food drive-thrus — levy those. Same with pizza deliveries. $0.25 for each transaction. Easy money.
Tourist Tollbooth on the Sea-to-Sky highway: If you don’t have BC plates you pay a toll. Similar to those park tolls on the Trans Canada Highway near Banff Alberta (used by those who want passes for Banff National Park).
Pricey HOV lane passes: For those who’d like the privilege of using High Occupancy Vehicle lanes while driving alone can pay an exorbitant yearly fee. They’d get a tag or pass to show their exemption. There would be a cap on the available passes.
Yearly/monthly parking meter passes: Like the above, but this would permit you to park at any metered parking spot as long as you want. Should be verifiable by license plate and the make of the vehicle, or else people might steal the tag/pass/sticker. This allows for a fixed monthly income that can be budgeted around, instead of unpredictable revenues from meters.
Volunteer parking police: Instead of police officers, these would be people from charitable organizations who would go around enforcing parking meters and writing tickets. Some proceeds from the fines would go to the charity. Who would yell at someone representing the Canadian Cancer Society for writing a ticket? Saves money on staffing, or allows police personnel to be used for more pressing issues. Might lead to more ticket revenue, thanks to vigilant charity volunteers. Probably more coverage in enforcement as well.
“Citizen’s Arrest” traffic tickets: EVERYONE has a camera. You see some idiot parking in a dedicated handicap space? Take a picture, send it to ICBC. Ticket is then issued (maybe a warning first). So much bad behavior committed by drivers is seen by other drivers and pedestrians. How often do we wish a cop was around? With this system, we would be forced to be considerate to others or pay the price.
Pay your ticket now, get a discount: Those portable debit machines are carried by police or parking enforcement. If you’d like a smaller fine, you’d have the option to pay immediately. This is an incentive to ensure immediate collection of fines. These portable machines are pretty expensive though. As an alternative I would like to pay through an ATM machine, much like a bill.
Permanent seizure of vehicles for intoxicated driving: The municipal Government could flip the car for a few bucks, all the while giving people plenty of incentive to call a cab or take the bus after a few beers. Getting killed and/or killing friends/ strangers should be plenty of incentive now, but the thought of losing the car is sadly one deterrent that many might consider first and foremost. (Note: You’d still have to honor outstanding car payments for your seized vehicle, adding salt to the wound).
Monitored bike locking stations: This is a bit out there, but this is an outdoor bike rack that is monitored by CCTV. You’d pay for the privilege of the secure system for your bike, using a parking meter. It would be around $1 – $2 a day. These could also be small indoor locations too. Essentially, these are car parkades for bicycles, but more secure than car parkades! Safe enough for you to leave your helmet and other bike gear, I would think.