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I would encourage ST readers to visit the web page of The Guardian of September 21, where there appears a report under the title “Looming London Transport crisis ‘risks sparking riots’ says TfL chief”:

Sir Peter Hendy, the Transport Commissioner of London has stated that without significant improvements in transport access at affordable fares that political and social unrest may occur.  The story is more complicated than that, but I bring it to our collective attention in the context of our own service curtailments and fare increases in relation to where the working poor of Seattle may be able to reside.

I should note that the rest of England (even more, the rest of the (still) United Kingdom regards the reports of London’s transport problems with some hostility.  The columns of several British papers keep returning to the impacts of high fares, and over-crowded transport services.

2 Replies to “Meanwhile, in a far and distant land… the poor, the workers & transport for London”

  1. The working poor in Seattle live in Delridge, 35th SW, Rainier/Beacon, Lake City, Broadview, and Bitter Lake. Of these, only Rainier/Beacon have high-capacity transit and they’re gentrifying the fastest. If people can’t afford those places they generally go to Burien, Renton, Tukwila, Lynnwood, or Everett. Pierce County is still a mostly separate labor market, and you don’t need to go to Federal Way or Auburn to find rents lower than Kent or Des Moines. I would have added Crossroads until recently, but I think that’s only viable if you work on the Eastside, otherwise you’d save more by going south. But, there are reports that Burien and Kent are starting to get more expensive, so if we look 10 years ahead they may be like Delridge is now, and the poorer-than-that will be moving to Federal Way and Auburn and Pierce County.

    However, unlike London, in the outer areas almost everybody drives, even the poor, and they’re hostile to raising taxes to expand transit. See how Prop 1 failed in April. So they’re really saying “No more transit!” than “Give us more transit now!” The exception is with the ST measures, but they will never reach all the poor areas we’re talking about, and Link and Sounder go basically only north and south between major stops: they won’t support all the multidirectional trips of the poor. There is a chance now for cities to supplement Metro’s funding, but so far only the richest cities have indicated potential willingness.

  2. If the working poor earn enough not to be part of the low-income fare program, then a policy which raises general fares in order to subsidize the fares of those who do not work penalizes the working poor unnecessarily. Frankly any decision to subsidize fares of the poor should be paid from general tax revenues, not from raising fares on riders.

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