On July 1, Montrealers will – if the authorities have their way – pay 25 cents more each time they ride public transit.
We are living a global ecological crisis, as well as a crisis of inequality. A fare increase takes us in the wrong direction in both cases. It must be rejected and overturned.
Scientists say we have 11 years to radically cut fossil fuel emissions. That means that we need radical changes to our transportation system – and we need those changes to be popular.
There’s a clear way to accomplish that, in two steps:
1. Massively expand publicly-owned transportation options, and
2. tax corporate profits and the wealthy to pay for it.
Over 40,000 people in Montreal pay more than 80% of their income for housing. That’s a lot of people who are forced to literally choose between food and transportation. At the same time, thousands of low-income people are being evicted, forced to move away from their communities.
At a time when inequality is at historic highs, this fare increase will take tens of millions of dollars out of the pockets of the poorest people in Montreal. All while the extremely wealthy receive benefit from historically low tax rates and lax regulation of offshore tax evasion.
Hundreds of cities have eliminated fares for public transportation to very good effect. In Estonia, the capital city of Tallinn went fare-free, and soon after, inter-city transit fares were eliminated as well. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, also recently announced that they are moving toward fare-free service in their urban core.
There are countless benefits to free public transportation, but one of the most important may be that they increase political support for public transportation – a crucial factor in ensuring that the rapid climate transition that we need actually happens.
Scientists, and many governments, recognize that fossil-fuel-burning automobiles must be phased out by around 2030. But even without internal combustion engines, the one-car-per-person model has to end for the planet to survive.
That’s why public transportation must be radically expanded, moving rapidly to provide door-to-door service for those who require it, and expanding into rural areas and inter-city transit.
It all starts with stopping the July 1st fare increase.
To: Members of the ARTM: Valérie Plante, Pierre Shedleur, Andrée Lafortune, Pierrette Laperle, Liette Leduc, Jean-Pierre Revéret, Owen Alexander Rose, Diane Marleau, Ahmed El-Geneidy, Paul Lewis, Marc Demers, Sylvie Parent, Chantal Deschamps, Martin Damphousse
We demand that the ARTM work with all levels of government to reverse the 25 cent fare increase, and develop a plan to move toward expanded service and fare-free public transportation.