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I have often wondered about the economic and environmental value of public transport buses lumbering through city traffic.

I have lived in rural areas most of my life, and it has always annoyed me that I have to pay for those busses through my taxes when I never use them, and when I pay more for petrol, earn less, and have to travel further to work than the people I am subsidising.

So I was interested to read Ezra Levant’s article The bus stops here: The truth about public transit in the Edmonton Sun a few days ago.

Here are a few paragraphs:

Let’s start off with the obvious: Buses are extremely expensive. They take billions of dollars each year from all levels of government. And yet despite these massive subsidies, bus fares continue to skyrocket.

But everyone knows government transit is a huge waste of money. That’s a given. But buses are supposed to be environmentally superior to cars. That’s the whole excuse for them.

It’s a lie.

For a couple of hours each day, buses are full — so they’re efficient. But outside of rush hour, buses are mainly empty. But they still burn nearly as much gas and still cost the same to run and maintain as if they were full.

Using data from the Washington-based CATO Institute, investigative reporter Kevin Libin found that when you compare the amount of energy burned and pollution emitted per person, per mile, buses are bigger polluters than cars are.

City buses burn 27% more energy per passenger mile than cars do. Of course — because most of the day, those huge tanks are barreling down the road with just a few people in them, sometimes just the driver. And city buses emit 31% more CO2 than cars do.

If you want to reduce pollution, drive your car. Don’t take a bus….

Same thing with bike lanes, including in wacko cities such as Toronto and Vancouver where actual car lanes on the street have been blocked off for bikes only. So in rush hour, thousands of cars sit idling in traffic jams — wasting time and wasting fuel. The odd bike goes by — but thousands of drivers are punished.

Buses are more expensive, use more fuel, and pollute more per passenger mile than cars. And because they slow traffic, bike lanes cause more, not less, pollution.

Canada does not have a monopoly on dopey big spending policies which achieve the opposite of what they intend. And we’re not short of wacko cities in Australia either.

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