Where nobody wants to park and ride
Mark Van der WerfAlgemeen Dagblad
Motorists don’t want to take the bus even if it’s free, said Mark Van der Werf in the Amsterdam Algemeen Dagblad. That is the sorry conclusion of a recent study of 16 of the Netherlands’ free transportation projects. The Transport Ministry thought that by eliminating bus fares, it could persuade drivers to park and ride. At first, the scheme looked successful. Free bus routes in Dutch cities were certainly getting plenty of use. But traffic jams were just as bad as ever. Turns out, “free public transport mainly attracts cyclists, pedestrians, or people who would have taken the bus anyway.” Maybe we should have known drivers wouldn’t be tempted by low- or even zero-cost buses—after all, high gas prices haven’t deterred them one bit. For the average Dutch commuter, “convenience is more important than price.” And for comfort and convenience, you still can’t beat a car.