Coffee Cups and Transit Stops
Before light rail and streetcars were a part of Portland streets that city had what is known as the Fareless Square where bus rides within the downtown area were free. The first time I visited the city, buses, the MAX (light rail), and the streetcar line were all free in the downtown area and was named the "Fareless Square". Now with rail a big part of downtown the program is now known as the "Free Rail Zone".
What would a Fareless Square do for San Jose?
It would encourage more people to live work and play downtown. Residents would find it easier to shop. Tourists could play and spend money at a wider variety of venues before heading to museums, theaters, and sports venues. Downtown office workers could linger downtown after work to go shopping and dining.
- In the example I gave above, with more options commuters arriving to San Jose could get to their offices sooner with less crowding.
- Tourists who normally park a car next to their destination would now be encourage to explore the city.
- More people out walking and talking transit will enliven the often morbid street scene.
- With greater transit use, there less of a need to build and operate expensive parking garages.
- Safer and cleaner downtown streets with reduced congestion and traffic volumes..
So if we take a tip from the retail bag law (and freeway usage); if its free it will get used. Any comments?
VTA Route 64 vs VTA Downtown DASH Shuttle
View Farless Square Example in a larger map