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Tolling cyclists

2015-01-29 14:15:48.69419+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Shadow passed along: Lawmaker proposes tolling cyclists on new 520 (Seattle area) bridge.

I am a proponent of charging for used infrastructure, because that's the way the market can make decisions on what to use. However, I suspect that State Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) hasn't fully understood the macroeconomic impact of encouraging cyclists vs cars, especially in light of the cost to recover the toll for users of different modes.

[ related topics: Invention and Design Current Events Pedal Power Bicycling Seattle Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Tolling cyclists made: 2015-01-29 18:42:04.852803+00 by: Larry Burton

I get it that you don't want to do anything to dissuade people from turning to bikes for transportation but rightly or wrongly cyclists have a reputation among many drivers of not pulling our weight, even though we don't have an engine to do so and we must pull our weight to get anywhere. I think accepting a small toll to use the bridge would go a long way in taking that complaint away from drivers.

#Comment Re: Tolling cyclists made: 2015-01-29 19:44:32.367326+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, my main concern there is actually that the cost of the payment mechanism often exceeds the economic value.

We've seen this for years with parking: I have no problem with paying for parking. If it means we have 80% occupancy rates for parking, so that I can find a convenient spot near the store I'm going to, I love paying for parking.

I've discovered this now that places are moving to credit card payment for parking: Stick my card in, punch "max hours", done. What I hated was finding change to feed the meter.

Similar things happen in public transit: There are now two buses from two different transit agencies that run the same route that leave Petaluma at the same time. Ignoring the stupidity of this in bus scheduling, I take the one that costs $4.00 over the one that costs $2.45 because of the ease of swiping my RFID card vs trying to carry change.

If that bike toll requires a human toll taker, the cost of taking the toll quickly exceeds revenue. If the bike toll is something RFID-able, it seems totally reasonable.

However, the toll for both the cars and the bikes also needs to take into account the cost of delivering additional vehicles to the road network on either side of the bridge.