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||This article may not have a worldwide view of the subject. (June 2009)|
Public transport (public transportation in the United States) is a way for the public (all the people) to travel around. It is a way for people to travel quickly and cheaply without needing their own cars. Public transport lets many people travel at the same time.
Public transport started around 1826 in Nantes, France and has become the easiest way to travel.[source?] The first forms of public transport were ferries (big public boats), and animals, such as horses. Horses also pulled carts. People would sit in the carts and the horses would pull them where they wanted to go.
Types of public transport [change]
The main types of public transport are buses, trolleybuses, trams and trains. Trams were first used in the late 1860s and used to be pulled by horses. Now trams are electric and run on a line of cable. Buses drive on the road, like cars do. Trolleybuses are like buses, but they use electricity from two wires above the road. Trains run on a track and are very fast. Many places[source?] use trams and trains as a form of public transport.
Who uses public transport? [change]
Many people who do not have cars use buses, trolleybuses, trams to go places near their house, and they use trains to go places far away. Public transport is good because it is easy to use so anybody can go on it.
How to use it [change]
When using public transport people may need a ticket or card to be able to get on. On trams they get a ticket that they put in a machine and it tells them when their ticket runs out. On buses and trolleybuses they buy their ticket from the driver and put it into a machine, and on trains they use a ticket to get into the train station to catch their train. A timetable tells them when they come.
Good things [change]
Public transport is also good for the environment. When people use public transport it means that there are fewer cars on the road. With fewer cars on the road there is less pollution created in the world. Another good thing about public transport is the cost. It is very cheap to catch public transport every day and lots of people like public transport better than their cars.
Modern public transport [change]
Public transportation comes in many forms:
- Share taxi including minibus and maxi-taxi
- Auto rickshaw
- Bus normally serving a regular fixed route but could include a variable route, divert-on-demand service.
- Bush taxi of West and Central Africa
- Trolleybus and electric bus
- Jitney or Songthaew
- Matatu, of East Africa
- Motor coach
- Transit bus
- Vehicle for hire
- Combi of Peru
- Community bicycle programs
- Automated guideway transit (AGT), also called Peoplemover
- Cable car on rails, used in cities, a streetcar (tram) pulled by a cable
- Cable car on rails, used in mountains.
- Rack railway (or rack and pinion railway)
- Elevated railroad, such as the Chicago 'L'
- Light rail a tram-like system with no significant sections of the route shared with cars or pedestrians, such as the San Diego Trolley or the St. Louis Metrolink
- Magnetic levitation train (Maglev)
- Metro (also known as 'subway' or 'underground')
- Railway, including commuter train and high-speed rail
- Tram (tramway or streetcar)
Sloped or vertical [change]
- Aerial tramway or the similar Gondola lift and the more basic Aerial lift are vehicles suspended from aerial cables
- Conveyor transport (term includes escalators and horizontal or slightly inclined moving sidewalk - "Travolator")
- Elevator or lift
- Funicular, used in mountains, tram-like vehicle on rails pulled by a cable up and down a very steep slope.
- Gondola lift
Some of these types are often not for use by the general public, e.g. elevators in offices and apartment buildings, buses for personnel or school children, etc.
Emerging technologies [change]
- Group rapid transit
- Dual mode transit
- Personal rapid transit
- Automated highway systems
- Bus rapid transit
- Maglev rapid transit
Stations are an important aspect of any public transportation system. Specific types include:
- Airport, Heliport
- Airport terminal
- Bus stop (including bus station, bus depot)
- Metro station
- Park and ride
- Ship terminal, ferry slip, pier or wharf
- Taxi stand
- Terminal station
- Railway station
- Tram stop
In addition one can get on or off of a taxi at any road where stopping is allowed. Some fixed-route buses allow getting on and off at suitable unmarked locations along that route, typically called a hail-and-ride section.
||The English used in this article may not be easy for everybody to understand. (October 2011)|
Money is needed to build and operate a public transit system. The money comes from ticket revenue, government subsidies and advertisements. If ticket prices are too high, people will not use public transit. So, most systems charge passengers less than the full cost of building and operating the system. The percentage of total revenue that passengers pay is known as the farebox recovery ratio. Sometimes, a small amount of income comes from land development and rental income from stores and vendors, and parking fees. Some subway systems get money from telecommunication companies by leasing tunnels and rights-of-way to carry fiber optic communication lines.
Fare and ticketing [change]
Most–but not all–public transport systems need users to buy of a ticket to use the system. Tickets may either be bought before the time of the ride, at the time of the ride, or both. Tickets can be paper ticket, metal or plastic tokens, or an electronic card (smart card, contactless smart card). Sometimes, a ticket has to be validated (marking the time of the ticket's use). A paper ticket is stamped when it is validated. An electronic ticket is checked in.
Tickets may be valid for a single (or return) trip, or valid within a certain area for a period of time. The fare (price of the ticket) is based on the travel class, either based on the traveled distance, or on a zone pricing.
The tickets may have to be shown or checked automatically at the station platform or when going onto the system, or during the ride by a conductor. Operators may choose to control all passengers, allowing sale of the ticket at the time of ride. Alternatively, a proof-of-payment system allows passengers to enter the vehicles without showing the ticket. Riders may or may not be controlled by a ticket controller. If the rider does not show proof of payment, the operator may fine the rider.
Multi-use tickets allow a passenger to travel more than once. These include "return tickets" where the passenger pay for two trips at one time. It also includes period cards allowing travel within a certain area (for instance month cards), or during a given number of days that can be chosen within a longer period of time (for instance eight days within a month). Some transit systems sell tickets (passes) aimed at tourists that allow free or discounted entry at many tourist attractions, typically include zero-fare public transport within a city. Period tickets may be for a particular journey (in both directions), or for a whole network.
A free travel pass allows free and unlimited travel within a system. Free passes are sometimes granted to particular social sectors, for example students, old people, children, employees (job ticket) and the physical or mentally disabled. In the United States, an employer can pay for a portion of a travel pass without that payment being taxed. So, transit systems allow employers to pay the system directly and to distribute the passes to employees.
Free systems [change]
Free or Zero-fare public transport services are funded in full by means other than collecting a fare from passengers.
Zero-fare services may be funded by national, regional or local government through taxation or by commercial sponsorship by businesses. They usually use relatively small vehicles such as buses and trams.
Several mid-size European cities and many smaller towns around the world have converted their entire bus networks to zero-fare.
Local zero-fare shuttles or inner-city loops are far more common than city-wide systems.
Cultural importance [change]
Tourist attraction [change]
Some means of rail-based public transport are also tourist attractions and/or well known landmarks in their own right. These include San Francisco's famous cable cars, the Molli steam powered train in Bad Doberan, the kusttram along the whole Flemish coast, the Schwebebahn Wuppertal, the Seattle Monorail, and the Christchurch Tram
Advocacy organizations [change]
- American Public Transportation Association
- Community Transportation Association of America 
- International Association of Public Transport 
- Light Rail Transit Association (UK)
- National Corridors Initiative 
- Public Transport Users Association – lobby group for Victoria (Australia)
- Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TPLA) 
- Transport 2000 (UK)
Other websites [change]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Public transport|
- NAUTF | North American Urban Transit Forum
- APTA: American Public Transportation Association
- Public Transportation: Wherever Life Takes You
- IMB International Maglev Board
- Metro systems' graphics indexed by city
- The biggest database and photogallery of public transport
- National Transit Institute
- Transport Briefing
- Public transport in Russia
- Public transport guide (Europe)
- "Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits under ARRA". Internal Revenue Service. October 4, 2011. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=205664,00.html. Retrieved 2011-10-19.