Planka.nu fights for fare free public transportation, where workers and commuters are in charge. We also want to topple the traffic power structure, where cities are built for cars and mobility is forced upon us.
In the year 2000 we started protests against the planned fare hikes. A lot of us had enough money for a bus pass one month, but maybe not the next one. We wanted to do something more than just protest the latest fare hike. We wanted free public transport. Instead of being alone and poor, we want to become united and powerful. In 2001, Planka.nu was founded by the Syndicalist Youth Federation. We have been an independent organisation since 2003.
Our main component of the campaign has been the P-kassa (P-fund). It’s a fund where members pay a monthly fee, and we pay any tickets people might receive from controllers together. The fund has a few hundred members, and costs 100 SEK per month. This price has been the same for 18 years!
The fund has helped Planka to be a long-term organisation, and provided independent financial backing for this like leaflets and action materials.
While we mostly have focused on the ticket prices, we quickly became aware of the fact that the price is a part of politics in general. And especially, we encountered the question of urban free-ways that were using funds originally destined for public transportation. It expanded the field that we operate in.
We need to prioritize public transportations instead of cars
In the long run free public transportation would lead to other positive effects, like a better urban environment with less traffic jams. Today car traffic is prioritized at the expense of public transportation. Roads are financed by tax money and are free to use, but the public transportation is financed by fares. It is rather strange that the authorities punish those who choose the means of travel that suits the environment best. Your can read our report Travel doesn’t have to cost the Earth (2009) for some more ideas.
United we stand strong! P-kassan - the fund - is a cooperation between people in similar situations. We do not afford the fare or do not want to pay it. You pay a small amount to the fund and if you get caught freeriding your fine is payed by the fund. The idea of this fund is not new. It has been tried before and for quite some time, especially by students in the university cities, and has worked well even though in a small scale. The difference is that we have a greater goal than just helping each other to freeride. We want fare free public transportation, owned by us together and controlled by the workers in it.
Everyone will benefit from free transports
In Stockholm, all those who make less then 75 000 kronor per month (about 8300 euros) would benefit by letting a small tax raise finance the public transportation. Free public transportation is a way of taking from the richest and giving to the rest of us. It is about time for that kind of redistribution in our segregated cities.
And think about the socio-economic gains that could be achieved by getting rid of all the ticket lines, tickets and control systems. Lots of money goes to these systems which leads to nothing but a bad mood in our common spaces.