16 votes

Should Public Transit Be Free? More Cities Say, Why Not?

11 comments

  1. vord
    Link
    I think free public transportation is step #1 towards being able to ban cars in metro areas, which will help reduce emissions far more than electric cars for everyone.

    I think free public transportation is step #1 towards being able to ban cars in metro areas, which will help reduce emissions far more than electric cars for everyone.

    9 votes
  2. anahata
    Link
    Public transit in Philadelphia (really, southeast Pennsylvania as a whole) is free for seniors, and I'd love for it to be free for everyone. And I'm happy paying a few extra dollars in taxes to...

    Public transit in Philadelphia (really, southeast Pennsylvania as a whole) is free for seniors, and I'd love for it to be free for everyone. And I'm happy paying a few extra dollars in taxes to make that happen. The point of having money (IMO) is to make the world a better place for everyone. If I can help people get where they need to go, great! Please let me give the city money to do that.

    3 votes
  3. [9]
    Peacekeeper
    Link
    Not free but cheap

    Not free but cheap

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      grahamiam
      Link Parent
      The article doesn't mention this, but free may be cheaper than cheap for the government, since collecting the money requires labor and maintained systems, not just to deal with usage but also to...

      The article doesn't mention this, but free may be cheaper than cheap for the government, since collecting the money requires labor and maintained systems, not just to deal with usage but also to punish people for not paying. NYC, for example, spends a ton on fare enforcement, which means even less of the fare is going toward paying for the service.

      18 votes
      1. Peacekeeper
        Link Parent
        I personally think it shouldn’t be free if you was it would be misused by people I think they should make enough money to run the service and pay staff and that’s it

        I personally think it shouldn’t be free if you was it would be misused by people I think they should make enough money to run the service and pay staff and that’s it

    2. [3]
      Rez
      Link Parent
      Why split the difference if you can elaborate? Is public transport something people will abuse and exploit if given out for free? I don't see how a "tragedy of the commons" type situation would...

      Why split the difference if you can elaborate? Is public transport something people will abuse and exploit if given out for free? I don't see how a "tragedy of the commons" type situation would apply here, so why not have it be free (if possible) if you're going to subsidize it anyways?

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        Peacekeeper
        Link Parent
        If should be enough to simply cover the running costs

        If should be enough to simply cover the running costs

        1. spit-evil-olive-tips
          Link Parent
          As far as I know, there are few (if any at all) public transit systems where fares paid by riders cover 100% of the operating costs. Pretty much every bus/train/subway/etc system in the world is...

          As far as I know, there are few (if any at all) public transit systems where fares paid by riders cover 100% of the operating costs. Pretty much every bus/train/subway/etc system in the world is subsidized in some way or another.

          Roads work the same way. The vast majority of roads don't charge tolls. People pay taxes, the taxes fund roads, and once that's done, there is no fee at the time of use.

          1 vote
    3. [3]
      vegai
      Link Parent
      Is your point that we should discourage using the bus for a trip that should've been made walking/biking (or not at all)? If so, I do agree that it's a good goal. But like grahamiam said, dropping...

      Is your point that we should discourage using the bus for a trip that should've been made walking/biking (or not at all)? If so, I do agree that it's a good goal. But like grahamiam said, dropping enforcement and billing complexities from the equation brings costs down as well. Not much compared to the cost of running the lines, but still some.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Peacekeeper
        Link Parent
        I think that they shouldn’t make any profit they should charge just enough to cover running costs of the service

        I think that they shouldn’t make any profit they should charge just enough to cover running costs of the service

        1. vegai
          Link Parent
          Wouldn't taxes do that more efficiently while giving a bit better service?

          Wouldn't taxes do that more efficiently while giving a bit better service?

          1 vote