Wednesday, March 24, 2010

17 reasons for fare-free transit

'Walking Culture' (Canada) looks at Dave Olsen's list of the benefits of free public transport.

From: (23 March 2010)

In an era of constantly increasing transit fares justified by the argument that riders must share the cost of public transportation, Dave Olsen makes the case that public transit should be fully paid through taxes. In an article that discusses how much the private car is subsidized, how ridership drops with every increase in fares, the impact of private vehicles on greenhouse gasses and the cost of fare administration, Olsen provides a list of benefits of free public transit.

“Fare-free transit brings many benefits, some of which include:

  1. a barrier-free transportation option to every member of the community (no more worries about exact change, expiring transfers, or embarrassment about how to pay)
  2. eliminating a “toll” from a mode of transportation that we as a society want to be used (transit is often the only way of getting around that charges a toll)
  3. reducing the inequity between the subsidies given to private motorized vehicle users and public transport users
  4. reducing, and in some cases eliminating, the need for private motorized vehicle parking
  5. reducing greenhouse gas emissions, other air pollutants, noise pollution (especially with electric trolleys), and run-off of toxic chemicals into fresh water supplies and ocean environments
  6. reducing overall consumption of oil and gasoline
  7. eliminating the perceived need to spend billions on roads and highways (now up to $7 billion for the proposed Gateway Project in Vancouver)
  8. eliminating the perceived need to spend billions on bigger car-carrying ferries ($2.5 billion for BC Ferries’ new super-sized boats and ramps)
  9. contributing significantly to the local economy by keeping our money in our communities
  10. reducing litter (in Vancouver, the newer transfers/receipts have overtaken fast food packaging for most common garbage found on our streets)
  11. saving trees by eliminating the need to print transfers and tickets
  12. allowing all bus doors to be used to load passengers, making service faster and more efficient
  13. allowing operators (drivers) to focus on driving safely
  14. giving operators more time to answer questions
  15. providing operators a safer work environment since fare disputes are eliminated
  16. eliminating fare evasion and the criminalization of transit-using citizens
  17. fostering more public pride in shared, community resources”

This article is definitely worth a read and bringing to the attention of our politicians and transit authorities. There are certainly some good points raised and the comments provided by readers are equally as illuminating.

For the entire article see

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