Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feb 10

Adam Butler & Free Public Transport

Adam Butler is an Australian blogger and advocate of Zero Fare Public Transport. Recently, Adam posted a column on his website called The Public Transport Bandwagon. It’s an excellent piece of writing with an interesting hook.
As Adam explains, the Victoria government in Australia has recently spent over $1 billion dollars on an automated ticketing system. The system will cost additional millions of dollars per year to operate.
As the transit system itself can only hope to generate less than a third of its revenue from the farebox, wouldn’t it make sense to simply eliminate fares entirely? Surely the savings realized from eliminating the cost and hassle of ticketing would more than offset the loss in fares.
A similar argument is made over at the Free Public Transit Blog.
Having just encountered this concept, I’ll admit I’m a bit skeptical. But I’m also intrigued. Very intrigued. I whole-heartedly concur that reducing fares is essential but feel that a Freemium model would be more appropriate than merely Free.
But who knows? A smallish city in Belgium seems to have adopted the free model, and they don’t seem to be turning back:

From the 'Gondola Project' website.

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