"According to the GART association, which works to develop public transport in France, ticket sales cover only 25 percent of operating costs.
As a result, some 20 French cities have simply opted to make transport free... thus eradicating the cost of ticket checkers.
Since the large southern city of Aubagne did so four years ago, ridership on public transport has grown by 170 percent while car traffic has dropped 10 percent.
"Public transport should be free like libraries, swimming pools, health, education and everything that is built using taxpayer money," said philosopher Michel Onfray.
The idea has some fervent supporters. Playwright Jean-Louis Sagot-Duvauroux wrote online that free transport "abolishes fraud and checks"."