Thursday, April 28, 2011

Arguments for Free Public Transportation

By Jody Hanson, eHow contributor.

Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University. is a free practical advice & resource site.

updated: April 27, 2011

Arguments for Free Public Transportationthumbnail
Free public transportation takes the strain
off building more roads.

Free public transportation -- also known as zero-fare -- is not as radical an idea as it may initially seem. Public transportation is already heavily subsidized by tax dollars, so taking it one step further could have financial and social benefits. In 1995, Hasselt, a city of about 70,000 in Belgium, made its public transportation system free. The project was a success, as more passengers started using the service. The number of buses was increased and shuttles were added.

  1. Save Tax Dollars

    • When you calculate how many salary-hours go into handling money, selling tickets, chasing fare-evaders and cleaning up the litter from the tickets, the government may, in fact save money by making public transportation free. The bureaucracy involved in running a public transportation system is substantial, so stream-lining the operation would save money.

    Encourage Public Transportation

    • People tend to like services that are free. If people can see a benefit to taking the bus to work, rather than driving their cars, they may be willing to use public transportation even though their door-to-door time is slightly increased. When you weigh the costs of car operation and parking, free transportation becomes a viable option for those who want to save money.

    Reduce Pollution

    • The more people who use public transportation, the more pollution is reduced. This includes the fossil fuel consumption of cars, as well as noise pollution. Public transportation systems such as trams are particularly quiet and operate on electricity.

    Benefit Low-Income People

    • Even though public transportation costs less than running a car, it is still a large expense for those on a low or fixed income. Free public transportation would be a saving for people on welfare, students and minimum-wage earners. It would also encourage individuals to get rid of old, poorly maintained vehicles in favor of taking the free bus.

    Additional Benefits

    • Not having to spend time lining up to buy tickets would cut down on the time required to use public transport. Not printing tickets would save trees and cut back on litter. Being able to hop off and on public transportation makes it more appealing.


  • Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images;

No comments:

Post a Comment