Posts Tagged: Free Public Transportation



Does Free Public Transportation Work? Sunday Morning Stats with Nick Chu

Does making public transportation free automatically cause a net benefit? Debate is split and seems highly contingent on cultural context. Image by flickr user Velobry.

A quick look at some of the things that make free public transportation work (or not):

Arguably, the most successful free public transportation initiatives in the world: Hasselt, Belgium

Year free public transportation was first implemented there: 1996

Cost per household to implement free transportation in Hasselt: 22.64 Euros ($32 USD)

Urban bus rides per year before free public transportation in Hasselt: 331,551

After free public transportation: 3,200,000

Percentage of bus users that are new bus users: 37%

Percentage that were former bus users: 63%

Percentage that were former car drivers: 16%

Highest percentage of revenue collected by a United States public transportation system going specifically towards fare collection costs: 22%

Typical farebox recovery rate in small US transit systems: <10%

Percentage increase in ridership with 100% decrease in fares: 30%

Cost of collecting fares from transit riders in New York City: $200 million

Percentage drop in transit ridership for every 10% increase in fares: 3.8%

Cost of collecting fares in Skagit Transit in Washington State: $133,385

Total fares collected on Skagit Transit: $121,300

Last large metropolitan city in North America to try free transit: Austin, Texas

Percentage ridership increase: 75%

Cost per rider in Austin, Texas prior to fare-free experiment: $2.51

Cost per rider during 15 months of fare-free: $1.51

Percentage increase in auto-users using free bus service: 0%

Number of physical assaults before fare-free: 44

After: 120

Percent of Austin transit drivers who petitioned to discontinue free transit program: 75%

Year discontinued: 1990

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