Free Public Transport

Free Public Transport
Free Public Transport
The idea of free public transport is one that has raised many views by both the proponents
and opponents. Indeed, it is an enticing idea. Belgium tried out the system for some years, but it
was later abolished. It is always a good thing to check out both sides of the issue. With the
current trade of climate change and global warming, the proponents claim that free public
transport is critical in reducing greenhouse emissions in our cities. Expectedly, the opponents
will rebut the claim. This essay seeks to illustrate that public transportation should not be free for
all city residents.
Firstly, free public transport will bring about crowding in the cities, especially during the
peak hours. Often, with a system of fares, it is cheaper to travel during the off-peak time than the
peak. Individuals have an incentive to move during the off-peak times. Hence, those with
significant flexibility will prefer to travel during this period. However, with free public transport,
there is no incentive and crowding occurs at peak times the problem of congestion is barely
solved. Such trend is quite popular with free services. Consequently, fares can be used as a tool
to moderate demand and even control congestion in our cities (Prince, 2018).
Free transport is seen as a tool that brings equality. However, it does not produce fairness.
For some individuals, public transportation will hardly serve them well. Such include, high
profile individuals such as heads of major institutions, government officials, and even celebrities.
These individuals are taxpayers whose taxes are used by the government to fund the free public
transport program. They do contribute to the cost of service in which they barely use. That
results in the unequal distribution of resources (Prince, 2018). The costs of paying for public
transportation could be better spent elsewhere.
Moreover, free public transport is likely to bring about unemployment and limited growth
to some sectors of the economy (Cats, Susilo & Reimal, 2016). A good example is the car
manufacturing industry. Free transport means that people will not need personal vehicles as
much. Therefore, sales and revenues for the manufacturing companies will decrease. As a result,
the firms will be forced to lay off some of its employees. In some cases, firms may even be
forced to wind up and exit business (Cats, Susilo & Reimal, 2016). Investors in the public
transport may also be adversely affected by free public transportation. The amounts of revenues
collected from a system of fares are more than the prices the government decides to pay the
owners of public vehicles.
In conclusion, it is evident that free public transport has its limitations. Therefore, any
government ought to consider them before implementing a free public transport system. Making
public transportation free may be quite popular, but that would hardly bring any social impact or
a significant change. There is also the comfort of owning and driving a personal car. Very few
individuals would give up their cars for public transportation. Instead, of implementing free
public transit, the development of environmentally friendly cars that do not pollute the
environment is vital. The government should also develop world-class infrastructure that solves
the problem of congestion in the cities. Lastly, the parliament should create legislation that
protects the consumers of public transport from being exploited.
Cats, O., Susilo, Y., & Reimal, T. (2016). The prospects of fare-free public transport: evidence
from Tallinn. Transportation, 44(5), 1083-1104.
Prince, J. (2018). Free Public Transport. Montreal: Black Rose.

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