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11324Re: Fare-free public transit

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  • Gus Yates
    Apr 19, 2009
      Re. Fare-free transit

      Here in the San Francisco Bay area, BART (subway) riders were polled at one time to see if they would support eliminating fares. I have only heard this by word of mouth, so I can't direct you to supporting documents. But the story goes that the majority voted against it, apparently for a couple of reasons:

      1. If BART were free, homeless people might take to riding it all day just for warmth and entertainment. Homeless people are unpleasant to share a train car with (noise and smell).
      2. People tend not to value things that are free. Eliminating fares might attract more riders who like to slash seats, spill food, mark the walls, etc.

      The dollar cost of fare collection is certainly an unfortunate overhead. The time cost of fare collection is really only a problem on local buses, where the driver does the fare transaction. Subways, bus rapid transit and most light rail systems avoid delays by having the fare transaction occur before boarding.

      Gus Yates

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