Does free public transport make a difference?
As politicians gear up for election promises, here’s one to listen for, a favourite across the political spectrum but especially the left.
So does free = more ridership? The answer: yes, sometimes, but not always.
Last month Auckland celebrated 100 million trips on its public transport with a free-fare day. It was extremely popular, with 65% more people on foot in the city centre than normally.
In Wellington, longtime public transport money-monitor Tony Randle got coverage of his contention that Wellington city residents subsidise other regional residents’ public transport.
Nationwide, there’s a review of Public Transport Operating Model, which obliges public transport to operate under certain commercial conditions such as taking a certain amount in fees.
So it’s a good time to ask:
Does making public transport free actually make a difference – i.e. get more people using it?
Here’s a good explanation – even if you’re not on Twitter you can see it, so click the embedded tweet below. This thread has really interesting highlights of the results from making public transport free, like mobility for the old and the young. But if you’re wanting to get people currently driving to choose PT instead, free ain’t enough.
- What’s up with PTOM? useful from Greater Auckland
- PTOM and procurement as one of eight core problems found in the (three-week exercise) review of the Wellington Bustastrophe
Image credit: Rob Kitchin / Stuff.co.nz