U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
View Poll Results: Should public transportation be free?
Yes 21 20.19%
No 69 66.35%
That depends on what form of transportation 14 13.46%
Voters: 104. You may not vote on this poll

Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-13-2014, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
25 posts, read 25,842 times
Reputation: 17

Advertisements

Do you think public transportation should be free?

When answering, please back it up with some logic.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-13-2014, 11:00 PM
 
1,129 posts, read 1,526,329 times
Reputation: 1534
I'm inclined to say no. Free has a special meaning in the human brain and makes us make inefficient decisions, because we want to take advantage of free and we're terrible at quantifying the costs of our time and the like.

It encourages what's basically inefficient use of the system, using it for extremely short trips, people who don't value their time taking it on unnecessary trips all the way across the city, etc.

Even a small cost fixes that perception issue. And that's what I think local public transit largely should cost. $1-3 doesn't come close to 100% farebox recovery anywhere, but it keeps people using it intelligently. And ideally that cost is somewhat in-line with the incremental operating costs of rising ridership. That helps keep it from being as much of a fiscal target for politicians, IMO.

Commuter Rail I think should be a larger charge. Subsidizing people who chose to live far from work is not the same as providing the basic public service that local public transport provides, and other use of it is the same, a luxury as opposed to something done for basic daily needs.

Obviously, in the real world we wind up with lots of grey area. Someone living in Far Rockaway can ride out to the Bronx on a subway fare. A distance based system with a small minimum charge is probably ideal for encouraging appropriate use, but that winds up being a mess to calculate (as anyone who's visited DC can agree).

-------------------

If you're interested in how we think about "Free" and behaviors of ours in general, I'd suggest some of Dan Ariely's books for something readable yet informative. Predictably Irrational is the one that covers "Free" as one of it's topics.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-13-2014, 11:05 PM
 
24,503 posts, read 35,492,153 times
Reputation: 12835
No. And I say that as someone who takes the train to Wall St. on a regular basis.

Mass transportation has a huge barrier of entry and the profits just aren't there. In most cases, it's only something the public sector can take on due to the amount of funding required to build it out. However, that doesn't mean that public transportation should be subsidized by taxpayers. It should be run as a non-profit entity.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-13-2014, 11:05 PM
 
53 posts, read 46,606 times
Reputation: 53
I don't see the point, either we pay for it with fares and taxes like we do now, or we make it free and pay for it entirely with taxes. Either way it's the same price, we're just paying for it in different ways
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-13-2014, 11:09 PM
 
2,825 posts, read 3,358,359 times
Reputation: 3031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick21243 View Post
I don't see the point, either we pay for it with fares and taxes like we do now, or we make it free and pay for it entirely with taxes. Either way it's the same price, we're just paying for it in different ways
No it's not the same price nor the same "we".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-13-2014, 11:10 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,709 posts, read 74,719,468 times
Reputation: 48237
we live in a generation that has been taught to expect everything for free.
its a pity that it is fleeting.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-13-2014, 11:19 PM
 
15,603 posts, read 13,579,761 times
Reputation: 21426
No. In Miami we have the Metromover which is free, and the issue is the homeless people want to hop on it and sleep or hang out. Security has to boot them off when they catch them.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-13-2014, 11:20 PM
 
24,503 posts, read 35,492,153 times
Reputation: 12835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
we live in a generation that has been taught to expect everything for free.
its a pity that it is fleeting.
This is true. The baby boomers (and even younger folks born into the 1960s) lived in times where they were the government subsidized everything to the point where they were handed everything for free or cheap. And now they've just come to expect it. A pity indeed.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-14-2014, 12:54 AM
 
989 posts, read 1,505,238 times
Reputation: 928
Of course it should be free, because there's absolutely no cost to run the buses or trains. All the employees work voluntarily because they don't have to pay rent, and any maintenance or upkeep just magically happens with no expenditure. All the parts and supplies needed are just freely given by companies. The fares currently charged are 100% pure profit, so it's not as if giving away free rides is basically demanding others pay so you can have a free handout and ride at your leisure.

And we all scratch our heads, ask why the government is trillions of dollars in debt and on the cusp of insolvency...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-14-2014, 01:33 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,091 posts, read 16,121,723 times
Reputation: 12684
Quote:
Originally Posted by GBCommenter View Post
Of course it should be free, because there's absolutely no cost to run the buses or trains. All the employees work voluntarily because they don't have to pay rent, and any maintenance or upkeep just magically happens with no expenditure. All the parts and supplies needed are just freely given by companies. The fares currently charged are 100% pure profit, so it's not as if giving away free rides is basically demanding others pay so you can have a free handout and ride at your leisure.

And we all scratch our heads, ask why the government is trillions of dollars in debt and on the cusp of insolvency...
I did find your response amusing, but it's not that ridiculous really. Nationally, it's pretty close to free anyway. The taxpayer pays for 62% of the operating costs and over 95% of the capital costs of transit as is. If you excluded NY the operating cost number would be significantly higher.

http://www.apta.com/members/memberpr...20Database.pdf
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top