I just published my observations on making transit fareless, from analysis of Portland's transit authority's budget: https://jamey.thesharps.us/2019/12/12/transit-fares-are-not-about-money/
For the rest of the afternoon I'm attending a meeting of the Oregon Global Warming Commission, where part of their current draft proposal for reducing transportation emissions is to make transit fareless across the state: https://www.keeporegoncool.org/meeting-calendar/2019/12/12/oregon-global-warming-commission-meeting-rescheduled-to-december-12
This is something which has been done elsewhere in this state and is now being considered here in Portland too: https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2019/12/11/27626868/trimet-board-members-say-theyre-considering-a-fareless-system
So this is an exciting time!
@jamey that's a great analysis of the budget and what it would take to fill those budget gaps. I've found this brief post useful in thinking about making transit free:
Their argument is that it can sometimes make a big difference in ridership, but also many low-income people would rather have more frequent service than free service, so you might also consider whether that increase of taxes could instead be used to add another train or two per hour.
@jamey and while I think that data is useful, maybe we shouldn't interpret it as an argument against making transit free, especially for cities like Portland (or my town of Durham, NC) with low farebox recovery rates. If there's political will to raise taxes to fund fare-free transit, great! If there's will to raise taxes to fund greater transit service, also great! But it's probably not a good idea to cut service hours (or forgo service hours expansion) to reduce fares.
@npd thanks for the link and your further commentary! I definitely agree that service levels need to be at least maintained, and preferably improved; and their observations that service improvements have a bigger impact on ridership are well-taken. naturally, I want it all 😅
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