Washington Dc is on the verge of joining cities like Boston, San Francisco and Denver in the zero fare movement. Already Kansas City ,Missouri back in 2019 had become the first City in the US to adopt to the zero fare movement for Americans.
Table of Contents
What is the Zero fare movement?
It is a movement which is designed to make public transport systems like railway and bus fare free for the public. The move is aimed to increase Public usage this systems which will help reduce Carbon emissions, pollutions , traffic commotions and promotes social equality as it has been made free for all sections of society. During the pandemic the movement was given special attention by the government as it was massively helpful for the Covid warriors to reach there work place.
How does it work?
The chief of staff to the mayor Mr Morgan said that they earlier spent nearly $2 -$3 million every year for collecting tickets. In Us they were spending more on the collection than the revenue they could earn. The revenue earned by the bus in Kansas City was only 8% of the total operating cost which was not feasible, said Richard Jarrold of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.
Alexandria and Richmond in Virginia have successfully integrated fare-free transit into their annual budgets.The zero fare bill would allocate $43 million annually to make the DC Metrobus free to riders, adding to a dozen 24/7 bus service lines.The Dc council is considering million subsidy program, providing city residents with $100 monthly credit to spend on the DC Metrorail.
How has it helped the public transport system?
Making public transport system especially bus free has helped It to get a new lease of life when the numbers of people availing public transport was reducing drastically after covid. It has helped people adapt to the system, which allows people to multitask by the time they reach there destination. With less traffic, the journey has also become smoother.
Reaction of people in America
It has received widespread support from people. Various social groups, think tanks have also termed the move a welcome step in reducing pollution from emission coming from vehicles.
For the Kansas City, zero-fare transit has become a hallmark of life. Matt Staub, a founding member of Kansas City’s fare-free streetcar and a marketing business owner, who used to spend between $60 to $70 on monthly bus passes said “It feels like much more of a community space and I think that’s because it’s something you can freely enter and exit,”
Kansas City had first experimented with zero-fare transit in 2016 with the launch of its streetcar, a two-mile fixed rail line in the city’s downtown where riders can hop on and off, free of charge. The city is investing $400 million to expand the streetcar route to more than six miles by 2025.
Opposition criticizes the move
MTA spokesperson Meghan Keegan said that until a new plan emerges for funding public transportation in New York that would allow the MTA to be less reliant on fare revenue, there is no way to consider eliminating a vital revenue stream.”Places with zero-fare success, like Virginia, are enduring a complex task that scales the system to a statewide level.There was a stiff opposition to the budget proposal in Republican-heavy Utah that would make the state’s transit system fare-free for a year by the state’s Republican House Majority Leader Mike Schultz. He said that the transit system was already subsidized enough and “nothing’s free,”
In Malta also the free public transport system helped to increase the number of people transport service by 59% which helps the country grow in terms of environment and sustainability. When an individual saves the amount that he/she would have spent on transport ,he indirectly returns it back to the government through taxes which are levied on goods/services availed by him.