“Those that fail to learn the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat them.”
– Attributed to Winston Churchill (and others)
Discussions of free public transport are often presented by the media and too often even in expert discussions as if it were a new concept that has no history. To make wise policy decisions we need to be aware of this history.
To this end, this broad historic overview and critical expert commentary on the international evolution of Fare Free Public Transport (FTP here) covering the last half century was prepared by Dr. Michel van Hulten (see below) and submitted as a working paper in support of the international conference organized in Tallinn under the title: “Free public transport for all. Dream or reality” In this working paper the author looks at the issues of the ‘why, how, when, where to pay for public transport’ (FFPT) – issues and questions that need to be at the heart of our discussions and in time our decisions and actions.
To get a better feel for this from the perspective of day to day reality when it comes to trying to get wherever you want to go during morning rush hour in Tallinn, let’s have a look at a report by two Estonian researchers, – by Helen Poltimäe and Mari Jüssi, under the title . . .
Factors Affecting Choice of Travel Mode in Tallinn
The program for the recent Tallinn international conference contains useful information and contacts for researchers, planners, policy makers and others wishing to understand the variety of approaches, projects and perceptions which make up this fast-growing and highly varied field of interest for cities and their citizens around the world.
Here is a list of cities around the world that currently providevarious forms of public transport for free. This resource is extremely useful for researchers, and for further information on any of the indicated cities all you have to do is click the name and a summary follows.
Stockholm’s professional fare dodgers
For almost two decades a Swedish group of campaigners have defied authority and flipped the passenger-operator power balance by banding together to avoid fares. Their unconventional brand of activism continues to stir feathers and attract stigma – but how does the group justify it?
Around the world, authorities, together with governments and campaign groups, are pushing for increased public transport usage. For their part, people comply, if often out of necessity rather than a personal preference for shared transit.
But in some cities, the price for public commuting is fast becoming prohibitively expensive for low-income citizens. This, together with the argument that more public transport ridership is better for the environment, is why a growing network of supporters are campaigning for free public transport as an intrinsic right of every citizen. Some have taken it one step further, by forming a group of ‘professional fare-dodgers’.
* From a nicely balanced, nicely illustrated article by Eva Gary published in Future Rail on 1 May 2018 at https://bit.ly/2IFdrV9. Thanks Future Rail. Creative Commons Non-commercial share alike
Planka.nu is a network of organizations in Sweden and Norway promoting tax-financed zero-fare public transport with chapters in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Skåne, Östergötland and Oslo. Planka.nu was founded in 2001 by the Swedish Anarcho-syndicalist Youth Federation in response to the increasingly expensive ticket prices in the public transport system in Stockholm. The campaign has received much attention because of the controversial methods used to promote free public transport: Planka.nu encourage people to fare-dodge in the public transport, aiding its members in paying penalty fares through the insurance fund p-kassan.
Here is some of their thinking on this subtle topic for transport planners, politicians and civil society.