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'Fare Free Transit'? Will it work in the GTHA

What agency would make up the revenue shortfall needed to cover increased demand resulting from discounted fares?
 
Crazy idea. How is Toronto so special compared to transit in other cities around the world that fares have to be free? Fare by distance is the way to go and then capped at a certain amount like in London. When I went in 2014 it was capped at 6 and change pounds
 
Given present trends, Toronto is more likely to get transit-free fares than fare-free transit.
 
Well I haven't been on the forum for week but that's because I'm in wondrous Florence right now and soon on my way to Venice.........I'll give you my email address later so you know where to send the sympathy cards. I ws in Rome and it tells several tales of how to run transit.

Staying at my cousins he dropped me off everyday at the suburban rail station {read RER} and I took the train in which arrived every 4 minutes in rush hour and was grade separated so very fast and I then transferred onto to the Metro for free. Think of it as going from Oakville to Union and then the subway north to Bloor for just $2.25 {1.5 Euros}. Needless to say the trains were packed.

The issue was that although extremely affordable and very frequent service {every 2 minutes on the Metro}, I felt like I was riding on trains on-loan from Mumbai and the stations looked like they were built in 1920 and haven't seen a lick of work since then.....brought up memories of Welcome Back Kotter. Although the stations were relatively clean you still felt like you were in a bomb-shelter. That is the problem when you combine very low {or especially free} transit fares without an even larger corresponding increase in funding.............it's great for ridership but places incredible strain on the system and state-of-good-repair goes out the window as all funds have to be geared towards trying to move the increased ridership numbers.

I philosophically disagree with free transit but I do believe in affordable transit...........the TTC is a bit pricey but still somewhat reasonable while GO and the UPX are outrageously expensive which is why both systems have low ridership and are operating at a fraction of the capacity they could if people could afford them.

Like many things there is a "happy medium" and Rome has underfunded her system by having low fares that do not reflect the expenses and Toronto where high fares do not reflect the income demographics of the population it's trying to serve.
 
GO and the UPX are outrageously expensive which is why both systems have low ridership and are operating at a fraction of the capacity they could if people could afford them

Off peak I might agree sometimes, but have you ever been on a GO train, or at most GO stations, during rush hour service at any point? "Low ridership and operating at a fraction of capacity" is fairly amusing if referring to GO trains during peak--or at Union or Exhibition after a sports game or other major event. They should definitely drop fares for the handful of stations close to Union (looking at you, ~$5 fare Exhibition-Union!) but systemwide I think their fares are reasonable enough overall--and you certainly can't credibly claim their rush hour service is under capacity. Maybe also reduce off-peak fares somewhat once RER is running if there's excess capacity/too little demand--but that's a premature decision as RER won't exist for years.

As for the UPX, you have to be joking on that count. Have you ridden it since the absurdly low fare cut they did? The trains usually have their seats filled most of the day at least Bloor-Union and often enough for the whole route, and frequently have standees, sometimes quite a lot of them. UPX is operating well beyond its comfortable capacity as an airport service and needs a fare hike to about halfway between the current and original fares, plus all service should be run on 3-car trains.
 
The latest episode of the Freakonomics podcast is on this topic:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/freakonomics-radio/episode/513-should-public-transit-be-free-206089212

I'm for this concept but it has suffered from branding. Transit, of course, isn't free. The idea is to transition the remainder of the operational budget from a user-pay system to the tax-base. That model works quite well for roads. The efficiencies gained from doing away with fare collection, e.g. Presto, fare inspectors etc is not inconsequential.
 
Sorry (I think!) to awaken this thread but here is something about (almost) free transit in practice. http://www.cnn.com/travel/article/germany-9-euro-ticket-ending/index.html
Used that pass on both Hamburg and Frankfurt system with out any issues that is good for the month it was bought in. If we had done Berlin or x in the same month as well, that is a real saving compare what we paid for Italy 3 systems. You have to go to a special office to get the pass at the train station.

A number of systems in the US have moved to free transit this year.

Other than Amsterdam, never saw any fare enforcement on the other 8 system we used.
 
Transit is now free in all of Luxembourg.

From the different studies I have seen on both free transit system or just one some with particular routes being free, they actually don't really increase ridership significantly. They have found that most of the people taking advantage of it are on very short-trips.................they are just taking riders from people that would have either biked or walked.

Some US cities {ie Kansas City} are now experimenting with it but they can afford to because transit ridership is so incredibly low that fare revenue is so paltry that it doesn't really end up costing the city very much. In KC, fare revenue only makes up 10% of operational costs.

We do not need a flat free fare system and more importantly we shouldn't have one as they can become a curse on a busy system like Toronto's. I do however support targeted subsidies for low income people, seniors, disabled, students and even overall lower fares for the average person.
 
^^^ Not exactly.

When I said Luxembourg, I meant it. Not just the city of Luxembourg but the entire country now has free transit and it has a population of 640,000.
 
When I said Luxembourg, I meant it. Not just the city of Luxembourg but the entire country now has free transit and it has a population of 640,000.
"country"

Even in Ontario, GO services in non-urban areas are mostly subsidized. As are small towns like Brantford.

I'm all in favour of free transit - but in places where it's mostly subsidized already, it's not that much extra funding. In Toronto it would require funding to TTC to triple.
 
Used that pass on both Hamburg and Frankfurt system with out any issues that is good for the month it was bought in. If we had done Berlin or x in the same month as well, that is a real saving compare what we paid for Italy 3 systems. You have to go to a special office to get the pass at the train station.

A number of systems in the US have moved to free transit this year.

Other than Amsterdam, never saw any fare enforcement on the other 8 system we used.

You didn't have to go to a special office, you could buy the 9 ticket easily online. You never saw any fare enforcement because they basically made transit free for 3 months. The various transit systems were so overcapacity that it wouldn't be practical to do any fare enforcement. I've lived in Germany for many years and have never experienced so many delays here either with Regional Bahns and the ICE, the latter not even being included in the 9 ticket scheme. I'm sure the operating cost also rose exponentially too during this period.
 

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