Everyone’s talking about free transit these days. We’re in a climate emergency and getting people to use public transit is a good way to reduce our impact on the environment.
During the recent provincial election, all parties made promises about public transit – the PCs said that they would give $75 million to restore the Northlander passenger-rail system in northern Ontario. All the parties promised to invest in transit reliability and integrated transit fares in the GTA.
Here is an article about cities that offer free fare for all or some of their riders. Kirstin Pulles of Free Transit Ottawa is quoted.
The mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu has said, “free public transportation is the single biggest step we could take toward economic mobility, racial equity, and climate justice.”
Here is an article where she explains her argument.
Here is an article about the movement towards free transit in Ottawa. Laura Shantz, a board member of Ottawa Transit Riders and a candidate for Rideau-Vanier is quoted in this article.
Free Transit Ottawa has proposed making transit free for specific groups of people – they have a petition on their website advocating for free transit for people who receive Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program. Click here to sign the petition.
The amalgamated transit union (ATU) posted a well considered argument on their website in 2020.
Here’s an article about what cities have learned from experimenting with free transit.