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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Free public transport systems already exist internationally!

There are a large number of free bus services. Some of these are funded by private businesses (such as the merchants in a shopping mall) in the hope that doing so will increase sales or other revenue from increased foot traffic or ease of travel. Some, such as airport connectors, are funded by government agencies to ease bottlenecks or fill short gaps in the transport network, or as part of the services offered by a public facility. Employers often operate free shuttles as a benefit to their employees, or as part of a congestion mitigation agreement with a local government.

Some activists promote the idea that all the public transportation in a given city or community should be free. They claim that this would make the system more accessible and fair for low-income residents, and provide benefits such as decreased congestion, decreased air pollution from cars and related improvements in public health, fewer traffic accidents, easier parking, savings from reduced wear and tear on roads, and savings from not having to pay for fare collection equipment and personnel.

Examples of City Wide Free Transport
Examples of Limited Free Transport
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan — free bus services between University of Michigan campuses and student housing. UofM students are now also able to ride all routes of the AATA buses for free by showing their student card. While not "free for all" it is included in the package for students. Also, AATA runs a service called "the Link" which runs around the downtown and campus area and is currently free (for everyone) to ride.
  • Auckland, New Zealand — a free CBD loop service links the ferry terminus, railway station, universities, theatres, casino, galleries and shopping districts using hybrid electric buses.
  • Austin, Texas - free bus service (under citywide bus system Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority) is provided between the University of Texas campus and student housing, downtown trolley buses are free as well. Regular bus routes are free during "Ozone Action Days" to encourage more car owners to ride the bus and combat high levels of ozone pollution on a given day.
  • Brisbane, Australia has free bus trips around "The Loop" in the CBD on two routes mirroring each other, varying only because of Brisbane's one-way street grid.
  • Calgary, Canada - Free light rail transit within the downtown core.
  • Denver, Colorado — Free 16th Street Mall shuttle bus downtown; free transit for many public school students
  • Dordrecht — bus and ferry, some Saturdays at the end of each year
  • Gent — free night bus services (weekends only)
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia - free bus route around the downtown area
  • Huddersfield, England - Free Townbus daytime bus services in town centre
  • Leeds, England - Free Citybus daytime bus services in city centre
  • London, England - buses and trams are free for people under 16, and students aged 16 and 17. People 60 or over and eligible disabled folks ride the entire system for free.
  • Manchester, England — Free "Metroshuttle" daytime bus services in city centre
  • Melbourne in Australia has a free tram around the city center, and a free bus to popular tourist attractions. Both of these connect to other public transport. Free public transport is sometimes offered on major holidays such as Christmas and New Years Eve.
  • Noordwijk/OegstgeestLeiden Transferium — The Hague, express bus, running on weekdays during daytime, free of charge as a test during 2004; it was intended for commuters working in The Hague and living in Leiden or beyond who would otherwise travel by car to the Hague, to promote parking at the Transferium and continuing the journey by bus; the aim was to reduce road traffic congestion between Leiden and The Hague. The test was paid by the province of South Holland. It was discontinued in 2005.
  • Perth, Australia has free bus and train trips around the city centre (the "Free Transit Zone"), including three high-frequency Central Area Transit (CAT) bus routes. This is also in Fremantle and recently added in Joondalup.
  • Pittsburgh, PA Free "T" light rail service within downtown. Also, students at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh receive free rides with a school ID.
  • Portland, Oregon (the "Fareless Square"), Seattle, Washington (the "Ride Free Area") and Calgary, Alberta (the "7th Avenue Free Fare Zone") offer free public transit within their downtowns.
  • Renesse (mun. Schouwen-Duiveland), Netherlands — free bus services in the area (in summer only)
  • Seattle, Washington — Metro Transit buses are free from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Downtown Seattle.[4]
  • Sydney in Australia also offers occasional free public transport travel to and from events at particular times, notably New Years Eve celebrations in Sydney CBD, or to ANZAC War Memorial Services for veterans. The rationale is a mix of traffic reduction and cultural recognition.
  • Tarbes in France offers a year-long free shuttle bus around the city, linking the main spots.
  • Vienna in Austria - students under 19 can travel free on sundays and school holidays
  • Wakefield, England - Free Citybus daytime bus services in city centre
  • Washington, D.C.Congressional Subway — small free metro system
  • Zagreb, Croatia - buses and trams are free for university students
  • Community bicycle programs, providing free bicycle for short-term public use.
  • some ferries, such as the Staten Island Ferry, the Woolwich Ferry and the IJ ferries in Amsterdam, which are used as an alternative to bridges, which would have been very high in the port. These are free, just as a bridge would have been.
  • short-distance 'public transport' such as elevator, escalator, moving sidewalk (horizontal and inclined); these are often part of a larger public transport system or business (e.g. shop), of which the products and services are not free.

  • the ski/tourist resort town of Templin, Germany which has free public transport for all,
    *Invercargill, NZ which has free buses during off peak hours
    *Brussels, Belgium, which offers free public transport passes to students and senior citizens.
    *Los Angeles offers free public transport on 'Ozone Action Days" to reduce high smog/pollution levels.
    *Melbourne, Australia ran all their public transport fare-free for all Commonwealth Games ticket holders throughout the Games period last year, which had a great impact on reducing traffic congestion... The 'Melbourne Age' daily newspaper was so impressed that the have been promoting a campaign for fare-free public transport for all in Melbourne



At 3:21 PM, Blogger copykit said...

Have you seen I Am Seattle Traffic? We're trying to people to take personal responsibility for the congestion and traffic they've created in Seattle.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Blueskin Media said...

see also:

At 10:36 AM, Blogger socialscientist said...

Help us keep up the list:

send your additions to

Den Bosch, Netherlands will be added next month...

At 1:42 AM, Blogger petetow said...

It is alll well and good offering public transport but it has to work and reach places people need to be, with companies offering discounts like Virgin Cheap Flights it is hard to keep people away from these, the planes cause pollution but increasing public transport will add to the problem, technology needs to finds ways to reduce these emmissions and noise and there are ways, the problem is that while goverments are swayed by big business and companies they will not take the appropiate steps to help.

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