REPORT TO CONGRESS CONCERNING THE DEMONSTRATION OF FARE-FREE MASS TRANSPORTATION

This report provides information consistent with that required in Sections 204 and 205 of Title II of the National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974. It surveys briefly the current state of knowledg with regard to the benefits and costs of fare-free transit, and describes the essential elements of a demonstration program. Advocates of fare-free transit claim that it would improve the efficiency of the transportation system as a whole, would help transit systems (in particular) operate more efficiently, and would assist certain groups within the propulation. Others are skeptical about the ability of across-the-board fare subsidies alone to encourage people to forsake private automobiles in favor of public transit. They are also doubtful of the magnitude of potential transit system efficiency gains and the relative effectives of low fares in assisting certain population groups. Thus, the overriding objectives of publicly-funded demonstrations of transit fare abolition is to provide definitive answers about the costs and the efficacy of fare cuts in achieving their goals, such as increased ridership. This objective has two important implications. The first concerns the experimental content of a demonstration program. In particular, the programs should not be concerned solely with the feasibility of financing transit through means other than the farebox; they must address a much wider range of concerns, including such questions as: what is the patronage response to fare elimination, how does fare abolition impact on the transportation system as a whole (speed, congestion, emissions, fuel consumption, etc.), what groups of the population benefit from fare-free service and to what degree, and what are the impacts on local employment levels, on retail trade, and on local firms. The second implication is that experiments should be designed so as to test the concept under those circumstances in which it is thought to stand its greatest chance of success.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Urban Mass Transportation Administration

    400 7th Street, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Publication Date: 1975-7-21

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 30 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00127466
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Nov 18 1981 12:00AM