Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/07/25/decriminalize-fare-evasion
Such fares should be 100 percent free. People need to be encouraged to take the buses and transit rather than personal motor vehicles.
It a fact that taxpayers already subsidize private automobile use via their taxes and roadway maintenance and the like is one of the highest costs in City budgets. There are other external costs to private automobile use likes increased air pollution, increased accidents, increased noise pollution all over and above those highway maintenance costs. There also things like policing.
A study in the EU found that over 400 BILLION Euros a year in costs are externalized by operators of private vehicles.
Free fare on mass transit (which can be limited by distance traveled) could very well save taxpayer money in the long run and lead to a cleaner environment. In Denmark there a tax of over 100 percent of an automobiles cost in order to operate a private motor vehicle. This has led to an increase is the use of bicycles and mass transit.
One problem with free fares is that too many people would use mass transit and get out of their cars. This would lead to less gas and car sales. Not good for capitalists. The other problem is that people would get the ideal that all public services should be free which would lead too many people to think that a socialist economy might work for most people. People might start thinking that having military bases in Okinawa and other remote places isn’t as good an idea as free social services. That just won’t stand in the greatest country of all time.