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Could be more expensive the transport for free?

September 8, 2016

A group of friends have asked me why I do not think it is appropriate that public passenger transport must be totally free, as it was promised for Bucharest. Perhaps that problem will be developed in a study, which will publicly debate the pros and cons and the respective implications. Until then, I offered to my buddies just a few reasons that do not require large demonstrations in a first approach:

  • First, there is no perpetuum mobile, which means that someone has to pay for public transport to make it to work. If transportation is free, this “someone” is anonymous and will therefore have as consequences the increasing of inefficiency and degradation of the quality of public transport.
  • It violates the principle of “the user pays” which otherwise would customize one who pays and claims efficiency and quality.
  • Stimulates presence in public transport systems (vehicles, stations) of an increased number of individuals in the categories for which the fare would have been a barrier to discourage access: beggars, hawkers, pickpockets, punks and other outlaw individuals.
  • Increases the agglomeration in public transport vehicles for the reasons listed and because there would be also some who, paraphrasing Caragiale, “working or not, I ride the tram all day.”
  • Due to increased congestion, normal travelers are oriented to personal vehicles, which increases congestion in the urban public transport networks.
  • Increased congestion in urban networks increases the risks of events in circulation, including serious ones.
  • Thanks to a new configurations of passengers in transport systems will increase cases of vandalism and uncivilized behavior with destructive effects on the assets, but will also contribute to the leaving of passengers who have a real need for public transport services.
  • Employees of public transport operators will have a sense of frustration in the belief (false) that they work for free.
  • There will be new public market policy issues: market access for operators from outside the city, sizing the market supply, quality standards, etc.
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