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This research in 2018 supports the call that local and national Government, transport bodies and others should ensure that:
John Bibby of YBF attended a conference in May 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia on FFPT and fare-free buses. Transport for Quality of Life has published a paper on this idea.
For details about the Tallinn conference click here.
The advantage of free buses is that more people would use them, there would be fewer cars on the road, and bus routes that are currently unprofitable would become profitable.
Free buses are also easier to handle and much, much quicker to load and unload. Each passenger takes 5-10 seconds to pay. So on a bus carrying 40 passengers, everybody has waited 5 minutes or more while fares are collected. This can add 25% or more to travel time – a distinct disincentive to bus travel.
Buses with rear doors also become easier. Travel becomes more spontaneous and more pleasant.
These ideas were discussed at the conference in Tallinn.
Fare-free buses lead to increases in bus use – perhaps a doubling. But the roadspace freed up by the new bus users is soon filled up by more cars, so long-term congestion does not improve unless incentives are give to reduce car use. One idea proposed in Tallin by John Bibby of YBF is the notion of a “Car Freedom Incentive” (CFI). This would be an annual payment from the taxman to everybody who does NOT own a car. At the same time, fuel tax would be increased massively. If fuel tax were doubled, then the amount raised could pay about £6000 annually to everyone who does not own a car. The CFI would be relatively easy to police. It would redistribute towards the poor, and would result in a MASSIVE improvement of public transport as well as a reduction in car ownership and use. (Car manufacturers and petrol stations would hate it!)