The Argument In Favour Of Free Transit


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The debate concerning free transit has been a fierce one here in Ottawa with, so far at least, the conservative elements of council winning.

That said, a position exists for free transit:

Free bus rides have made life easier for Melvin Wilson, a 28-year-old Richmond, Va., resident who was on his way to his warehouse job on a recent morning. His only worry is that fares, which once ate up $60 or more of his monthly pay, might come back and go even higher, making it harder for him to afford to get to work.

“It could throw a lot of people like me out of their comfort zone. I think people would lose their jobs over this, especially if it happened too fast,” said Wilson, who was waiting with other riders at a downtown transfer station on a cold, sunny day earlier this month.

Richmond is one of the few cities where transit systems have regained pre-pandemic ridership, according to a Stateline analysis, and waiving fares has played a large part. A $4.5 million state grant from Virginia’s Transit Ridership Incentive Program has helped make the free rides possible.

To read the full story in Stateline, click here.


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3 Responses

  1. Kosmo says:

    Should the City of Ottawa implement free transit at this point would be an embarrassment to everybody involved. The system needs to be fix for proper usage to anybody that wants to use it.

    Let’s take our friend Melvin Wilson, a 28-year-old Richmond, Va., resident ( lucky for him he doesn’t live in Richmond On.) how long would he hold on to his warehouse job had he used Ottawa’s LRT system with continual lates cuz of bad service? Yes the system is over priced but let’s fix the real problem first.

  2. sisco farraro says:

    What are all the impacts of allowing OC Transpo riders to jump on buses gratis? The financial considerations seem to be a pro for riders, however, my friends Riff and Raff, a couple of ne’er do wells, could ride the bus all day long, bothering people using the transit system for legitimate purposes. If that were to happen I’m sure an abrupt halt would be called to free transit in the city.

  3. The Voter says:

    If the City were to offer its current transit services at their true value, there might be many months that they would owe money to the passengers rather than the other way around.

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