Louis Masonick, Week 14
Anything that’s free is good, right? In a world run by money where everything has monetary value, something that’s free is easily taken advantage of by everyone alike. Recently, Paris made public transportation free, but for a limited time. They also banned vehicles on the road to curb pollution. On some days even numbered license plates were banned and on the other days odd numbered license plates were banned. Cars that are caught disobeying the rule will be fined, but only a small amount. Because of the free public transport, Paris is losing $4.3 million dollars a day in revenue.
So, is this a good or bad thing? Surprisingly, many studies have already been done on giving citizens free public transport. In the 1970s, Rome tried making public transport free, but many Romans couldn’t be bothered and many assumed it was a trick. Several cities in the United States around the same time period tried as well, but only young people without many took the opportunity. In both cases, government revenue was lost.
It might be possible to make public transport free, but there needs to be steps taken before its successful. The problem with making public transport free as of now, is that it attracts the wrong crowd. It attracts those without money and criminals who vandalize. The key is to create transport that is attractive to those with money or those with cars. Public transport is only seen as a benefit when the user can get from one place to another either faster or cheaper than if they were driving a car. Not to mention that the government already subsidizes much of the public transportation system, making it already quite affordable. Pollution may be a problem, but the bigger problem is a loss of money.