Public transportation for free Edit
In Surahammar, a town in the middle of Sweden where I grew up, public transportation is for free. Surahammar is rather small, only 10.000 inhabitants. There are only 5 bus lines, but they are all completely tax-paid. The local politicians found out that it would actually be more exprensive to buy a new ticket system for the busses, than to just skip the tickets. The result: an increase of bus-traveling, less car-driving, and more frequent bus-departures.
In Stockholm, a rather big town where i live now, public transportation is expencive. Especially, ofcourse, if one compares it with that of Surahammar. The result of this is environementally irresponsible cardriving and a problematic situation for those who cant afford their tickets but still have to travel.
The main reason for free public transportation is social justice. As well as schooling and health-care, the ability to move around freely is something that is a basic need for everyone, something that should not be dependent on your income. The result would hopefully be less segregation and more social interaction.
But why should I pay for the public transportation? Maybe someone with a car would argue, I do not use the subway, i never take the bus, and i only use the boat once a year to go to Djurgården and dine at Ulla Winblad. Nothing is for free, poor people still have to pay taxes to pay for the public transportation. Why should I, the car-owner, pay higher taxes? My children go to public schools and universities, but my children don’t take the subway, I drive them.
This remark takes us to my next argument: the environment. If the busses, a-trains and metros were for free, even people with cars would take them. Cars are dangerous for the environment, less car-driving and more bus-going is therefore good for the environment. Some people have to have cars, and these people have to pay for their cars. If public transportation was for free, these people could take their cars when they had to, but otherwise take the bus or the subway. People with cars should be encouraged to use public transporation, and the most effective way to do this is to make it free. I can give everyone the thee free choice of choosing between different kinds of toothpaste in the supermarket, but not to destroy the environment or dont share their wealth with the less fortunate.
If the public transportation was paid completely through taxes, it would get more money than it does today. All the people working with collecting tickets instead could work for a more secure and friendly public transportation environment. All the security-guards that hunt and hurt teenagers, poor and homeless people for not paying their tickets could be exchanged for people who make sure that everybody in the metro, bus or a-train has a pleasant trip.