Kansas City Becomes the First Major City in the US to Make Public Transport Free

Though it may be 7 hours behind Luxembourg, Kansas City in the US and this European country are synchronized in one area- from next year, the public transportation will be free of charge in both areas.

The biggest city in Missouri approved a plan to remove bus fares in 2020, which makes it the first major metropolis in the US to provide free public transportation.

Streetcar in Kansas City is already free.

Kansas City: First Major City that Doesn’t Charge for Public Transport

This city’s official costs for this program are around $9 million, which is approximately what their transit system brings yearly from the fares and monthly passes.

The city hopes that this will ease the getting around of the almost 500,000 residents and that improve the economic activity that will ultimately pay for the free passes.

According to Eric Bunch, a district councilman who co-sponsored this move together with the mayor, he believes that people have the right to move about this city.

Their bus system is used by around 44,000 passengers on a weekday, according to their budget from 2018.

Is a Free Public Transport a Good Idea?

This may not cause unwanted and dramatic change as only 1.2 percent of the city commutes via public transport.  

Many experts have applauded the city’s move to offer free bus passes and curb road congestion because it may help better the air quality, fight off climate change, and reduce income inequality.

Residents will be more likely to use the bus that comes every 15 minutes than one which comes every 60 or 120 minutes.

Majority of the bus lines in Kansas run every 30 to 60 minutes that may impede bus connections, claim some.

But, this doesn’t mean public transportation being free isn’t a good idea, especially for people who need it and use it the most- seniors, disabled individuals, people with low income, and students.

Even though it’s not a new idea to remove bus and other fares for transport, it’s a concept which hasn’t been yet activated. Most of the largest mass transit systems in the world rely on payments.

Around 30 years ago, the city of Austin, Texas temporarily removed the bus fares; however, this led to dramatic rates of graffiti, vandalism, and rowdiness.

Also, it caused higher vehicle maintenance and costs for security because of repairs from unruly passengers.

To help improve the riding, transit agencies have to make sure they have sufficient revenue to elevate the service and respond to new demand or run the risk of riders being set back by overcrowding and delays.

Sources:

VOX

CBS NEWS

CURBED

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