In a major attempt to drive the public towards using common transportation, the Kansas City Council has unanimously decided to practice the “Zero Fare Transit” proposal. This proposal makes all the bus routes in the city free for the public and Kansas City is the first major city to have free public transportation in the United States.
In 2016 the city launched the Streetcar and it has been free for the last 3 years. The success of the free streetcar has lead to this proposal about free public transportation for buses as well.
In Kansas City, a bus ticket would usually cost around $1.50 or you could opt for a $50 monthly pass. WDAF reports that scraping away the charges would now cost the city around $8 million.
Local officials are appreciative of the move as they see it as an excellent investment for the city. Making public transportation fare-free would not be any wasteful expenditure or a burden on taxpayers, they understand.
Eric Bunch, a City Councilman was the one to frame the plan and the City Manager developed and implemented the plan. Mr. Bunch is trying to focus on the low-income residents of the city and help them out since they rely heavily on public transportation. Bunch told KSHB that they want to improve the lives of the most vulnerable citizens and if an investment of $8 million can do that, they will surely be able to manage the amount.
Say goodbye to bus fares in Kansas City!
Public transit is a public good. This win for fare-free transit in KC proves that when people organize and stand together, we can ensure our public dollars go towards the *most* public good. https://t.co/pIKOzy62Pw
— Jobs to Move America (@JobsMoveAmerica) December 6, 2019
Most have warmly welcomed this new plan and even pointed out that it could, in the long run, bring more revenue for the city. But a few have been critical of the decision. The naysayers are expecting that they will have to pay higher taxes and see the move as rather short-sighted.
The supporters of this move for free transportation are claiming how it would go forward to strengthen the local economy and reduce the environmental impact of using private cars. They cite how climate change protesters and many others have been demanding increased investments in public transportation throughout the world.
The idea of free public transportation is becoming increasingly popular. This is especially true for cash-strapped urban places like Salt Lake City and Denver. They are openly floating this progressive idea for their upcoming city elections.
— Clevelanders for Public Transit (@CLEforTransit) December 6, 2019
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In other parts of the country like New York City and Portland, the authorities plan on spending more money to install cameras and hire transit police to keep the places safe for all and also to criminalize the ones who try to evade the transit fares.