Ride for free: The case for free public transit
Belgium's free public transit is a how-to success story.
by Dave Olsen, The Tyee
Ten years ago the people of Hasselt, Belgium embarked upon a bold experiment: no more charging for bus rides. Ever since, they've been proving the idea can work wonderfully.
This city of 70,000 residents, with 300,000 commuters from the surrounding area, has made traveling by bus easy, affordable, and efficient. Now, people in Hasselt often speak of "their" bus system, and with good reason. The Boulevard Shuttle leaves you waiting for at most five minutes, the Central Shuttle has a 10 minute frequency, and system-wide you never have to wait more than a half an hour...
A prime lesson offered by Hasselt is the fact that they radically improved the bus system as well as their walking and cycling infrastructure before they removed the fare boxes. In 1996, there were only three bus routes with about 18,000 service hours/year. Today, there are 11 routes with more than 95,000 service hours/year...
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Links and sources
No Hassle Transit? Try Hasselt, by Dave Olsen, The Tyee, July 9 2007
Portal page to No Fares! series by The Tyee
Posted: August 18, 2009
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