Several U.S. cities, including Trenton, Denver and Austin, have experimented with free public transportation, but their stints were short-lived.
According to a collaborative study by USDOT and Florida DOT, ridership increased dramatically in all three places, but vandalism and transit employee work satisfaction took a negative turn. The study also found that the new riders were not former drivers, removing the added benefit of reducing automobile traffic.
In Europe, several small cities in Estonia and France, of which the Estonian capital of Tallinn is the largest, offer free transportation to their residents without similar problems.
So what is different?
Would it make sense for a city like New York to introduce congestion pricing in order to discourage driving and subsidize free public transport, asks Jake Blumgart.