free public transit

Free public transit in Canada might one day seem as common sense as free healthcare

The idea of hopping on the subway without paying a single nickel might seem surreal for most Canadians, but free public transit may soon be a reality.

Canadian cities are already calling for public transit to be free, and there's good reason for it; funding transit through taxation would make it more accessible for low-income groups, shaping a world where everyone has equal access to jobs and services.

Plus, free public transit would also massively cut down on carbon emissions — transportation produces about one-quarter of Canada's greenhouse gases, and Canada could drastically reduce this number by tempting Canadians to ditch their cars and take a greener option to work.

Free public transit may sound like a pipe dream, but it already exists in 151 different cities across the world.

In March 2020, Luxembourg will become the first country in the world to make all public transit free. By encouraging commuters to take transit to work, the European country will cut down on congestion and carbon emissions.

And it's not just Europe — Canadian cities including Calgary, Mont-TremblantSaint-Joseph-du-Lac and Winnipeg have also toyed with free transit systems, introducing zero-fare bus routes across each city.

But could free transit exist across Canada?

Well, put simply, yes. The NDP are already advocating for free public transit as part of their Green New Deal in 2019, and an Ontario liberal vying for leadership ran on a platform of free public transit. It's entirely possible that it could exist on a federal level.

If you think about it, Canadians already pay for a variety of other public services through taxes: police officers, fire-fighters, healthcare — so why not public transit?

Take the example of an elevator. As the authors of Free Public Transit: And why we don't pay to ride elevators point out, "the very notion of paying to use an elevator to get to the upper floors of a tall building is preposterous. Public transit services a similar function (but instead of horizontal movement, it's lateral)."

Canada is realizing that free public transit might not be such a ridiculous idea, after all — it could soon be a reality.

Lead photo by

Bernard Spragg

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