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Public Transportation Should Be Free- Here's Why


Public Transportation Should Be Free In the United States- Here’s Why

Victoria Carroll

November 8, 2023

Public transportation is a substantial part of large cities and is relied on immensely by citizens. Public transportation like trains, buses, subways, etc. should be free. The benefits that would come from this would be effective and important to our communities. Some are skeptical of the idea because they are concerned with an increase in homelessness, and a decrease in quality.  While the backlash to this is valid, the positives outweigh the negatives. With the implementation of free public transit, citizens, the environment, the workforce, and the city as a whole would be affected. 


Global warming is becoming more concerning everyday, and UCLA has found 5 environmental benefits to sustainable transportation. Free public transit would promote the use of it, this would potentially mean less cars on the road. The UCLA article reports, “taking public transportation reduces CO2 emissions by 45%, decreasing pollutants in the atmosphere and improving air quality.” With the decrease in air pollutants this would lead to healthier communities, better air quality and the better health of the citizens, and it would offset the supply and demand for building roads and buying gas. The more cars being driven means more roads needing to be built, with the reduction of cars there would be less need for roads and more need for bike paths, parks, and ultimately this will allow nature to be left alone. 


Nothing is really free in our society, free public transit means charges and fares to citizens would be absent and instead covered by government funding. It's important to note, that free public transit would mean an increase in taxes significantly, this increase should be in effect for higher-class citizens. Within the lower class population, many already struggle to pay rent, buy groceries, and commute to work, it should not be their responsibility to fund a public system. Free public transit is completely realistic after government funding and an increase in taxes to the upper class. Along with better accessibility for the lower class, an increase in the use of public transit would mean a higher demand for workers. This would open up job opportunities for people with little to no education or those who cannot access an education. 


If public transportation became free, the government would also have to improve the quality and safety of both the vehicles and stations. In places such as Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and other major cities across the United States, the current state of buses, trains, subways, and other forms of transit are dangerous, dirty, and overall unsafe yet people often have no other choice but to use it because they rely on it to commute. It is not uncommon for women to be harassed or threatened while using public transit either, if the government were to fund the system they would need to put security cameras and guards around stations to improve safety. 


While free public transportation would be difficult to make happen, it is possible. In order to support the lower and working class, citizens must advocate and the government must begin to change for the better. This change would be radical, looking at the benefits, it only seems fit to provide free public transportation. 


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