Apparently our local transit system is having some financial difficulties. The Mayor was on the radio today blaming fare-skippers for the problem, suggesting public shaming as an option. I heard one commentator suggest the solution was more transit cops to catch the ne’er-do-wells avoiding their fares. Paying for more enforcement just seems wrong to me.
We need transit right? It’s in our collective best interest to have a successful transit system. We’re not going to let the system fail. Why not then fund it from provincial taxes paid by Toronto residents and stop wasting money on inspectors hired to catch people who avoid paying. Why spend money on an expensive fare collection system? Let’s all simply pay for the system and convert it into zero-fare transit.
Would this work? I bet ridership would go up significantly, which might relieve some of the traffic pressure in Toronto, another issue our Mayor has been trying to get his brains around (back when I was working at Canada Post, he had police tagging and towing postal vehicles in the downtown during rush hour). I suppose drivers would object saying if they don’t use the system, they shouldn’t have to pay, and everybody screams anytime they have to pay more taxes, and people living on the edges of the GTA would moan and shout bloody murder.
I wonder if anybody has crunched the numbers on this? What would it cost each Torontonian to fund the system without ever collecting fares? Is there a reasonable way to go about this? I’ve read there are some cities in Europe who have adopted some version of a fare-free transit system.
For those of you who would like to beat me up about this idea, comments are free.