A Year for Fare-Free Transit

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2135 ... June 30, 2020

A Year for Fare-Free Transit

James Hutt

When I made the case last year for fare-free public transit in Ottawa, it seemed like a longshot. What a difference a year can make. Since then, we’ve seen mass-organized fare evasions, fare-free campaigns launched in major cities, and, last April, Victoria’s city council even passed a motion to make municipal transit free (although the BC NDP rejected the idea and spending the funds it would require).

Fare-free transit is an essential part of the solution to the combined crises of climate change and inequality. However, we can and should dream much bigger. A Green New Deal could provide the framework within which to demand the transit system we deserve: everything from nationalized electric-bus companies to the return of inter-city transit, to high-speed rail and, of course, free transit.

Fare-free transit in every city should be a cornerstone of a Green New Deal. We could point to how every dollar invested in transit returns three dollars in economic growth. But, frankly, mobility should simply be a... right. Fare-free transit would fundamentally transform our cities and the lives of the working class. When everyone has the ability to move throughout their city, to get to and from work, to visit family and friends, to go to classes or appointments, to get groceries, or to get to nearby parks — then we create a city where everyone has the chance to thrive (and organize!).

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