Why (not) abolish fares? Exploring the global geography of fare‐free public transport

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20 Citaten (Scopus)


Although the policy of abolishing fares in public transport—here referred to as “fare-free public transport” (FFPT)—exists in nearly 100 localities worldwide, it has not been thor- oughly researched. To start filling this gap, I enhance the conceptual clarity about fare abo- lition. I start by providing a definition of FFPT, discussing its different forms, and introduc- ing a distinction between “partial” FFPT and—the main focus of the paper—“full” FFPT. Next, I distinguish three perspectives on full FFPT—first, approaches that assess fare abo- lition primarily against its economic impact; second, analyses that look at its contribution to “sustainable” development; third, more critical arguments highlighting its politically transformative and socially just potential. Against the background of this debate I offer the most comprehensive inventory of full FFPT programmes to date, and begin to chart and examine their global geography. As a result, FFPT emerges as a policy that takes diverse forms and exists in diverse locations. Supported and contested by diverse rationales, it can- not be analysed as transport instrument alone.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)2807-2835
Aantal pagina's29
Nummer van het tijdschrift6
StatusPublished - 1 dec 2020

Bibliografische nota

Funding Information:
This paper has benefitted from critical conversations with a great deal of fellow researchers and friends—none of whom, needless to say, bears any responsibility for the arguments presented above. I want to thank Mathieu Van Criekingen and David Bassens, my doctoral supervisors, for their relentless trust in my ability, and interest in my work. I am indebted to Kobe Boussauw, Frédéric Dobruszkes, Anna Plyushteva, Stijn Oosterlynck and Tim Schwanen, for the attention they gave to my work, and their generous comments and critiques. I am further grateful to my interviewees in diverse sites of fare abolition, for opening their doors to a young and over-inquisitive scholar. Last, but most certainly not least, I want to thank Laura Martinez Alonso—for her kindness, wisdom, patience, and for her help with transforming my text into maps.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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