Economic case for free public transport


Sir, – Further to “Luxembourg set to make all public transport free in world-first” (World News, December 5th), and in joining the chorus on these pages (December 12th, 13th) calling for the introduction of free public transport for all here, it may be worth pointing out that charging at the point of use for public transport is effectively a regressive tax.

This is because the fare is based on consumption rather than means, and because in general, it is workers and the poor who rely more on public transport (particularly bus services).

Meanwhile, the value of property in areas served by public transport projects like Luas Cross City have soared.

So before the naysayers and the neoliberals ramp up their disingenuous demands to know “How will we pay for it?”, this windfall gain for property owners should be heavily taxed, and the revenue used to fund the public transport services that created it – for the benefit of the many commuters rather than the few property owners. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – Can I suggest that the recent movement suggesting free public transport does not go nearly far enough?

While gliding along in luxury at the taxpayers’ expense we could enjoy a free lunch washed down by some of our internationally acclaimed free water.

At the bus stop or train station we could hop into a free taxi and be deposited outside our free house, a human rights entitlement. On our free phone we could order a free meals on wheels and, while we endured the short delay, watch a free movie on our free television courtesy of our free licence and free electricity.

Just think of the enormous saving we could make by being free to shut down the national mint.

The only worry clouding this nirvana would be the growing realization that our Brezhnev-style supermarkets would be increasingly running out of free bread. – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.

A chara, – The idea is too sensible to ever catch on here. – Is mise,


Dublin 8.

A chara, – Public transport for all? Should the taxpayers in the northwest have our taxes put towards free public transport when we do not have a functioning, modern public transport service?

In addition we do not have greenways or cycle ways, we do not have safe footpaths for walking, and the standards of our road network are lacking in the extreme. Just in case you are not aware, we do not have a train service either.

Can we start with basic public transport services, please? – Is mise,


Dún na nGall.