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10th Aug 2019

US city the same size as Dublin on the verge of making public transport free

Carl Kinsella

Free public transport

A great idea.

A US city roughly the same size as Dublin is on the verge of eliminating fares for public transport.

Jim Dabakis, a candidate for the mayoralty of Salt Lake City, is currently leading the polls – thanks in no small part to his promise to do away with fees for public transport. A recent poll by the Salt Lake City tribune found that residents of the city favour the idea by a ratio of three to one.

The move is designed to decrease carbon emissions by incentivising the public from using private cars. Dabakis has argued that the money lost from fares could be offset by money saved on improving public roads.

Salt Lake City, which is the capital and most populous city of Utah, has a total metropolitan population of 1.15 million people – compared to 1.35 million in Dublin.

The city has already trialled free transit days, a move which saw a footfall increase of 16% on those days.

Some European cities have already introduced free public transport, including the Estonian capital of Tallinn (although tourists still have to pay).

By comparison, a return full-length journey on Dublin’s Luas currently costs €4.80.

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