This article reports on research about the effect on ridership of making transit free, and concludes that it isn’t always a good idea, and goes on to review other ways cities enhance and nourish their transit systems. A few tidbits:
In Dunkirk, population 100,000, ridership increased by 85% immediately after the introduction of fare-free transit. But in Tallinn, population 426,000, ridership has only increased by 3% in the five years since transit was made free….
Raising the cost of driving also has a tremendous effect on transit ridership. Public transit ridership went up by 18% in London after the city enacted a toll on drivers entering the center city. And across the US, the cost of parking in central business districts tracks well with transit ridership, suggesting more people are willing to take transit if the price of parking goes up. Read the article.
TransitCenter, Jan 28, 2019