Opinion: Public Transit Should Be Free In Texas

Matt Lillywhite

Amid high inflation, many Texans are worried about the rising cost of living. "Consumers who are struggling to afford their day-to-day lifestyle tend to rely more on credit cards and carry higher monthly balances making them financially vulnerable," according to a survey published by CNBC.

It's no secret that the cost of public transit is a major expense for many households in Texas. A regional public transit pass in Dallas, for example, is $192 for 31 days. And since a single ride can cost several dollars, just getting from one side of the Dallas Metro Area to the other can be financially stressful for those living paycheck to paycheck.

Some people might say, "paying for public transit is a natural part of life. Everyone does it." That's no longer true anymore. Several countries and cities around the world have already introduced free public transportation to help riders get from A to B without worrying about the cost. And, of course, public transit is often more environmentally friendly than driving a car. Quoting an article published by Vox:

"Activists are positioning public transit as the panacea to reduce carbon output and car congestion, and systems can theoretically be more equitable and efficient without fares since buses won't have to stop as long to collect them."

Luxembourg became the world's first country to make all public transportation (buses, trams, and trains) free of charge in 2020. And later this year, Malta will become the second country in the world to make its public transport system free for all residents. In Europe, more countries are following the positive example set by Luxembourg and Malta. For example, Germany, one of the largest economies in Europe, is considering making a large amount of public transit fare-free.

It's worth mentioning that some American cities already have free public transportation (even if it's to a limited extent). For example, RideKC buses in Kansas City, Missouri, are fare-free until 2023. So, free transit in some Texan cities isn't necessarily a farfetched idea.

What do you think? Should Texas introduce free public transportation? Leave a comment with your thoughts. And if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media.

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Matt Lillywhite covers politics, the economy, and kitchen-table issues that matter.


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