This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Free public transport" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In 2020, Luxembourg became the first country to provide free public transport across its entire territory.[1]

Free public transport, often called fare-free public transit or zero-fare public transport, is public transport which is fully funded by means other than collecting fares from passengers. It may be funded by national, regional or local government through taxation, or by commercial sponsorship by businesses. Alternatively, the concept of "free-ness" may take other forms, such as no-fare access via a card which may or may not be paid for in its entirety by the user.

On 29 February 2020, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to make all public transport in the country (buses, trams, and trains) free to use.[2][3][4][5] On 1 October 2022, Malta became the second country in the world to make its public transport system free for all residents.[6] These are both small countries, so long distance transport is not involved.[By the way, does the Malta scheme include inter-island ferries, which are not mentioned in the list of transport modes above?]

As some transit lines intended to operate with fares initially start service, the organisation may elect not to collect fares for an introductory period to create interest or to test operations.


City-wide systems

Tallinn, capital city of Estonia with more than 420,000 inhabitants, as well as several mid-size European cities and many smaller towns around the world have converted their public transportation networks to zero-fare. The city of Hasselt in Belgium is a notable example: fares were abolished in 1997 and ridership was as much as "13 times higher" by 2006.[7]

See list below.

Local services

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Local zero-fare shuttles or inner-city loops are far more common than citywide systems. They often use buses or trams. These may be set up by a city government to ease bottlenecks or fill short gaps in the transport network.

See List of free public transport routes for a list of zero-fare routes within wider (fare-paying) networks

Zero-fare transport is often operated as part of the services offered within a public facility, such as a hospital or university campus shuttle or an airport inter-terminal shuttle.

Some zero-fare services may be built to avoid the need for large transport construction. Port cities where shipping would require very high bridges might provide zero-fare ferries instead. These are free at the point of use, just as the use of a bridge might have been. Machinery installed within a building or shopping centre can be seen as 'zero-fare transport': elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks are often provided by property owners and funded through the sales of goods and services. Community bicycle programs, providing free bicycles for short-term public use could be thought of as zero-fare transport.

A common example of zero-fare transport is student transport, where students travelling to or from school do not need to pay. A notable example is the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, which provides much of the funding to operate the Stevens Point Transit system. All students at the university can use any of the four citywide campus routes and the other four bus routes throughout the city free of charge. The university also funds two late night bus routes to serve the downtown free of charge with a goal of cutting down drunk driving. The University of Nottingham offers free Hopper Bus between its University Park and Jubilee, Sutton Bonington and Royal Derby Hospital campuses, where no other bus companies operate direct routes between. However, this service requires passengers to tap their university ID to board, meaning that members of the public cannot ride on these buses.

In some regions transport is free because the revenues are lower that expenses from fare collection is already partially paid by government or company or service (for example BMO railway road in Moscow, most part of is used to as service transport and officially pick up passengers).[clarification needed]

Many large amusement parks will have trams servicing large parking lots or distant areas. Disneyland in Anaheim, California, runs a tram from its entrance, across the parking lot, and across the street to its hotel as well as the bus stop for Orange County and Los Angeles local transit buses. Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, provides tram service throughout its parking lot.

In July 2017, Dubai announced it would offer free bus services for a short period of time on selected days.[8]

Emergency relief

During natural disasters, pandemics, and other area-wide emergencies, some transit agencies offer zero-fare transport.

Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit commuter rail temporarily offered free service for those needing transportation alternatives during the 2017 Tubbs Fire and 2019 Kincade Fire.[9][10]

Some agencies, including the Central Ohio Transit Authority and King County Metro, offer free public transport during snow emergencies to reduce the number of vehicles on the street.[11][12]

COVID-19 pandemic

See also: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public transport

During the COVID-19 pandemic, several agencies paused the collection of fares to alleviate concerns that the virus could be transmitted on surfaces, to keep travelers from coming into close contact with employees, or to allow rear door boarding on their vehicles. These agencies are mostly located in smaller cities where the farebox recovery ratio is low as they could afford to implement this policy without a major hit to revenue.[13]


Operational benefits

Transport operators can benefit from faster boarding and shorter dwell times, allowing faster timetabling of services. Although some of these benefits can be achieved in other ways, such as off-vehicle ticket sales and modern types of electronic fare collection, zero-fare transport avoids equipment and personnel costs.

Passenger aggression may be reduced. In 2008 bus drivers of Société des Transports Automobiles (STA) in Essonne held strikes demanding zero-fare transport for this reason. They claim that 90% of the aggression is related to refusal to pay the fare.[14]

Commercial benefits

Some zero-fare transport services are funded by private businesses, such as the merchants in a shopping mall, in the hope that doing so will increase sales or other revenue from increased foot traffic or ease of travel. Employers often operate free shuttles as a benefit to their employees, or as part of a congestion mitigation agreement with a local government.

Community benefits

Zero-fare transport can make the system more accessible and fair for low-income residents. Other benefits are the same as those attributed to public transport generally:

Global benefits

Global benefits of zero-fare transport are also the same as those attributed to public transport generally. If use of personal cars is discouraged, zero-fare public transport could mitigate the problems of global warming and oil depletion.


The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (February 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Several large U.S. municipalities have attempted zero-fare systems, but many of these implementations have been judged unsuccessful by policy makers. A 2002 National Center for Transportation Research report suggests that, while transit ridership does tend to increase, there are also some disadvantages:[15]

This U.S. report suggests that, while ridership does increase overall, the goal of enticing drivers to take transit instead of driving is not necessarily met: because fare-free systems tend to attract a certain number of "problem riders", zero-fare systems may have the unintended effect of convincing some 'premium' riders to go back to driving their cars. It should be kept in mind that this was a study that only looked at U.S. cities, and the author's conclusions may be less applicable in other countries that have better social safety nets and less crime than the large U.S. cities studied.[15]

Countries with area-wide zero-fare transport

List of towns and cities with area-wide zero-fare transport

Further information: List of free public transport routes




Brazil Brazil

Canada Canada

United States United States

See also: Free public transport in Massachusetts

Perception and analysis

Fare-free transit has been repeatedly demonstrated to increase ridership—especially during non-peak travel periods—and customer satisfaction.[87] Several analyses[88][89][90] have shown ridership increased by as much as 15% overall and about 45% during the off-peak periods. The effects on public transport operators included schedule adherence problems because of the increased ridership and more complaints about rowdiness from younger passengers, though obviously there were no more direct conflicts with passengers regarding fare collection.[88] When the University of California, Los Angeles covered fares for the university community, ridership increased by 56% in the first year and solo driving fell by 20%[90] (though one older study showed no measurable impact on automobile use).[89]

In the United States, mass transit systems that collect fares are only expected to generate about 10% of the annual revenue themselves, with the remainder covered by either public or private investment and advertisements.[81] Therefore, politicians and social-justice advocacy groups, such as the Swedish network, see zero-fare public transport as a low-cost, high-impact approach to reducing economic inequality.[91] It has also been argued that transportation to and from work is essential to the employer in the managing of work hours, so financing of public transportation should fall to employers rather than private individuals or public funds.[92]

See also


  1. ^ "Luxembourg becomes first country with free public transport". France 24. Luxembourg. 29 February 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Luxembourg makes public transport free". Deutsche Welle (DW). 29 February 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  3. ^ Kirby, Paul (29 February 2020). "Free transport in Luxembourg, but what's the cost?". BBC News. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  4. ^ Abnett, Kate (29 February 2020). "Luxembourg becomes first country to make public transport free". Reuters. Luxembourg. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  5. ^ Calder, Simon (29 February 2020). "'Like the first step on the moon': Luxembourg makes history as first country with free public transport". The Independent. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Live blog: Budget 2022 as it happens". Times of Malta. 11 October 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  7. ^ '10 jaar gratis openbaar vervoer' (tr. 10 years of free public transport) Archived 2008-10-20 at the Wayback Machine (in Dutch) on the city's official website
  8. ^ Staff Report. "Dubai RTA launches free bus service to cover partial metro closure".
  9. ^ Houston, Will (30 October 2019). "SMART offers free rides as full service returns". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Smart Train Service Running On Limited Schedule Wednesday Through Nov. 6". SFGate. Bay City News Service. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  11. ^ "COTA suspends fares amid Level 2 Snow Emergency in Franklin County". 16 February 2021. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  12. ^ Gutman, David (28 April 2019). "You can ride King County Metro buses for free during the next snow emergency". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Is Free Transit Safer? As Ridership Drops, Some Agencies Cut Fares". 19 March 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  14. ^ – Franse chauffeurs voor gratis buskaartje (in Dutch) (tr. French drivers for free bus ticket)
  15. ^ a b Perone, Jennifer S. (October 2002). "Advantages and Disadvantages of Fare-Free Transit Policy". NCTR Report Number: NCTR-473-133, BC137-38. CiteSeerX
  16. ^ "Getting Around in Luxembourg City". Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  17. ^ "Luxembourg to become first country in world to make public transport free". The Independent. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  18. ^ "Free public transport in Estonia". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Estonia to Become the World's First Free Public Transport Nation". Pop-Up City. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  20. ^ Diamond, Claire (31 January 2022). "Free bus travel for under-22s in Scotland begins". BBC News. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  21. ^ "Over-60s to keep free bus pass privileges in Scotland". The Scotsman. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  22. ^ "Information on other concessionary travel and discounted schemes".
  23. ^ "Elevii din România vor avea transport gratuit" [Students from Romania will have free transport]. (in Romanian). Romania: Ministerul Educației Naționale. 29 May 2020. Retrieved 22 December 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "Student Travel Product (Student OV) | NS". Dutch Railways. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  25. ^ "Studentenreisproduct". Dienst uitvoering onderwij (in Dutch). Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  26. ^ Lot : les bus de Cahors deviennent gratuits (tr. Lot: Cahors buses become free). By Stéphanie Bousquet. 5 Nov 2019. By France 3 Occitanie.
  27. ^ "Народные маршруты автобусов (бесплатный проезд) – Транспорт города Воронежа. Маршруты, Расписания. Авто, Метро, Трамвай, Троллейбус, Автобусы, Поезда, Авиатранспорт, Водный транспорт, Такси, Пробки, Форумы. Объявления. Предприятия" [Popular bus routes (free travel) - Transport of the city of Voronezh. Routes, Schedules. Auto, Metro, Tram, Trolleybus, Buses, Trains, Air transport, Water transport, Taxi, Traffic jams, Forums. Ads. Enterprises].
  28. ^ "Миасс" [Miass] (in Russian). Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  29. ^ (Manises) municipal website (in Spanish) retrieved 2009-05-08
  30. ^ "Tarjeta de Movilidad para uso gratuito del servicio de autobús urbano".
  31. ^ Avesta, Sweden retrieved 2016-06-17
  32. ^ Kiruna municipality website Archived 2013-01-10 at the Wayback Machine (in Swedish) retrieved 2012-07-09
  33. ^ – Premiera in Romania: Municipiul Lugoj va avea transport in comun gratuit (tr. Premiere in Romania: Lugoj will have free public transport),
  34. ^ "Transport public GRATUIT pentru ploieşteni, până în 2015" [FREE public transport for Ploiesti residents, until 2015]. 12 March 2014.
  35. ^ " municipality-transportation". Archived from the original on 19 July 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  36. ^ "City bus – Free of charge". Archived from the original on 4 June 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  37. ^ "Tallinlase tasuta sõit Elron rongides" [Free Tallinn ride on Elron trains] (in Estonian). Tallinn City Government. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  38. ^ "Türi linna tasuta bussiliin" [Free bus line to Türi]. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  39. ^ a.s., "Cestovný poriadok MHD Senec platný od 15.12.2019 – Informačný portál mesta Senec" [Public transport timetable Senec valid from 15.12.2019 - Information portal of Senec].
  40. ^ "Aubagne aura le premier tramway au monde entièrement gratuit!" [Aubagne will have the world's first tram completely free!]. 6 July 2011.
  41. ^ municipal website, mairie-compiegne Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 2009-05-07 (in French)
  42. ^ Bliss, Laura (20 December 2017). "The French City That Shocked Citizens By Making Transit Free". Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  43. ^ Boyer King, Emilie (9 November 2017). "Want a free ride? French cities opt for free public transport – France 24". France 24. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  44. ^ Tartaglia, Andrea (5 October 2018). "Metro e bus gratis per gli studenti dell'Università di Catania" [Free metro and bus for students of the University of Catania]. Mobilita Catania.
  45. ^ Smogový regulační systém(tr. Smog control system), ENVIS Praha/
  46. ^ Tarif PID Archived 2010-03-09 at the Wayback Machine, XIV., 3.
  47. ^ Viktor Chrást: Valašské Meziříčí chystá MHD zdarma, zaplatí ji pokuty za rychlou jízdu (tr. Valašské Meziříčí is preparing free public transport, it will pay fines for fast driving),, 2017-04-19
  48. ^ Ve Valašském Meziříčí bude městská hromadná doprava zdarma a pro všechny (tr.In Valašské Meziříčí, public transport will be free and for everyone), Valašské Meziříčí, 2017-04-13
  49. ^ Alena Šrámková: MHD zadarmo! Od nového roku (tr. Free public transport! Since the new year), Strakonický deník, 2017-11-19
  50. ^ Radek Štěpánek: Strakonice mají MHD zdarma pro všechny. Je to populismus, říká opozice (tr.Strakonice has free public transport for everyone. It's populism, the opposition says),, 12. 1. 2018
  51. ^ Pavel Křivohlavý: Lovosice zavedly MHD zdarma, chtějí tím snížit počet aut ve městě (tr. Lovosice has introduced free public transport, so they want to reduce the number of cars in the city),, 2018-01-29
  52. ^ Litoměřice budou mít MHD zdarma, stejně jako sousední Lovosice (tr. Litoměřice will have free public transport, as will neighboring Lovosice),, 2. 3. 2018
  53. ^ Změny linek ČSAD Benešov, a.s. (tr. Changes to ČSAD Benešov, a.s.), projekt Zastávka/
  54. ^ "Tórshavn City Bus Routes – Tórshavnar kommuna".
  55. ^ "Jagodina free public transport".
  56. ^ "В Кривом Роге проезд в коммунальном транспорте сделал бесплатным для всех". Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  57. ^ a b "Maçoğlu'ndan 'ücretsiz ulaşım' açıklaması: Kâr-zarar hesabı yapılmaz, halkın parası bu" (in Turkish). soL. 6 April 2022. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  58. ^ a b c "Transporte público grátis já existe em cidades brasileiras" [Free public transport already exists in Brazilian cities]. Envolverde. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  59. ^ a b c "Transporte gratuito é realidade em cidades brasileiras" [Free transportation is a reality in Brazilian cities]. A Tarde. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  60. ^ a b "Tarifa zero é possível: conheça cidades que têm transporte público gratuito" [Zero rate is possible: meet cities that have free public transport]. Brasil Metrópole. Archived from the original on 23 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  61. ^ "Prefeitura de Potirendaba garante circular gratuita para população" [Potirendaba Prefecture guarantees free circulation for the population]. Prefeitura de Potirendaba. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  62. ^ "Moura Júnior anuncia tarifa zero no transporte público de Paulínia, SP" [Moura Júnior announces zero fare on public transport in Paulínia, SP]. G1. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  63. ^ "Fim do monopólio: transporte público é gratuito em Maricá" [End of the monopoly: public transport is free in Maricá]. Prefeitura de Maricá. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  64. ^ "Tarifa zero: transporte público é de graça em Muzambinho, MG" [Zero rate: public transport is free in Muzambinho, MG]. G1. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  65. ^ ""Tarifa zero" é realidade em alguns municípios pequenos do Brasil" ["Zero tariff" is a reality in some small municipalities in Brazil]. Gazeta do Povo. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  66. ^ "Transporte de tarifa zero completa um ano e meio de existência" [Transportation of zero fare complete one and a half year of existence]. Prefeitura de Silva Jardim. Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  67. ^ Landin, Lucas (2022). Tarifa Zero: La financiación del transporte público gratuito en el Municipio de Vargem Grande Paulista, Brasil (MPP). University of Chile.
  68. ^ Ville de Mont Tremblant. "Ville de Mont Tremblant".
  69. ^ "Gratuité pour les aînés: Déjà cinq ans". 25 May 2019.
  70. ^ Cold Lake Transit (31 January 2022). "Cold Lake Transit".
  71. ^ Town of Canmore. "Paid Parking and Fare Free Transit".
  72. ^ "DASH to Launch New Bus Network, Go Fare-Free on Sept. 5". Alexandria Transit Company. Archived from the original on 16 August 2021. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  73. ^ "ACC Commissioners approve large, ambitious budget". Athens Politics Nerd. 15 June 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  74. ^ " - Microsoft Word - AppalCART Overview110125.doc - overview02-01-11.pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  75. ^ "Transportation Services". City of Commerce, California (municipal web site). Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  76. ^ "Corvallis Transit System drops bus fares". Corvallis Gazette-Times. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  77. ^ "RTA Launches The Flyer – A Free Shuttle Bus Service Downtown",, 18 October 2018, retrieved 19 November 2021
  78. ^ "Central Transit",, retrieved 23 November 2018
  79. ^ "CUE Zero-Fare Pilot". City of Fairfax, VA. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  80. ^ "About | RideTransfort". RideTransfort. City of Fort Collins, CO. Retrieved 4 March 2023.
  81. ^ a b "Americans spend over 15% of their budgets on transportation costs—these US cities are trying to make it free". CNBC. Online. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  82. ^ "Regional Public Transportation",, retrieved 23 November 2018
  83. ^ Move by Olympia, Washington to Create 'Zero Fare' Public Transit Called a 'Beautiful Thing Accessed 9 January 2021
  84. ^ "UVX Service Starts August 13". RideUTA. Online. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  85. ^ Dinman, Emry (13 June 2022). "Walla Walla's Valley Transit eliminates most fares for riders until 2026". Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  86. ^ "Ride Bee-Line for Free this Summer".
  87. ^ D'Alessandro, Antonio. "Fare-Free Transit – A Strategy for Sustainable Transportation" (PDF). Gouvernement du Québec. Government of Quebec. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  88. ^ a b A.H.Studenmund; David Connor (July 1982). "The free-fare transit experiments". Transportation Research Part A: General. 16 (4): 261–269. doi:10.1016/0191-2607(82)90053-X.
  89. ^ a b L.B. Doxsey; B.D. Spear (1981). "Free-Fare Transit: Some Empirical Findings". Transportation Research Record (799): 47–49. ISBN 9780309032131.
  90. ^ a b Jeffrey Brown; Daniel Baldwin Hess; Donald Shoup (September 2003). "Fare-Free Public Transit at Universities: An Evaluation". Journal of Planning Education and Research. 23 (1): 69–82. doi:10.1177/0739456X03255430. S2CID 109294907.
  91. ^ "Free public transport".
  92. ^ Kollektivtrafik ska vara avgiftsfri (tr. Public transport must be free of charge) Archived 2009-04-15 at the Wayback Machine (Swedish)