The Effects of the Selective Enlargement of Fare-Free Public Transport
2. The Premises and Empirical Evidence Connected with Fare-Free Tariffs in Urban Transport
2.1. Complexity of Fare-Free Public Transport Policy from a Sustainable Transport Perspective
2.2. The Worldwide Experience of Fare-Free Public Transport Policy
2.3. The Polish Experience of Fare-Free Public Transport Policy
3. Research Questions
- Does the introduction of FFPT have a significant influence on the demand for such services?
- Is the introduction of FFPT the most efficient method (taking into account incurred costs and obtained benefits) of increasing the use of public transport?
- Are fare prices for public transport the key factor when choosing a mode of urban transport?
- the number of passengers in the cross-section of days of the week, year, rounds, lines, destinations, cities (communes);
- passenger structures in the cross-sections named above;
- revenues from fares in cross-sections named above.
5. Research Findings
5.1. Description of the Study Area
5.2. The Rationale of the Selective Enlargement of the Fare Free Public Transport
5.3. Results of Analysis
- Implementation of FFPT within the GBM for the segment of students did not produce a satisfying result understood as an increase in demand. The increase in demand (should it occur at all) was lower than that noted in similar cases in other countries.
- The presented results prove the inefficiency of actions taken by the local authorities within the GBM. The main reasons behind the ineffectiveness or low effectiveness of actions taken can be identified as:
- The choice of target market segment. Students constitute a group of passengers that is unlikely to generate additional demand. Daily scope of travel within this segment is determined by education (fixed number of trips). Due to the age brackets of the group, the non-compulsory travel needs which may occur within it are largely met by travel in family cars where they also travel as passengers (this fact is grounded in findings of research into travel preferences and behaviour conducted within the cities and communes located with the GBM) [60,62,63].
- Lack of coordination of actions taken by local authorities regarding the age thresholds for the entitlement and their restriction to the area within the administrative borders of a given commune (this factor was primarily significant within the rural communes surrounding the metropolis where the number of potential travel destinations (past-time activities, recreation, shopping) is largely restricted).
- Identification of cost of travel as the key attribute in the decision-making process on whether to choose public transport, where it clearly shown in research into travel preferences and behaviours that this is a secondary factor. Travel cost was not found to be among the three main attributes in any of the research into transport preferences that took place in eight cities (communes) located with the GBM between the years 2010–2019 [60,62,63].
- A clearly positive demand reaction was achieved within regions where the implementation of FFPT was coupled with the broadening of public transport services offered (vkm volume). An exception to this rule could be seen in the communes where the demand for public transport services has been in rapid decline in recent years.
- Simulations point to the conclusion that, should funds equal to the amount lost from revenues (decrease in revenues due to FFPT implementation) be allocated to the broadening of services offered (increase in operational work), a much more satisfactory result would be achieved with regard to demand (increase in public transport passenger volume).
- One of the arguments supporting introduction of FFPT for students was to convince their parents to discontinue the car ‘school-run’. Research findings, however, cannot confirm that this goal was attained. Nevertheless, there is data available from research into transport preferences and behaviours conducted among the residents of the city of Sopot and the commune of Szemud which clearly shows that the cost of public transport (too high) was the main reason why parents choose to drive their children to school in only 3.0% of cases.
- The presented data was collected over a short period of time (one year after the implementation of FFPT). The authors believe that should the current scope of FFPT entitlements remain unchanged, the chances for an increase in demand in the following years are slim. This results from the specificity of this segment and transport needs of students. A solution that may have a more positive influence on demand can be found in further extension of entitlements across the entire metropolis, as opposed to restricting them to within the administrative borders of the city/commune in which passengers reside. Research into this area shall be continued in the coming years.
- When adopting a selective implementation of FFPT (selected areas for selected segments), a demand profile has to be established, including in particular the price elasticity of target FFPT passengers. Some conclusions can be deemed as intuitive and do not require further detailed demand analyses. Practice shows that it is, however, permissible to ignore them in order to obtain ad hoc political benefits.
- FFPT introduction should be preceded by research into the perceived quality of public transport, and in particular the impact of certain attributes of services connected with the duration of travel (punctuality, frequency, direct travel, and accessibility), since a positive demand reaction can be anticipated should those attributes improve, as they are the ones with utmost importance to the residents and are not currently meeting their desired standards. The case of the city of Hasslet confirms this theory.
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|Name||Type||Location within the GBM||Population||Number of Students under 20 Years of Age||Annual vkm (2019)||Annual vkm (2018)|
|Pruszcz Gdańsk Gm.*||Commune||Surroundings||30,878||5128||25,245||25,245|
|City/Commune||Location within the GBM||Change in Passenger Volume in General [%]||Change in Passenger Volume in the Reduced-Fare-Free Segment [%]||Price Elasticity of Demand||Price Elasticity of Demand in the Reduced-Fare-Free Segment [%]|
|Pruszcz * Gd. commune||Surroundings||−17.0||−23.2||-||-|
|City/Commune||Shift in Revenues from Fare Sales Overall [%]||Shift in Revenues from Reduced Fare Sales [%]||Sum of Decreased Revenues from Ticket Sales Overall [PLN] *|
|Pruszcz Gd. city||−27.4||−56.9||−415,209 (97,220 EUR **)|
|Sopot||−15.1||−22.9||−542,833 (127,103 EUR **)|
|Żukowo commune||−12.9||−27.5||−109,981 (25,751 EUR **)|
|Rumia||−20.7||−24.2||−898,364 (210,351 EUR **)|
|Szemud commune||0.0||0.3||6 (1.4 EUR **)|
|City/Commune||Change in the Overall Passenger Volume Following ff Introduction [%]||Forecasted Shift of the Overall Passenger Volume Assuming the Purchase of vkm Using the Funds Allocated for the Extension of Entitlements [%]|
|Pruszcz Gd. city||2.5||7.0|
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Grzelec, K.; Jagiełło, A. The Effects of the Selective Enlargement of Fare-Free Public Transport. Sustainability 2020, 12, 6390. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166390
Grzelec K, Jagiełło A. The Effects of the Selective Enlargement of Fare-Free Public Transport. Sustainability. 2020; 12(16):6390. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166390Chicago/Turabian Style
Grzelec, Krzysztof, and Aleksander Jagiełło. 2020. "The Effects of the Selective Enlargement of Fare-Free Public Transport" Sustainability 12, no. 16: 6390. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166390