Yesterday there was an opinion piece in The Gazette about how Montreal's public transit network should be free.
The argument was that as expensive as it would be to provide free transit for the entire city, we would make that money back in other ways.
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We would save on road repairs, we wouldn't have to pay for many of the hidden costs associated with having so many cars on the road, tourism would increase significantly, and pollution would be reduced.
However those savings wouldn't offset the cost of operating all the buses and metros in the city, so this plan would still cost a lot of money. But in the long run, it could be very beneficial and even profitable for the city.
But let's face it, that will probably never happen. It's too drastic a change to do all at once. Perhaps we can find a compromise instead.
Maybe rather than making public transit free, we can start by offering free transit on weekends.
Think about it, if public transit was free during the week, it's not like people would magically starts go shopping on Monday mornings. So it's really during the weekends that we want to encourage people to go outt and explore the city.
I wouldn't cost all that much since people would still be purchasing monthly passes and tickets during the week. Basically we would get reap most, if not all of the same benefits of having a free transit system, without any of the risks or high costs.
It's a win-in situation!