An economist advocating free public transport, or even that we should be paying people to use it?
That’s what Professor Joshua Gans does in his blog. Professor Harry Clarke provides a response in his blog.
This debate was sparked by a front page article in Melbourne’s Age newspaper suggesting that Melbourne’s public transport could be made free at a cost of around $340 million a year, boosting usage by 30% and reducing pollution, greenhouse emissions, accidents and congestion in the city.
Interestingly enough, public transport advocates don’t necessarily support the idea, believing that the money could be better spent improving the service than making it free.
Update (Tues 7/3):
Joshua Gans has an op-ed piece on this in today's Age.