Imagine a world where everyone, everywhere could get around their country without the hassle of tickets or the worry of not having enough money to travel to their jobs. Wouldn’t you want to live in a world like that? That is what I will be exploring in my essay today. I strongly believe that having free public transport could make the world a better place. Everyone has used public transport but I think that if it were free we would utilise it much more, and more efficiently. I wonder if you were one of the estimated 14.3 million people in poverty today, would you want to make public transport free and be able to get around and possibly get a job that more public transport would create. Of course there are pros and cons of public transport being free, and I hope I can persuade you to think it would be a good idea.
One main reason to support free public transport is the very relevant issue of global warming and air quality. Transportation is responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US alone. Many people using one vehicle reduces greenhouse gas emissions by a considerable amount. The London Underground and The Subway in America, on average, produces 76% lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than a single occupancy vehicle, such as a car. Along with that, by reducing congestion, public transport reduces emissions from cars stuck in traffic jams and behind car crashes for a number of hours. Moreover, by using more energy efficient vehicles, public transport can reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions even more. It also gets rid of the need to produce new vehicles and to extract fossil fuels just to pump them back out into the air. A study by ICF International found that in 2004, taking public transport saved 947 million gallons of fuel that would have been used if public transport passengers had driven cars instead. In America the transportation sector is one of the biggest uses of energy. With more energy being needed for the every growing amount of cars, the world is using up more resources that we currently have. By using public transport, large cities could try and meet the national air quality standard, because using buses reduces vehicle emissions and greenhouse gases that create smog around the city. Large cities are often where the air quality is the worst, because of traffic and the amount of cars on the roads. People who live in these cities have a much higher chance of getting related health risks because of pollution, such as asthma, bronchitis and even cancer.
Another reason to support getting free public transport is that almost everyone’s lives would improve. There are around 1.56 million people unemployed in Britain today, by making public transport free we would need a lot more buses and trains and a lot more people to drive and service those buses and trains. It would also be easier for some people to go to their work, they would just need to get on a train or bus at their local station. Moreover, around 1 in 5 people are in poverty in the UK today, and by making public transport easier and free to access and use, people could go longer distances to get jobs and start earning money to make their lives better and more comfortable. If more people are making money that would mean they could spend more as well, having more trips out and giving back to people who aren’t as lucky as they are. Having more people using public transport, the government would have to improve travel networks and the public transport itself, this would benefit everyone because no one want to sit on an overcrowded train that is taking forever to get where they are needing to go. In summer 2019, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to offer free public transport. You can simply hop on a train, tram or bus without having to pay a penny. The overall operating cost of public transport in Luxembourg is €1 billion a year but fares only make around €30 million a year. The tickets will be paid partly by removing tax breaks for commuters, also encouraging people who drive cars to switch and use public transport instead. I think this is a good idea because it is taking an idea and putting it into action to help our planet and our everyday lives.
Even though I think it would be a good idea, of course there are cons to public transport being free too. One of which is that we would need to make more vehicles to go on the roads. Manufacturing buses and trains is a long arduous process that might include burning an abundance of coal and releasing a lot of fossil fuels into the atmosphere, almost cancelling out the fact that using public transport reduces carbon emissions. Also, by making public transport free there may be overcrowding. Even now, particularly at peak times, there are hardly ever enough seats to sit down and there sometimes isn’t enough handles for everyone to hold on. Safety would be another big thing to perfect before making public transport free. Safety is always the utmost importance to public transport companies such as Stage Coach and ScotRail. Also thousands of new drivers would need to be trained up and ready before making public transport free, and that could take a while.
In conclusion, I believe that making public transport free would benefit society greatly. There would be more job opportunities close to home, less carbon emissions and more chances to go visit different places and big cities. It would improve most people’s lives and make our country more accessible and traversable.