Abolish Transit Fares. Everyone stands to gain.
Transit Riders will enjoy a heavier wallet. A few extra bucks every day to spend as they choose, not as they must. Service on non-rapid routes will speed up because bus drivers will no longer have to act as cashiers and security guards.
Drivers, especially suburban commuters, will see clearer roads and lighter traffic in the city as folks skip gas prices, parking fees, and parking hassles. Some may even be swayed to ditch their car completely, a huge financial burden removed.
Taxpayers will see the roads they pay for will suffer less wear, demanding less costly maintenance, as people switch trips to the, now free, transit system. As auto traffic swaps to transit, demand for expensive projects like the 494-35W interchange (The cost of which could replace 4 years of transit fares.) or the $120m RiverCenter parking lot (1 year of transit fares.) will vanish. Freeing more money in the budget and more space for people to live, work and play in their own city.
People experiencing homelessness using the transit system for shelter will have less hostile interactions with police hassling them for fares, allowing those police resources to be repurposed into a more effective means of assisting those people.
Uber and Lyft will suffer, but it’s hard to feel guilty about that.
Minnesota needs to encourage people to make choices that benefit the people around them. With more folks sharing transportation our air will be cleaner, our roads safer, and our wallets fatter.