Public transportation should be fare free


Jahlea Douglas

Senior Xavier Sullivan is a second year staff writer on the Elkhart Memorial GENESIS staff. He specializes in opinion columns.

Xavier Sullivan, Staff Writer

Free public transit is a  split issue in today’s modern world. From turnstile hoppers being tackled by police, to conservatives arguing to  severely punish those who jump, there is no real middle ground with such an argument. Which then leaves the question to be answered, what stance is the right side?

Of course, no opinion is ever “correct”, however, the argument that will be presented here is one logical reasoning, and in favor of making public transportation free to the populus to use with no fares whatsoever. Why this stance, you may be wondering? The answer is simple– charging fares on public transportation inhibits societal growth.

Some may argue the opposite, stating that by not learning to fend for oneself, and expecting everything to come free and easy will bring a sense of entitlement, followed by a lack of incentive to work for one’s own benefit; however, it could be argued that the opposite is true. 

Charging fares for public transportation for many is simply another way that lower income civilians are being taxed, little by little.

A nickeling and diming by a municipality may not be an issue for everyone, but for those who live paycheck to paycheck, every dollar counts. The average two bedroom apartment in New York City costs $2,499 a month to rent[1], or nearly half of the average person’s monthly income[2]. Those who argue keeping the charge on public transportation are often the same ones who argue that everyone should work, and nobody should expect societal support. 

But by charging money just to take the bus to work, we are going backwards. We are losing money to make money, and it’s not like an investment where one recoups their costs later on, because no matter how a person gets to work, they’ll  make the same amount of money. 

In large cities such as New York or Chicago, living downtown and owning a car is impractical, which is why public transportation exists in the first place. But for a society to function to the best of its ability, the laborers who work should not have to pay in order to make money. Each worker does their job within their respective profession, and thereby contributes to society, and gains their income. 

Why is it that these workers must give back what they just worked so hard for in order to do it all over again, in an endless loop to make money to pay an endless chain of debts? 

They need to pay the rent, they need to pay for food, for the lights, insurance, the phone bill, the water bill, and finally, the cost to make money. Not to mention that most of these cities’ transportation systems are publicly owned by the city, and funded by tax dollars, which already are paid by the city’s residences.

How backwards does a society need to be for the elites who proliferate the municipal governments, and who often have a tight grip on its economy. to continually tax the lower income people of the city, effectively keeping them on the bottom? 

The battle of the turnstile hoppers is one of the proletarian masses seeing this issue and fighting back, and the punishment of those who do is the retaliation of the authoritarian bourgeois who sit amongst a stronghold of lobbying corrupt politicians and bribery. It is more than a group of anarchists trying to rebel, it is the people fighting against a form of oppression so deeply rooted into societal norms, it doesn’t stand out as an issue to begin with.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Reach Xavier Sullivan at [email protected].