Tallinn, Estonia, provides free public transport to city residents and park-and-ride visitors. The scheme covers tram lines and trolley bus lines, 57 bus routes and some commuter trains. It aims to make transport more inclusive, stimulate the labour market, increase consumption of local goods and services, reduce private car traffic and attract more residents paying taxes to the city, which offsets costs. Tallinn’s example inspired other parts of Estonia, where free public transport increased trips by an average of 32% in the first year.
Joseph Baines, Miriam Brett, Sandy Brian Hager (2021) Common Wealth
Decades of bus privatisation and deregulation combined with years of austerity has resulted in increasing fares, unreliable services, and poor pay and conditions for many bus workers. Securing safe, affordable, reliable bus services, as well as restoring vibrant local economies and thriving high streets, will require reshaping the ownership and operation of bus networks.
This report sets out a plan to transform the funding of buses in England.
It looks at funding of bus services over the last decade, revealing a picture
of incoherent and shrinking funding resulting in degraded or lost services
and increasing fares.