This website originates from LiFT: an ongoing research project titled “From Low Fares to No Fares: An Analysis of Economic, Operational, Socio-Spatial and Political Dynamics of Fare-Free Public Transport.
This website aims at providing comprehensive and up-to-date information about fare-free public transport (FFPT). Also known as “free public transport”, “zero-fare public transport”, and “free transit”, FFPT provides passengers with access to public transport without having to pay any fares.
Although FFPT has become an established practice, discussed and implemented by policy-makers across Europe, it remains largely controversial and under-researched. The main objective of the project is therefore to understand diverse aspects of FFPT related to its transport (economic, operational) and urban (social, spatial and political) dimension. The project builds on three research strategies outlined below, each involving both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Empirically, the ambition of the project is to provide the comprehensive global overview of FFPT to date, while offering an in-depth analysis of on four selected cases of fare abolition programmes.
Conceptually, the project advances critical perspectives on transport by developing the link between transport studies and urban studies. It analyses FFPT as a policy that affects not only the economy and operation of local transport networks, but also functions as an inherently urban phenomenon, interacting and conflicting with different publics, spaces, scales and political institutions.
The project explores what difference it makes to abolish fares in public transport, notably using the following research questions:
To engage with these questions, the research team are following three research strategies:
This project is carried out by a research team based at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) and Luxembourg Institute for Social and Economic Research.
It is funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR).