LiFT team at EUGEO 2023 in Barcelona

written by:

Merlin Gillard

Join us for our session on lowering and abolishing fares at EUGEO!

Our research team will attend and participate the 9th EUGEO congress, organised this year in Barcelona. We will hold a session on the theme of Lowering and abolishing fares: a step towards mobility of the future?, gathering researchers working on Germany, France, Portugal and England.

The full conference programme can be found here. Our session will happen on September 7th, from 9 to 11AM and will feature the following contributions:

  • Philippe Poinsot (LVMT; French Observatory of cities with fare-free public transport) and Julie Calnibalosky (French Observatory of cities with fare-free public transport): French fare-free public transport policies : what current knowledge on travel behaviours ? – read the abstract
  • Kevin K.H. Tsang (Institute from Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths, University of London): £2 Bus Travel in England: Lowered Fares and a Lower Status? – read the abstract
  • João Filipe Norberto Pereira (ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa; ISEG – Universidade de Lisboa): The policy of fare-free public transport: Young people’s choices, a case study in the Municipality of Cascais, Portugal – read the abstract
  • Christoph Aberle (Hamburg University of Technology; Institute for Transport Planning and Logistics): Fare Accessibility: A refined indicator for Public Transport Equity – read the abstract
  • Franziska Havemann, laura Porsche, Julian Weissinger and Christoph Aberle (Hamburg University of Technology; Institute for Transport Planning and Logistics): “I cannot even put into words the freedom that the 9-Euro Ticket has given me” – How low-income earners benefited from Germany’s 9-Euro flat fare and why the upcoming Deutschlandticket will fall short – read the abstract
  • Caroline Rozynek (Goethe University Frankfurt/Main): The impact of the 9-Euro-Ticket on low-income families – read the abstract


The call for abstracts

Public transport (PT) fares are gaining significant attention among academics, activists and policy-makers alike, becoming a key question for the future of passenger mobility. While the transport industry usually approaches fares as a chiefly technical instrument of collecting revenue and controlling passengers, it is increasingly apparent that pricing PT may have important social, political and environmental consequences, in particular when fares are significantly lowered or abolished entirely.

Across diverse geographical contexts, fare-free public transport (FFPT) advocates —representing heterogeneous academic fields, activist groups, and public institutions— claim that offering unconditional access to PT directly contributes to social and spatial justice, addresses climate change, and challenges the capitalist logic of urban development, well beyond the field of transport and mobility. Meanwhile, although FFPT remains a marginal policy, its popularity is on the rise, whether implemented in urban settings or for train travel, and temporarily (e.g. during the COVID-19 pandemic) or permanently.

Lowering and abolishing PT fares can have diverse impacts on the geography of our common future. The price of PT can affect how people move around and access opportunities, and it can also influence land use patterns, economic development, and environmental quality. Therefore, understanding these potential impacts is crucial to help policymakers, planners, and other stakeholders make informed decisions about the future of their PT systems and the communities they serve.

In this session, we intend to explore diverse economic, social, political and environmental aspects of the policies of lowering/abolishing fares in PT networks. We consider fares to be a crucial element in any conceptualisation of the future of mobility, across scales.

Thus, we welcome theoretical or empirical papers that may take up (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • The “arrival” of low/abolished fares: motivations, stakeholders and institutions, power relations, regulatory frameworks
  • The role of political ideologies to support or oppose fare reduction/abolition
  • Low/abolished fares as a strategy for “commoning” mobility
  • The social geography of low/abolished fares: in terms of class, ethnicity/race, gender or age – accessibility, opportunities, social inclusion
  • The impact of low/abolished fares on travel behaviour and modal split
  • The financial aspects of lowering/abolishing fares
  • Lowering/abolished fares as a “mobile” policy: geography of policy circulation and transfer
  • The geographical diversity of low/abolished fares
  • Research challenges in analysing the impact of lowering/abolishing fares
  • The impact of lowering/abolishing fares on fare control and evasion


Chairs: Wojciech Kębłowski, Monika Maciejewska, Merlin Gillard