You get a bus pass. And you get a bus pass. And you get a bus pass.

Not local, but the situation will sound familiar -- a huge influx of daytime commuters and a crunch for downtown parking: Columbus, Ohio is moving toward a plan that would make 43,000 downtown workers eligible for free bus passes. The program would be paid for in part by property owners paying 3-cents-per-square-foot annual fee. Backers estimate they'll be able to get as many as 5,000 people on board and will be able to save equivalent of four parking garages worth of parking spaces. [Columbus Dispatch via Streetsblog]


Fee would be paid by property owners within the downtown, effectively downtown employers. Effectively same as CDTA contracts with businesses to give free rides to employees, but on a larger scale.

Yeah, fares make up less than 20% of CDTA's revenue. State, local, and federal funding together make up almost 50%. I know that 20% of nearly $100m in total revenue isn't small potatoes, but I always wonder if that gap could be otherwise closed to make the entire operation free at the rider level.

-B, main argument against free buses is making sure people are using them for a purpose, not just to hang out most of the day. Which makes some sense.
And in this case transportation agency is selling passes to business association for about 5% of regular price - $40/year instead of $750/year. I guess their assumption is that only 1 out of 20 passes would actually end up being used...

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