The impact of fare-free public transport on travel behavior: evidence from a randomized controlled trial
Hugo Silva; Owen Bulla; Juan Carlos Muñoz
Documento de Trabajo IE-PUC, N° 531, 2019.
Abstract: Fare-free public transportation has recently gained attention from policymakers and has been proposed as a measure to reduce pollution and road congestion in several cities around the world. We investigate the impact of fare-free public transport on travel behavior by randomly assigning a pass to workers in Santiago (Chile) that allowed them unlimited travel for two weeks. The main impact of fare-free public transport is a 21% increase in the total number of trips made during off-peak periods. Two-thirds of the effect occurs during weekday off-peak periods and is mostly explained by a 24% increase in trips made by public transport. We find no evidence of mode or period substitution and that the effect on public transport trips is entirely explained by trips that use the subway.
Keywords: Public transport pricing, Fare-free public transport
JEL: R48, H23