Things I would like to see

Why isn’t a sliding scale fare system more common in public transit systems? A (admittedly not thorough) google around turns up a number of transportation services for older people and/or people with disabilities that operate on sliding scales, and Fair Fares Calgary, a group that is working on making access to “public” transit more equitable.

I get that the implementation wouldn’t be entirely straight-forward, but what I’m envisioning is a system wherein people can get discount cards based on their income, indicating what prices they need to pay to ride. These cards could generally expire, say, annually, at which point people’s statuses get reviewed and they are issued new cards. People on government assistance should ride for free, period.

And it seems to me that simply raising the regular fare could balance out the effects of the sliding scale – I’d certainly be happy to pay more for a system that served the public better (and my current out-of-pocket transit expenses are much higher than the average Torontonian’s – I work outside of Toronto and get an integrated weekly GTA pass at (gulp) $55 a pop.)

I’m sure that there are barriers to implementing this kind of system that I’m not aware of, but it seems there’s a dearth of people even putting forth the idea, and I’m unsure why this is. Is there something I’m missing?

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