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A universal zero-fare bus service

  • by JW

Ah, the good old days of subsidised buses:

The so-called Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire … in the early 1980s had a publicly subsidised public transport system that dramatically reduced the need for private cars. 

This idea was brought back to mind recently:

Eco-friendly modes of transport for all

As highlighted in the Guardian’s letters pages:

The aim of the cheap fares was to make the bus service totally free of fares by 1984 – a hop-on, hop-off service funded through a precept on the rates and savings made from not having to collect fares. The South Yorkshire Freedom Riders are pressing the Sheffield city region mayor Dan Jarvis, the Labour and Green parties, locally and nationally, to give serious consideration to a publicly owned and run universal basic service with a zero-fare expanded bus service. For most people it will mean a minimum of a £30 uplift in disposable income as well as removing cars from our roads and reducing levels of pollution.

The dream of free buses still lives on

And some people refuse to accept free travel being taken away, like the group below.

These are the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders:

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders


Which is part of a bigger movement:

Campaign for Better Transport


In fact, studies back in the 80s when the programme was happening show that “reducing real fares resulted in higher levels of bus patronage”:

The Impact of Subsidised Low-Fare Public Transport on Travel Behaviour