Over at The Tyee they have a five part series on making transit in British Columbia free. So far they have asked if free transit is crazy and looked at a city that provides free transit a bus ride from Vancouver.
The most recent addition to this series looks at the town of Hasslet in Belgium, which has a similar population to Nanimo (on Vancouver Island). The Tyee speculate that free transit is not yet feasible in BC, but given the right factors there’s no reason Nanimo can’t be like Hasslet.
“To be successful, I think that the public transport system must not be crowded at the start. Our project was originally organized to attract more passengers and to have less cars in the city centre. The buses also need separate lanes, because travelling by bus has to be faster than by car, so the infrastructure of intersections and streets has to be adapted. The buses have to be modern, clean … you need to have more bus stops. And the shelters must be attractive.”