5 thoughts on “Free bus passes for the under-25s are terrible economics”

  1. Posted 15/04/2018 at 18:36 | Permalink

    Do these arguments not equally apply to roads?
    Money taken for an in kind benefit – it is geographically varied, and obviously roads compete with other transport systems – but the distribution is more progressive.
    If a mobile population, preferably using public transport, is desirable then this a reasonable way of providing it.
    You are correct it isn’t the same as adding money to the hugely means tested Universal Credit programme, but then it isn’t intended to be.

  2. Posted 16/04/2018 at 06:57 | Permalink

    Oh dear. This article is exactly the kind of economics that gives the term such disrepute nowadays.
    ‪Atomised economics.‬
    ‪Service worth £1000/year to those who need access to public transport, but would be worth £100/year if handed out as cash to individuals <25.
    ‬Services target needs directly. (Ideally it should free local public transport for everyone- a Universal Basic Service)
    ‪No mention of social infrastructure or environmental benefits of public transport.‬
    No mention of the economies of service provision versus cash distribution – cash has zero economies of scale.
    Of course service quality varies, but that can be changed and needs incentive to change.
    Cash distribution is only superior economics if you’re so powerless you cannot conceive of improving your society and default to doling out cash as the simplest and laziest way to placate people whose needs you don’t want to understand and whose political compliance you think you can buy. It’s one step lower even that “bread & circuses”.

  3. Posted 16/04/2018 at 09:33 | Permalink

    Andrew, I presume that you get paid in kind, then? That your employer does your shopping for you and your colleagues?
    Surely, they’re not so powerless that they cannot conceive of improving their society. Surely, they wouldn’t default to doling out cash as the simplest and laziest way to placate people whose needs they don’t want to understand. How lazy would that be?

  4. Posted 16/04/2018 at 13:52 | Permalink

    @Andrew Percy: “Cash distribution is only superior economics if you’re so powerless you cannot conceive of improving your society and default to doling out cash as the simplest and laziest way to placate people whose needs you don’t want to understand and whose political compliance you think you can buy.”

    You may want to understand people’s needs, but isn’t it just slightly arrogant to think that you can better understand their needs than they can? And what if their needs are all different?

  5. Posted 19/04/2018 at 23:04 | Permalink

    I know it’s an old debate, but in Vienna where I come from, they have experiemented quite a while with the free bus passes for young people. Surprisingly, it seems to work better if you work locally, for instance the Vienna area is much more urbanized – and hence has much more bus lines – then the mountains. It’s hard to be fair with a sweeping measure that will affect young people differently based on their location and income. But as unperfect as it is, another factor is to avoid resorting to automobile transportation, which has led to many traffic disasters in America and Europe.

    Best,
    Franz Hümmer, Vienna
    flowerdeliveryaustria.at

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