Fare Free Public Transportation: A full-scale, real-world experiment in Alexandria (VA)



Type of Work


Urban Mobility & Equity Center


Citation of Original Publication


©Morgan State University, 2023. Non-exclusive rights are retained by the U.S. DOT.
Public Domain Mark 1.0


The Fare Free Public Transportation (FFPT) concept is a common part of the agenda among transit agencies and state and federal policy makers. The subject is particularly important in the post-pandemic period, as transit use is slowly recovering but has not yet reached pre-pandemic ridership and market share. FFPT has been implemented in Europe and to a certain degree in the USA; however, there are very few studies that have effectively collected data and evaluated the consequences with respect to its implementation. This study monitored a full-scale, real-world FFPT plan implemented in Alexandria, VA in the Fall of 2021, separating respondents into treatment and control groups. Descriptive statistics indicated minimal disparity between the treatment and control groups across most socio-demographic variables. Notably, residents of Alexandria exhibit a higher propensity to use buses compared to the control group, both prior to and post-policy implementation. Regarding awareness of the policy, a majority of respondents were uninformed, while the policy's impact is more pronounced among those who were aware. Around 32% of respondents increased their bus usage following FFPT implementation, with approximately 80% of this subset utilizing buses more frequently than before. This policy evaluation is relevant not only to Alexandria, but to many stakeholders across the country that are considering similar policies in other cities.