One of the reasons to subsidise public transport is to improve the mobility of low-income groups by providing affordable public transport; however, the literature describes a situation whereby those with a low income are unable to afford the cheapest tickets per trip, i.e. travelcards, as they usually require a considerable up-front cost. In this study, we use a large dataset from the Swedish National Travel Survey to investigate whether, and if so how, income explains monthly travelcard possession among individuals for whom this would have been the least expensive option. We find a robust positive relationship between income and travelcard possession among low-income earners, indicating that those with a low income pay more to use public transport than more affluent individuals. As the accessibility of low-income groups is an important motivation for public transport subsidies, the findings from this study have important policy implications.
Anders Bondemark, Henrik Andersson, Anders Wretstrand, and Karin Brundell-Freij, “Is it expensive to be poor? Public transport in Sweden”, Transportation, vol. 70, October 2020.
Transportation, vol. 70, October 2020