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Transit fares are fees charged for travel on publicly chartered or operated transportation systems, including rapid transit trains, trolleys and buses (as these are known in northeastern parts of the United States). Transit fares have long been partially subsidized in many North American cities; they are lower than full costs of providing services. Justifications for these subsidies often include assistance to lower-income residents and reduction in automobile traffic.[1]

Trends in transit faresEdit

The chart shows a 50-year history of transit fares at 5-year intervals for four North American cities with long established heavy-rail transit systems (also known as rapid transit systems), each of them converted to central, publicly controlled operation between 1940 and 1954. The fares listed and charted are adult, cash subway fares for central zones of the transit systems,[2] [3] [4] [5] converted to spring, 2006, U.S. dollars using the U.S. Consumer Price Index for "All Urban Consumers" and Bank of Canada exchange rates.[6] [7] The following table shows some characteristics of these rail transit systems.

     Transit System        Year       Revenue Trackage   Average Fares (adjusted to 2006)
       Location        Centralized    Miles Kilometers       1955-1990     1995-2005
   New York (NY, U.S.)     1940         656     1056           $1.22         $1.78
   Chicago (IL, U.S.)      1945         222      357           $1.58         $1.74
   Boston (MA, U.S.)       1947          66*     105*          $1.29         $1.14
   Toronto (ON, Canada)    1954          39       62           $1.23         $1.87
   Philadelphia (PA, U.S.) 1964          60*+     97*+          N/A           N/A
   Montréal (QE, Canada)   1970          38       61            N/A           N/A
   London (UK)             1933         254      408            N/A           N/A
   Paris (France)          1930         131      210            N/A           N/A
                                    *includes light rail
                                    + estimated trackage

After 1990, New York and Toronto increased their inflation-adjusted fares significantly, while Boston held fares somewhat lower than in earlier years. Among these cities, before 1975 Chicago stood out for high fares. After 1990 Boston stood out for low fares.

See alsoEdit

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