Is flat fare fair? Equity impact of fare scheme change

Isak Rubensson*, Yusak Susilo, Oded Cats

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


When Public Transport Administrations propose changes in fare schemes or increased fares, they are often met with concerns regarding the proposed fare schemes fairness. Implicit in these concerns is an understanding of relations governing land use and public transport, impacting equity. In this paper, we use socio-economic statistics of census areas in conjunction with public transport travel data from a transport forecast model to assess the geographical and distributional fairness of alternative fare schemes: flat, zone-based and distance-based. We discuss our result in relation to both the scientific literature and the known “truths” in the public debate. The method is applied to the Case study of Stockholm public transport. We find that high-income travelers benefit from all three fare schemes considered but, in contrast to much of the literature, least by flat fares. A strong distance-dependent fare could be horizontally equitable but has poor vertical equity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-58
Number of pages11
JournalTransport Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Distribution
  • Equity
  • Fare-schemes
  • Gini index
  • Public transport
  • Transport demand models


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