Is flat fare fair? Equity impact of fare scheme changeIs flat fare fair? Equity impact of fare scheme change

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, policy - equity, policy - fares


Fare-schemesEquity, Public transport, Distribution, Gini index, Transport demand models


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.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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