Making public transport irresistible? The introduction of a free public transport ticket for state employees and its effects on mode use

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice, planning - surveys, planning - travel demand management


Jobtickets, Public transport policy, Travel demand management, Free ticket, Zero-price effect, Multimodality hypothesis


To increase its attractiveness for employees, to save costs regarding parking supply and to foster modal shift away from the car, employers can offer sharply cost-reduced public transport tickets. In the state of Hesse/Germany, public authorities have gone one step further by introducing a cost-free public transport ticket for all state employees. We argue that the step from sharply cost-reduced to cost-free is more than just a monetary difference. The aim of this study is to assess whether the ticket is actually affecting employees and what changed their travel behaviour. Therefore, we have analysed a two-wave survey conducted at Goethe University in Frankfurt: one from before and one from after the introduction of the new ticket. The results show a substantial increase in the use of public transport (pt) for commuting and other trip purposes. Car use and availability, however, did not decrease. In particular, those who had no cost-reduced jobticket beforehand switched to public transport after the introduction. Furthermore, we identified increasing public transport use for low-income employees (inclusion hypothesis) and several indicators pointing towards a more multimodal behaviour (multimodal hypothesis).


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


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