Current Practices and Potential Rider Benefits of Fare Capping Policies in the U.S.A.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, policy - equity, policy - fares


Public transit, Fare capping, Equity


Fare capping, a policy in which a transit agency caps the maximum amount a rider pays over a given period, has emerged as a relatively new innovation in public transit fare policy. This research aims to synthesize fare capping policies and to explore the benefits that riders could receive from fare capping. This study applied a multiple case study method to explore fare capping policies at the 101 largest transit agencies in the U.S.A. At least 21 of those 101 agencies were found to have fare capping policies. Of those 21 agencies, 20 used daily fare caps, four used weekly fare caps, and 14 used monthly fare caps. The number of one-way regular fare trips needed to reach the daily, weekly, and/or monthly cap was determined for each agency. Rider discounts for each fare capping period were then calculated. This study also discussed some innovative fare capping policies like “nested” fare capping, which refers to fare caps within fare caps, as well as capping for reduced fare policies. These unique policies could help to address some of the most pressing challenges that face the transit industry in promoting equity for vulnerable groups such as low-income, elderly, and disabled riders, and incentivizing riders to return to transit post-COVID. The findings of this study could inform transit agencies that are planning or considering the implementation of fare capping policies, a trend which has grown rapidly in the transit industry.


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