They’re the nemesis of public transportation agencies across the world: fare dodgers. But a growing number say they’re not bandits, rather participants in an important social movement.
Case in point: a group in Stockholm, Sweden, that wants fares to be abolished altogether and transport to be 100 percent tax-funded (it’s currently 50 percent tax-funded).
Alex Berthelsen is a longtime member of that organization, called Planka.nu (roughly translated to “Free-Ride.Now”).
“The group started in 2001 after another fare hike,” Berthelsen told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “They’ve just been going up steadily for the last 20 to 30 years. They’ve been raised much, much higher than the CPI, the consumer price index. And so the reasoning for starting the thing was it didn’t really matter what politicians were in power here in Stockholm — no matter if was the red politicians or the blue politicians, the conservatives — everybody just kept raising prices, and we saw that it became more and more expensive to go with the public transport compared to going with a car. And the car industry and the car drivers have a lot of lobby groups and things like that, so we thought the commuters also need to organize themselves and protest with direct action against these fare hikes.”
- New York Times: Fare Dodging Is an Organized Rebellion in Stockholm, and It’s Winning (includes photo of Alex Berthelsen)
- Alex Berthelsen, longtime member of Planka Nu, which promotes tax-financed zero-fare public transport.