Public transportation is already largely subsidized, although not on the scale of auto subsidies (when highway/road infrastructure, parking, clean-up of pollution (let alone increased costs in health care), tax-breaks for oil and auto industries, etc. are taken into account). If we’re serious about getting people out of cars and decreasing pollution and greenhouse gases, why not take a serious look at improving our public transport system and providing it for free?
A surprise benefit of not collecting fares is that it actually reduces the overall cost of public transit. Drivers (for buses) don’t need to spend time collecting money and making change; ticket booths and their attendees (for trains, subways, etc.) are no longer necessary; tickets don’t need to be printed, saving trees, expense, and the need to clean up the accompanying mess (which, apparently is a problem in British Columbia); and fare-enforcement and the prosecution of fare-evaders (and the accompanying expense) become things of the past. While I don’t know the hard figures, removing a $1 fare (for example) would actually cost significantly less than $1.