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Towards an urban political geography of transport: Unpacking the political and scalar dynamics of fare-free public transport in Tallinn, Estonia

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

In this article, we study the largest existing fare-free public transport (FFPT) programme, launched in 2013 in Tallinn, Estonia. Instead of focusing solely on the rationale and impact of fare-free public transport in terms of finances and travel patterns, we propose to analyse FFPT from the perspective of urban political geography, and to inquire into its political and scalar dynamics. We analyse how Tallinn’s fare-free programme was developed, and demonstrate the politics of its conception and implementation. We observe who has access to free travel and we reveal how FFPT is embedded in Estonia’s place-of-residence-based taxation system. Finally, we identify where lies the impact of territorial competition exacerbated by FFPT. Therefore, we argue that transport policies – of which FFPT is but an example – should be understood as much more than strategies dealing with transport issues per se. Instead, we propose to approach them as political and spatial projects, whose processual, cross-sectorial and scalar dimensions help to reveal the embeddedness of transport in inherently urban questions of metropolitan governance,
electoral strategies, territorial competition and socio-spatial inequalities.
Tijdschrift: Environment and Planning. C, Politics and Space
ISSN: 23996544
Issue: 1
Volume: 1
Pagina's: 1-16
Aantal pagina's: 16
Jaar van publicatie:2019
Trefwoorden:Public transport, fare-free public transport, scale, transport justice, transport policy