NPR logo Don't Pay Your Fare On The Subway? There's Insurance For That

Don't Pay Your Fare On The Subway? There's Insurance For That

Groups of free riders on the Paris Metro have created informal insurance pools that pay the fine when riders get caught. The groups call themselves mutuelles des fraudeurs — fraudster mutuals.

The fraudsters pay into a into a central fund. Then, whoever gets caught riding for free can draw from the fund to pay the fine, which starts at about $75.

Insurance costs about $10 a month, the Guardian reports. That compares to about $75 a month for an all-access pass.

The groups make the (transparently self-serving) argument that they are making a political statement. "Transport should be a free public service like health and schools," a free rider told the Times of London.

Politics aside, the fraudsters are simply making a rational economic decision based on the fact that, even with occasional fines, free riding is cheaper than paying to ride.

Changing this equation would be pretty straightforward. You could either lower the price of Metro tickets, raise the fine for free riding, or increase the number of Metro inspectors, so free riders would get caught more often.

Hat Tip: Marginal Revolution

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