This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

I’m skeptical about the idea of getting rid of the farebox on the bus altogether, despite the purported merits. Nonetheless, this is funny:

Skagit Transit in Washington State recently calculated that it takes in $121,300 from fares but spends $133,385 to collect them. The irony here is that the system started out fare-free and changed to a user-pay system because taxpayers did not want people to have a “free ride.” Now it costs taxpayers more than when it was fare-free.

But like I said, I’m skeptical. Free fares would essentially turn bus drivers into concierges of homeless-shelters-on-wheels. Even more so than they are already.