There’s a proposal to have Melbournians use their CityLink eTags for a reverse-toll on public transport by a economist-type guy from Melbourne Uni. I can just see homeless guys making a living by taking sackfuls of eTags around the city on trams while their owners are at work, to make the day’s commute in to work and back again net-free.
It’s an attempt to address the free rider problem of vehicular road use; he’s also proposed that the charging should be demand driven – so road tolls are higher in peak hour, and might be free in the middle of the night. But we have a crude version of this proposed roaduse charge already – it’s called fuel excise. Cars idling in traffic jams keep burning petrol, and thus their owners paying tax, as an added bonus, SUVs/4WDs burn a whole lot more of it. If you want to hike the charges up, I’m all in favour of, say, tripling the excise on fuel. That should make public transport more attractive – especially as there won’t be homeless guys with sacks!