Eventually he got inmpeached and the new Gov discovered that free rides were not sustainable. So they means tested it.
Dunno how they discovered it wasn't, but FWIW it might be an unfortunate (mis-)find.
Public transportation where I live is free for seniors. Trains, metros, busses, boats, etc., in all cities and between all cities. Everything except airplanes. It surprised me somewhat when I came here for the first time, and it certainly surprised my parents when they first came (since as EU seniors they didn't need to pay either), but apparently this has been going on since the communist era.
There arguably is a cost. Perhaps one can shrug it off as in "meh, the bus is scheduled anyway. The only point in time where it might be problematic is during rush hours when you need to field a few more busses." Or perhaps not.
Either way, the positive side effects are observable when you care to look: seniors tend to visit their children and grand children across the country instead of it being the other way around like where I'm from - and more often, at that. You see seniors everywhere, and the contrast in their behavior is palpable when I compare this with the other two dozen or so countries I've lived in. When they do go out they can afford to go to cafes and restaurants, give some money to their kids and grand kids, etc. Plus nanny savings that allow single moms to work more than part-time where applicable.
I've no idea if the net economic balance is positive, but when you factor in the quality of life side effects across generations it certainly seems worth doing.