Russia's space agency Roskosmos announced that it would stop giving free rides to US astronauts beginning in 2006. US space shuttles have been grounded since February of 2003, when the shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry and they have been relying on the Russian workhorse spacecraft for transportation to the orbital outpost.
In The Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C. Clarke even pointed to cheaper ticket prices being an advantage of the space elevator:
The head of Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, stated that a barter system would also be acceptable. Read more at Russia to end free space rides for US Astronauts.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)