BOSTON (WHDH) – On her first full day in office, Mayor Michelle Wu filed an appropriations request for $8 million in an effort to expand fare-free bus service in Boston.
The federal funding would eliminate fares on the 23 Bus line (Ashmont to Dorchester Center, Grove Hall & Ruggles) the 28 Bus line (Mattapan Square, up Blue Hill Ave, to Nubian Square & Ruggles) and the 29 Bus line (Mattapan Square, up Blue Hill Ave., to Jackson Square) for a two-year period, according to Wu.
It would come from federal money allocated for COVID-19 recovery.
Wu says she is seeking to implement the program in close collaboration with the Boston City Council and MBTA beginning early next year.
The program builds on the four-month, fare-free 28 bus pilot program that was helmed by Acting Mayor Kim Janey.
The 23, 28, and 29 bus routes all intersect with Blue Hill Avenue, which has been identified by Livable Streets Alliance as one of the corridors that should be prioritized for improvements to increase reliability and boost ridership, according to Wu.
“I am excited to take this key step towards a brighter transit future. Building on the fare-free 28 bus pilot created by Mayor Janey, we will expand access to transit across our neighborhoods, connecting more people to their schools, places of worship, small businesses, and community centers––and easing congestion on our bus riders and drivers alike. With stronger ties between our communities, we’ll reshape the boundaries of what’s possible in our city,” Wu said in a statement.
Wu believes the two-year program will set a foundation to build regional and state-level momentum for fare-free public transit, starting with buses.
Gov. Charlie Baker told 7NEWS that if Boston wants to pay for free transit, that’s its prerogative and the state will work with the city to make it happen.
“I’ve said before that if people want to finance their communities and the residents of their communities which is what this is about, that’s something we will work with people on,” he said.
Those who would benefit from the program say free rides will go a long way in their community.
If approved by the City Council, this program would go into effect at the start of next year.
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