Proposal for free WRTA service carries a $3M problem

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WORCESTER — Riders loved the notion.

“I think that would be a great idea,” said Ashley Knittle when asked Wednesday about the Worcester Research Bureau’s recommendation to make the Worcester Regional Transit Authority fare-free in order to increase ridership.

Pat Hutchins agreed.

“That would be great,” Ms. Hutchins said.

And Ellen Bansfield was a supporter.

“More money back in my pocket is OK,” said Ms. Bansfield.

But Ms. Bansfield also brought up a potential obstacle to the idea.

“I think it’s a great idea, but I’m wondering how drivers and everybody is going to get paid,” Ms. Bansfield said. “That’s the major obstacle: Where’s the money going to come from?”

It was a common refrain.

The Research Bureau’s proposal for a fare-free WRTA has sparked an important conversation about the future of the region’s bus service.

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