Free public transit? Lowell and Fitchburg watching Lawrence and Worcester

Full and original article posted on Lowell Sun

In an unusual move, the city of Lawrence announced in September it would pay the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority $225,000 from its free cash reserves to operate three bus routes free of charge to riders for the next two years.

As of Sept. 9, the Prospect Hill, Beacon Street and Lawrence Downtown Shuttle buses became fare-free, seen as a way to break down transportation barriers some have to get to jobs, medical appointments and other needs.

In Worcester, the fare-free movement may go even further. Officials there are exploring whether the Worcester Regional Transit Authority should go entirely fare-free as a means to increase ridership and operational efficiency and reduce significant expenses associated with fare collection.

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