Are free buses closer than they appear?

Full and original article posted on MassINC

Free buses may be the bold idea Massachusetts needs to rebuild a culture of public transportation as we emerge from the pandemic in 2021.

Considered a fantastical notion just two years ago, pilot projects in Worcester and Lawrence provide an enticing glimpse of the idea’s viability. The potentially dramatic improvements to ridership, equity, convenience, and the environment have changed minds, while the economics are more feasible than one might expect. Leading state legislators have filed multiple bills to make it happen, led by Sen. Joe Boncore’s “New Deal for Transportation.”

In the years before the pandemic, the Worcester Regional Transportation Authority (WRTA) faced a troubling decline in passengers. Passenger trips plummeted from 4.2 million in FY2016 to 3.2 million by FY2019 after a 2017 fare increase.

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