Free ride to end for users of WRTA buses; fares waived since early days of pandemic

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Free public bus service will end June 30, as members of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board passed a $28 million budget for 2022 that includes fare income.

The possibility of a windfall of federal dollars, however, gave zero-fare advocates hope. They confirmed that the budget could be revisited, and they urged that federal money be used to fund a fare-free pilot program.

“If you do believe in fare-free — and I believe most of you do — I’m saying that in the near future we can afford to do a pilot program,” Advisory Board member and City Councilor Gary Rosen said at the board’s meeting Thursday morning. “The money is there. If it’s not there now, it’s coming…I know there’s other things to spend it on, but I don’t think anything is as important as zero fare.”

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