Full and original article posted on Streetsblog Mass
Since 2020, the bus routes of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) have been free for anyone to ride, a policy that’s helped the agency attract new riders and reverse a long-term decline in ridership.
Evidence from the WRTA and several other agencies that have experimented with fare-free policies suggests that suspending fare collections is an effective way to boost ridership, especially on routes that serve large populations of low-income riders.
But to date, these programs have relied on federal pandemic relief funding to compensate for the loss of fare revenue. And as those pandemic funds dwindle, fare-free bus advocates say that Governor Healey – who pledged to support fare-free buses during her campaign last year – needs to make a commitment to funding fare-free buses for the long term.
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