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Fare-free MBTA bus pilot boosted ridership, but not always savings


A pilot program to run the Route 28 bus in Boston free of fares boosted ridership by more than 20%, while only about a third of commuters who participated saved money because of costs they faced elsewhere on the MBTA, officials said Thursday.

Final evaluation of the fare-free test remains underway, but T staff presented an overview Thursday that showed significant effects from allowing riders to get on and off without paying as the agency prepares to launch an expanded two-year pilot program starting next month.

Between the original pilot’s August launch and today, fare-free service led to a 22% growth in ridership on the Route 28 bus even when accounting for a system-wide gradual increase in use after a COVID-inflicted dropoff.

Read the article in WBUR

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