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Two-thirds of riders on Boston’s first fare-free bus have not saved money on transit


Days before Boston is set to expand its fare-free bus program, the MBTA shared preliminary data that indicates the existing effort is not helping many riders in need.

Eliminating fares on the Route 28 bus increased ridership and decreased travel times, but most riders did not save any money as a result of the pilot. At the urging of transit advocates and their riders, the MBTA’s Board of Directors is now actively considering more options to reduce the cost of transit, including reduced fares for low-income adults.

The report states that 66% of riders said they did not receive any financial benefit from the Route 28 fare-free pilot program, which began last August in Boston. That’s because they paid for monthly passes or a fares on connecting subway or bus trips. The only financial beneficiaries were those who rode only the 28 bus: 21% of whom said they saved more than $20 a month, and 12% who saved less than that.

Read the article on GBH

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