Boston extends free bus fare program

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Boston plans to use $350,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds monthly to extend its fare free bus program, which was scheduled to end this month, until March 2026.

The program applies to routes 23, 28, and 29 which are among the highest ridership bus corridors in the city. More than half of riders are low income.

The program has increased ridership on these routes.

“We are thankful to Mayor (Michelle) Wu and the city of Boston for their continued support,” Phillip Eng, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority general manager and CEO, said. “We have a common goal in making mass transit more affordable. Our combined efforts, from Boston’s fare-free bus program to Gov.(Maura) Healey’s proposed Low Income Fare Program, are benefiting communities who take all different modes of transit – buses, subways, commuter rail, ferries, or paratransit. We are improving people’s quality of life and making a real difference, building a more equitable and affordable transportation system network for all who depend on it.”

The program began in spring 2022. More than 12 million trips were taken on the free routes, saving riders an estimated more than $6 million. Approximately half of riders saved on average $35 per month.