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Free bus fare program expanded to 2026

The City of Boston will expand the free fare program creating an estimated savings of $6+ million for Bostonians.

BOS-MBTA-busses-2024

Catch a ride for free on three bus routes.

Photo via MBTA

In more positive T-related news — the City of Boston is extending its fare free bus program on Routes 23, 28, and 29 until March 2026. The popular program was introduced early in Mayor Wu’s administration and was set to end later this month.

The plan is to use $350,000 per month in American Rescue Plan Act funding to reimburse the MBTA for the extension of the program. For those who haven’t caught a T bus ride in a while — the fare for a local one way trip is $1.70, or $0.85 with a reduced fare card.

These routes were selected for the program because of their diverse ridership + service in low-income areas. The city worked with Stantec to deliver some key findings:

  • 12+ million trips were taken on the free routes, creating an estimated savings of ~$6 million for riders.
  • Riders are saving on average ~$35 per month.
  • These three routes have some of the highest ridership throughout the City of Boston, serving schools, libraries, and Boston Housing Authority developments.

According to data from the MBTA, ridership for these routes are at an all-time high as of October 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels:

  • Route 23 is at 94%
  • Route 28 is at 102%
  • Route 29 is at 64%

Fare free programs have been gaining momentum around the Bay State + nationally since the this pilot program launched in 2022.

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