Expanding the free bus ride program in Boston


Catch a ride for free on the T | Photo via MBTA

Boston’s Mayor Michelle Wu has had a busy first week in office.

First item on the agenda was to request $8 million in federal funds to expand the free bus ride program ushered in by former Mayor Janey.

As of Fall 2021, 652,000 trips are taken on an average week day on the MBTA. That’s a lot of Bostonians moving around the city.

Currently, the pilot program allows residents to catch a ride on the 28 bus line for free through the end of December. The route is one of the most popular routes and ridership has increased to nearly pre-pandemic times since becoming a fare-free trip.

Mayor Wu’s plan would add bus line 23 + 29, in addition to 28 for a two-year period beginning in early 2022. These routes were selected for the program because of its diverse ridership + low-income area.

City of Boston + MBTA partners plan to measure the benefits during the two years including:

  • Tracking the ridership
  • Timing of the commute
  • Amounts of transit traffic
  • Business development along the routes

Get to know the free fare routes.

🚍 The 23 bus connects Ashmont to Dorchester Center, Grove Hall, and Ruggles.

🚍 The 28 bus takes riders from Mattapan Square, up Blue Hill Ave, to Nubian Square + Ruggles.

🚍 The 29 bus also travels from Mattapan Square, up Blue Hill Ave, then cuts over to Jackson Square.

Bonus: all routes find themselves along Blue Hill Ave., which will have a new exclusive bus center lane to help cut down on commuter times.

The success of the expanded program can continue to build regional + state-level momentum for fare-free public transit for the Boston area.