Boston, Mbta Announce Free Bus Fare Pilot Program

BOSTON (AP) — Riders who board the MBTA's Route 28 buses in Boston later this year won't have to pay a fare under a three-month pilot program announced Monday.

The program that starts Aug. 29 will last until Nov. 29, according to a statement from the office of acting Mayor Kim Janey.

The goal is to boost the city's pandemic economic recovery and provide financial relief for some of the city's residents hardest hit by COVID-19.

Route 28 is one of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's busiest bus routes, with almost 13,000 riders per weekday pre-pandemic, the mayor's office said. More than two-thirds of those passengers are classified as low-income, according to MBTA’s most recent systemwide survey.

The route runs from Mattapan Square to Ruggles Station by way of Nubian Square and Roxbury Crossing, providing connections to key bus, subway and commuter rail routes.

“As someone who depends, like many Bostonians, on consistent and reliable MBTA service, I know firsthand how vital Route 28 is for the economic corridor that connects Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester," Janey said in a statement. “The Route 28 Free Fare pilot program demonstrates the city’s commitment to making transportation accessible and affordable for residents and commuters."

The city is providing $500,000 to fund the pilot, which will be jointly managed by the Boston Transportation Department and the MBTA. The agencies will conduct surveys to measure the program's impacts on commuting times, on-time reliability and rider experience.