Mayor Wu joined MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak this morning to announce a formal agreement to make three bus routes in Dorchester and Mattapan fare-free for a two-year period, starting next month.
"The three bus routes that the City of Boston has been working on in collaboration with the MBTA – the 23, the 28, and the 29 – will be fare-free for two years starting in March," announced Mayor Wu – first in English, then again a second time in Spanish – at a press conference on Blue Hill Avenue this morning.
Wednesday's press conference also included a testimonial from Peggy James, a Mattapan resident and regular rider of the 28.
"For it to be free is just a gift that keeps giving. When I get on the bus, nowadays, everybody gets on, they're calm, there's no hassle, there's no aggravation about having to stand in line wait for someone with money to come on the bus, none of those little teeny things that can turn a person's day a little sour... It's a wonderful thing, an absolutely wonderful thing," said James.
The other two bus routes in Wu’s proposal each share portions of their routes with the 28, through neighborhoods with high densities of transit-dependent households.
The 23, which ranks among the T’s 10 busiest bus routes, runs from Ruggles to the Ashmont Red Line station via Warren Street.
"We are looking to really have a design led by community that would ensure that our buses move in a fast and reliable way on this route, and these three routes all connect to Blue Hill Ave. to make sure that people can get to their schools, the YMCA, churches, Boys and Girls Club, universities, and restaurants and small businesses along the way," said Mayor Wu.
At the end of the press conference, a reporter asked the Mayor whether she hoped the program could be a first step towards an entirely fare-free MBTA system.
"Absolutely," said Mayor Wu. "We've been talking about that for a long long time... we are in communication with several other municipalities in the region as well, as they are looking to potentially start fare-free pilots as well."