Building off successful fare-free programs in the Worcester area, Merrimack Valley, and elsewhere, all 15 of the commonwealth's Regional Transit Authorities (every non-MBTA bus route in the state, in other words) will suspend fare collection for the holiday season, from this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, until New Year's Eve.
"The additional MassDOT funding will allow MeVa to remain fare free for an additional six weeks, or until Patriots Day 2024, before having to make long term revenue determinations," according to a press statement from Niorka Méndez, MeVa's Director of Communications.
“MeVa’s fare free initiative has been a boon to the entire Merrimack Valley and we couldn’t be prouder that MassDOT is seeking to emulate our success this holiday season across Massachusetts," said Méndez.
Méndez also noted that MeVa’s ridership has gone up "a whopping 121.3 percent" on its fixed-route bus lines since the agency suspended fares. Other benefits include less time wasted at bus stops, since riders no longer have to wait in line or fumble for change to pay, and a significant decrease in the overall number of rider complaints.