Washington D.C. officials have introduced a new plan that may offer free bus fares to residents. The plan was unanimously approved by the D.C. Council last week.
The $2 fares will be waived for riders boarding buses within the city limits beginning around July 1. Bus services will also be extended to 24 hours on 12 major routes downtown.
The council also approved $10 million to expand D.C. bus lanes, shelters and other improvements to make rides faster and more reliable.
The idea of making public transit free was first proposed by D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen, who said that the program can be fully paid-for with surplus D.C. tax revenue.
“The District is ready to be a national leader in the future of public transit,” Allen said.
Yonah Freemark, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, also believes the free fare system would be an improvement to the current system.
“If D.C. demonstrates that it increases ridership, it reduces the cost burden for people who are lower income and it improves the quality of transit service in terms of speed of bus service, and reduces cars on the road, this could be a roaring success,” Freemark said, adding that there are still doubts about the plans effectiveness.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BOSTON.COM
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