Boston to Pilot Free Transit Passes for Workers in Commercial Districts

The city of Boston will undertake an experiment about how to center public transit as an economic recovery tool.

April 1, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Boston Subway T

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"The City of Boston is offering a free public transit pilot for up to 1,000 employees who work in five of the city's Main Street districts," reports Cailin Crowe. Main Street districts are recognized by the city of Boston as the commercial centers of local neighborhoods.

"Pilot participants will receive a pre-loaded Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) pass with $60, and other participants will receive two cards after four weeks that will be worth up to $60. The city will also offer free passes for unlimited rides through the Bluebikes bike-share program," adds Crowe for detail about the scope of the pilot program.

Crowe also reports that Acting Mayor Kim Janey is presenting the pilot project as one effort toward post-pandemic recovery in the city. Meanwhile, the MBTA in March implemented another round of service cuts to the transit system in response to declining fare revenues during the pandemic, despite facing criticism for the cuts.

The city of Columbus, Ohio is the poster child for free fares targeted to specific populations of workers. The Central Ohio Transit Authority recently extended its "C-pass" program, in place since 2018, until 2025.

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