Albuquerque is the largest U.S. city yet to offer free rides on its entire system of buses with a one-year pilot program that launched at the beginning of the year.
"On Jan. 1, Albuquerque started a year-long experiment: allowing everyone to use city buses — which normally cost $1 per ride — for free," reports Savannah Maher for Marketplace.
Albuquerque is joining a growing list of cities to offer fare-free access to some or all bus routes in the city. Maher lists cities like Missoula, Montana, Olympia, Washington, and Richmond, Virginia as examples. The mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu, also recently announced a plan to make some bus routes in that city free to ride. "But with more than half a million residents, Albuquerque is the largest U.S. city to experiment with zero-fare transit at this scale," according to Maher.
Lan Sena, city council representative for the west side of the city, home to "a lot of people we’ve come to know as essential workers," is quoted in the article saying that fare-free transit will attract riders back to the system and give low-income residents a break during tough times.
The article digs into some of the personal experiences of bus riders in Albuquerque and some of the implications of fare-free transit in the broader field of transportation planning and funding.
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