DC’s Plan To Boost Public Transit: Free Rides

December 12, 2022

Washington DC has announced that starting this coming summer, it will begin offering free bus fare to residents of the city.

The program follows that of other cities, such as Los Angeles and Kansas City, MO, which suspended public transit fares during the Covid pandemic when it was determined that even nominal fees could pose a hardship to essential workers. 

DC’s permanent free bus ride plan for residents will reportedly be the biggest by far. It comes at a time when cities like Boston and Denver and the state of Connecticut are considering broadening their zero-fare policies to help regain ridership as more residents are working from home, either full- or part-time. 

The $2 fares will be waived for riders boarding DC Metrobuses within the city limits beginning around July 1. The DC Council unanimously agreed to the plan last week, and to expand bus service to 24 hours on 12 major downtown routes.

A new $10 million fund devoted to annual investments in DC bus lanes, shelters and other improvements was also approved to make rides faster and more reliable.

About 68% of DC residents who take the bus have household incomes below $50,000. Riders are disproportionately Black and Latino compared with Metrorail passengers, according to the DC Council’s budget analysis.

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