BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Tuesday, Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced that the City of Boston will extend the Route 28 Free Fare pilot to the end of the year. The program on Route 28, one of the busiest bus routes in Boston, was intended to last 3 months from August 29. But in partnership with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the City of Boston will pay for the extra month of free rides using funds included from the Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget.
"The success of this pilot program shows just how crucial the Route 28 bus is as an economic engine, connecting residents of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan with jobs, schools, and other important destinations," said Janey.
According to the City of Boston, Route 28 ridership rose from around 47,000 weekly rides, or about 70% of pre-pandemic ridership, to more than 70,000 weekly rides, just about matching usage pre-pandemic.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said, "Extending the pilot through the end of the calendar year allows us to gather more data so we can perform a thoughtful and comprehensive evaluation of the pilot's effects on ridership and the transit network."
The City said that they are awaiting a decision from the federal government on its RAISE Grant application for Blue Hills Avenue. The City said that if awarded, they would use the funds to create more center-running bus lanes and other corridor improvements for Blue Hill Avenue.