Mayor Walsh Hesitant On Idea Of Free Bus Fares In Boston


boston mayor marty walsh

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The City of Lawrence is testing free fares on three of its bus routes, an idea that is gaining some traction in Boston's City Council.

It has the endorsement of City Councilor Michelle Wu and public transportation advocates, but Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is not as keen.

Walsh appeared on Dan Rea's Nightside program Wednesday night and explained that coming up with the money to pay for those free fares would be no easy task.

"We’re not talking three bus routes in the city of Boston, we’re talking hundreds," Walsh said. "We’re talking about tens of millions, if not a hundred million dollars to do this. Where does the money come from?"

Walsh also hammered home that there would have to be a "reoccurring revenue" to pay for the buses.

The proposal has also run into resistance from state officials. They prefer the MBTA to stagger prices and establish fare discounts for lower-income riders.

"In theory, it’s a brilliant idea," Walsh added. "In theory, having free service is great... if you have a way to pay for it."

WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports

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