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City Council approves $8-million free-fare proposal for three bus lines

The Dorchester Reporter reports the City Council today approved Mayor Wu's proposal to extend a free-fare pilot on the 28 bus route to the 29 and 23 routes for the next two years.

The council agreed with Wu's proposal to use $8 million from federal Covid-19 recovery funds on the experiment.

The council, including new Councilor Erin Murphy, voted 12-1 for the proposal. Only angry Frank Baker of Dorchester voted against.

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Comments

Might as well make the T free because no one enforces fare evasion on the system. Come to think of it nobody enforces the no smoking laws or the mandatory mask rules.

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That's not true person who will not use a username. I personally have been given 3 tickets for smoking in an open air station and I've witnessed Transit Police physically remove fare evaders from buses on the #28, #45 and #1 bus routes.

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I hope Frank doesn't lose too much sleep stewing over all the poors that shouldn't be able to ride the bus but are now living the high life.

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Slippery slope. Next thing you know drivers will be able to use 93, 95, storrow drive without paying!

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Unless you count the tunnels to Eastie, the only toll road in the Boston core is the Pike. Storrow and 93 don’t cost you a cent extra per use.

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whooooooooosssh

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I hate to admit this just now clicked *rolls eyes at self *

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to you for owning the misunderstanding. Many people on the internet could never do such a thing!

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Double that kudos

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Keep your damned government hands off my 93 and Storrow

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live in the worst housing, and have worst commute in the rapid transit desert, deserve a bit of a break. I think we are squandering billions if not trillions, and when the bill becomes due it will be ugly. Having said that, the money has been received to be spent, and I would rather cut a break for those riders than spend the money on some phony baloney public works project with mandatory prevailing wage.

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Now, Voronezh has zero-fare system. We are getting there!

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let me first state, I'm going to be THAT guy.

Are the buses really free?

If the city is using city tax dollars to pay for the buses, then the residents are still paying bus fare. Its just in the form of a subsidy.

So are the buses really free? Not really... someone has to pay. Its just not via the farebox, its with your tax dollars. Robbing peter to pay paul, doesn't make it free.

And then of course, when the subsidy is gone, the fares come back. Its no longer free.

I support the thought process behind it, but its not sustainable without continued stream to pay for it.

I also feel "free" gets tossed around too much lately from politicians. Nothing is free in this world, someone else will have to pay for it. So stop saying free, its not free.

PS - I know she plans on using COVID stimulus $ for this. So its not city tax payers who will pay for this. Every person will (since that $ is from the Fed). Same thing... someone has to pay. So my aunt Ida in Missouri is paying for riders of the 28.

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Right after the economists intone that “there’s no such thing as free lunch” they start comparing alternatives. Which in this case could be the status quo fare system, increased need-based subsidies, etc. Then you evaluate each option, admit that the status quo isn’t free either (see: the billion dollar investment in a new T fare system) nor is administering subsidized T passes. Given that the goals of free T are to increase T access and usage relative to cars by decreasing the cost and complexity of using the T, the simplicity of administering and using free T looks pretty good.

Feel free (there’s that word again!) to tell me where I’ve gone wrong, it’s been a while since I took an Econ class.

PS tell Aunt Ida “thank you!” for us, and also “you’re welcome” because last time I checked I-70 isn’t a toll road and (serious voice) there ain’t no such thing as free lunch.

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Pedant, pedant, pedant pedant pedant pedant pedaaaaaaant....

In other words, yes everyone already understands what free means here: "Free at point of use."

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It’s free if you don’t pay as you get on.
Everyone not born yesterday knows what it means.

Are they supposed to inform people as they get on that it being paid for elsewhere? That funding may change during their ride and they’ll have to pay to get off?

You are right about it being paid for by subsidies as is everything government provides including a justice system. But is it because it’s a service that can benefit the working class and the transportation disenfranchised that they can’t use it without it being drilled into them that someone else is paying? Even if low earners pay a higher proportion of that in their taxes and pay for road repair and public real estate lost to parking that higher earners with wheels benefit from? Even if the Wheeled will also benefit from less congestion and more opportunity to speed?

What’s the new moniker for a user of free public transportation? Bus Queens? Should people who fear that label make a voluntary fare donation as they board?

The shaming of the poor and working class will never go away completely but it’s strange to see a generally sensible Uhubber like yourself playing into it.

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Good take.

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Nothing is free, there is a cost associated with anything.

I've seen this described as "free-fare" or "fare free" so anyone out there who has reduced it to "free" has made an careless truncation.

As for Aunt Ida, I do believe MO has a net positive return on their federal tax dollars, and MA has a net negative, so we've been paying for something of hers for quite some time now. You're welcome, Ida!

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We will see how it benefits the areas along the routes. free rides for employees and customers should grow the tax base.

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By 2030, in the Boston 2030 plan, they want all address in Boston to be within a 10 minute walk to a transportation center. - subway, commuter rail, large bus stop.

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It is another frequent bus that serves much of the same area as these three routes. In many places, a rider would do best to just take whichever of the four buses comes first at a particular stop.

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The $8 million will only cover those 3 lines, as it costs money to operate buses.

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They never have, so what is the point of collecting them per rider? Cars don't pay their way either. US households pay about $1100 each above and beyond what is collected by car taxes. Collecting fares costs money and slows down the bus. If the system ran without fares we could reduce the amount of cars in boston for the sake of everyone's health and safety.

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All you have to do it to find a funding source that will replace fares that will be acceptable to the electorate.

Good luck with that.

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Well if drivers actually paid for the infrastructure they used then it might easier.

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Put together a plan, bring it to your elected official on the level you think should pay for this, and start lobbying other politician at that level to support your plan.

And again, I wish you well with your endeavour.

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it's not fare collection that makes Boston buses so freaking slow.

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