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Route 28 free bus program extended to February 28, 2022, in advance of two-year, fare-free pilot

As City works to finalize expansion of the fare-free bus pilot, residents can continue riding the MBTA Route 28 bus fare-free without disruption

Building on her commitment to expand safe, reliable and accessible transportation for all, today Mayor Michelle Wu announced the City of Boston is extending the fare-free route 28 bus pilot program through February 28, 2022, ensuring no break in fare-free service for 28 riders in advance of the two-year fare-free pilot. The extension of the fare-free 28 bus pilot program had previously been set to expire on December 31, 2021. 

As the 28 bus pilot continues through January and February, the City of Boston continues to work with the MBTA to launch the expanded fare-free bus pilot on the 23, 28 and 29 routes in early 2022. 

The 28 bus line (Mattapan Square, up Blue Hill Ave, to Nubian Square & Ruggles) serves as a key route for many Boston residents, connecting the residents of Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester to the broader MBTA network.

While overall bus and subway ridership is at 53 percent of pre-pandemic weekday ridership, the free 28 bus saw ridership surge to 92% of pre-pandemic levels, making it the most popular in the system. This demonstrates that fare-free buses increase ridership, reducing congestion and spurring economic recovery. 

"Fare-free transit connects our communities, drives ridership, and eases traffic for the entire region," said Mayor Michelle Wu. "I'm thrilled to partner with the MBTA to extend this successful ongoing pilot program and look forward to working with the MBTA to build the public transit system that truly serves Boston residents and our local economy.” 

“We’re pleased to continue to partner with the City of Boston on this pilot,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Extending the pilot allows us to gather even more data so we can perform a thoughtful and comprehensive evaluation of the pilot’s effects on ridership and the transit network. We thank the City of Boston for providing funding that allows us to better understand the pilot’s impacts.”

“As an avid advocate for public transit I am ecstatic to see Mayor Wu expand upon the fare free bus pilot that I initiated last summer. This expansion increases access and affordability in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan, communities disproportionately impacted by gaps in service, and it helps put us on a path toward an equitable economic recovery,” said former Mayor Kim Janey.

The City of Boston and the MBTA are working closely to complete a comprehensive evaluation of the ongoing pilot. The evaluation includes analysis of ridership and service reliability data as well as interviews with bus riders to get their views on the benefits of the pilot. The results will be released in February. The Boston Transportation Department has been working with the MBTA to manage the pilot program that was first launched in August last year.

The two-month extension for the fare-free 28 bus pilot program builds on Mayor Wu's work to expand fare-free public transit, starting with buses. This month, the Boston City Council voted in favor of Mayor Wu’s proposed appropriation order for $8 million in federal funds to eliminate fares on the 23, 28 and 29 MBTA bus routes for a two-year period. The City of Boston, in partnership with the MBTA, is extending the free Route 28 bus for additional two months using the funds from the $8 million allocation from ARPA.

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