Mayor Michelle Wu on Thursday outlined her plan to eliminate fares on three Boston bus routes as part of an effort to make public transportation more accessible to low-income riders and others hard hit by the pandemic.
The proposal, for which Wu requested $8 million, will ditch fares on the 23, 28 and 29 buses for two years, expanding on the four-month pilot program launched by former Mayor Kim Janey that made the 28 bus free.
The program will especially benefit low-income riders as well as people of color, Wu said.
"More than 59% of riders on these bus lines are low income. More than 96% of these bus lines -- commuters are people of color," she said. "So, by taking this action, we truly will connect our communities and supercharge our recovery."
The mayor also pointed out that, while bus and subway ridership now stands at 53% of pre-pandemic levels, ridership on the 28 bus spiked to 92% of where it was before the pandemic.
The three MBTA bus routes serve several parts of both Dorchester and Mattapan.
The money would come from federal recovery funds. The proposal will have to be approved by the city council, but Wu said she doesn't anticipate encountering any hurdles there.
If approved, the program will launch next year.