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City leaders want Connecticut's fare-free bus service extension made permanent

bridgeport terminal 4.jpg
Lil Keller
/
WSHU
Bridgeport terminal

Connecticut will be extending its fare-free bus service deadline to deadline to March 31 amid calls for it to be permanent. It was set to expire Dec. 1.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker praised this decision. Being a bus rider himself, he has often seen the benefits of free bus fare since it was first put into effect in April this year.

“Fare-free bus service has been very popular and a huge benefit to New Haven residents, and I applaud the state for extending it through April 1, 2023,” Elicker said in a statement. “Nearly 30% of New Haveners do not have a car and public transit is an essential mode of transportation for so many residents who use it to commute to work and get around the city every day.”

Free bus fare was enacted to address high gas costs and help low income workers get to their jobs without having to worry about losing funds from traveling.

For minimum wage workers, these free bus trips can save up to $1,000 a year.

Free-bus fare costs the state almost $3 million a month, while the gas-tax holidays cost the state up to $25 million a month, especially during the summer months.

Since this free service began in April, bus ridership has exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.