LAWRENCE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Massachusetts city is footing the bill so riders can take the bus free.
That city isn't Boston, where MBTA fares went up this summer—it's Lawrence.
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera told WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal the city footed the $250,000 bill to pay the fare for three Merrimack Valley Regional Transit bus routes that go through the city's core.
Mayor Rivera rode the bus, greeting Lawrencians and at one point getting off to dance.
He said the goal of the program is to ensure everyone who needs to get to where they're going—to work, to visit, to the doctor, to shop—does.
"Getting to the doctor makes their health better, getting to school gets their education better," he said. "Even though it's about moving people, it's really about getting people to where they need to go."
That chunk of money will cover the fare for the next two years.
Rivera said he got the idea from Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, who has argued that public transit—like the MBTA—should be free.
"Having this available for everyone for free, we're definitely going to get more use, and in the end, if people see the value in it, they won't mind paying a buck, or $1.25," Rivera said. "But really, we're already subsidizing most of it anyway, so, might as well just do the hundred percent."
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports