About Zero Fare

About the Worcester Zero Fare Coalition

The Zero Fare Worcester Coalition is a group of grassroots activists, bus riders, local agencies, elected officials and community leaders united in their mission to make the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) permanently fare-free. Endorsed by 77 community, municipal, elected, and business leaders, including the Worcester City Council, Southbridge Town Council, Worcester Chamber of Commerce, SEIU 509, Imperial Distributors and major regional employers, our coalition represents a diverse range of voices committed to equitable transportation.

Rider Highlights

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Image of a blue WRTA bus. The entire bus is visible at a bus stop under an awning with an official-looking building in the background. The bus is facing forward at an angle so you can see the side and the front. The neon sign on the front of the bus says 'FREE FARE' in capital green letters.

During the pandemic, our advocacy efforts led to the suspension of fares in March 2020. Fare-free buses have had a transformative impact, enabling riders of all backgrounds, including seniors, families with children, and low-income individuals, to access vital resources such as job hubs, food, and healthcare. The success of the fare free policy is evident in increased ridership, economic benefits to our local communities, positive effects on climate and public health, and serving as an inspiration for similar programs in Boston and the Merrimack Valley.

This crucial community resource was at great risk of coming to an end in 2023. Through the diligent organizing of bus riders, a task force consisting of elected officials and business leaders, and WRTA Advisory Board members, our coalition leveraged our broad support into securing two extensions – one into the Spring of 2023, and a subsequent additional year extension. Through all the organizing of the Worcester area communities and key stakeholders, the Worcester Regional Transit Authority is fare free through July 2025, solidifying it as the longest running regional transit system in the country!

However, our fight isn’t over. With a new incoming Administrator for the WRTA and increased state funding for regional transit authorities, the WRTA is at a pivotal junction. We will continue to advocate tirelessly at the state and local level, emphasizing the importance and benefits of a permanent fare-free policy and to enhance WRTA services to better meet the needs of all residents, creating a more equitable and efficient public transit system that meets the needs of all.

Benefits of Zero Fare

Dyanamic Data Visualization
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