HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut residents have been able to hop on buses across the state for free since April 1. The state legislature agreed to suspend bus fares through June 30, to ease the financial burden for commuters.
The legislature also agreed to suspend the state’s 25-cent per gallon excise tax on gasoline for the same period.
Thirty percent of Hartford residents rely on the bus. City Council is behind fare-free buses and passed a resolution urging the state to act.= biw
“We want everyone to be able to get to work and boost the economy,” Hartford City Councilman Josh Michtom said. “They did this in Kansas City. It increased jobs and increased economic output, so the cost is very minimal, and in the long run, the payback is there.”
Where would the money come from to fund this? What would this mean for taxpayers?
“What we know now is the three-month bus fare holiday is costing the state $8 million, so pretty much, you can do the math,” Michtom said. “It’s about $32.5 million a year. It seems like a lot of money, but in the scale of state budgets, it’s not very much money at all.”
It typically costs $ 1.75 for a single CT Transit ride and $59 for a monthly pass.
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont also directed CT Transit to provide free bus service on weekends through Labor Day, with the hope of getting riders to visit small businesses and boost the economy.
Free bus service is also a hot topic in big cities like Los Angeles and New York City.