NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Under the state budget that’s awaiting the governor’s signature, bus rides in Connecticut will continue to be free until Dec. 1.

This would mean six more months of free bus rides for people who use the Connecticut transit system. Bus rides have been free since April 1 when the state suspended bus fares for three months due to rising gas prices. It was part of the legislation that also suspended the 25 cents a gallon gas tax.  

Carl Smith from West Haven says the free rides have been a huge help. With his car in the hop, he rides the bus every day.

“Well, it makes it easier,” he said. “Gas is so expensive. I usually take Uber, but since the bus is free, I ride the bus now.”

From February to April, CT Transit reports ridership on local routes has increased by more than 15% in New Haven, Hartford, and Stamford.

“I see a lot more people,” Zee Gordan said. “The bus is at full capacity now, which I feel like is a good thing because people are using the free service and you can’t beat that.”

A single fare is $1.75. Frequent riders say the fare adds up fast. One person says he saves $25 a week riding the bus for free.

New Haven Alderman Eli Sabin is proposing a resolution, calling on the state to eliminate bus fares permanently.

“We know that paying for the bus is a couple extra bucks out of the pockets of working middle-class folks in our state, and we want to give those folks relief,” he said. “Investing in our bus system and public transportation takes cars off the road, which reduces traffic, it opens up new parking spots, and also is good for our economy.”

Sabin’s resolution is set for a public hearing in June, followed by a vote. If approved, the Board of Alders would call on the state to eliminate fees.

Hartford’s City Council passed a similar resolution last month.