Free Burlington Transit for everyone could come by 2025

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Published August 2, 2023 at 2:09 pm

Public transit that is free for everyone all of the time could become a reality in Burlington as early as 2025.

The concept has long been on the mind of decision-makers at City Hall as a way to get more people out of their cars and onto Burlington Transit buses.

With the rationale that more bus riders will reduce traffic and lower carbon emissions, Burlington has already taken steps toward the concept by this week eliminating the cost for seniors and doing the same for teens during certain operating hours. Kids 12 and under already ride for free.

The green plan also calls for Burlington to phase out fuel-fed buses to be replaced with electric vehicles.

Burlington is already studying the costs and other dynamics involved in moving to a totally free transit system with recommendations expected to be available sometime next year.

“We probably won’t be able to get that into the 2024 budget because those discussions are (already) happening,” Mayor Marianne Meed Ward told Khaled Iwamura during an exclusive interview with inhalton.com. “But we are looking ahead to plan for it in 2025.”

The mayor said that what has already been offered through earlier pilot programs shows the public will embrace free transit.

“What we have seen, particularly with seniors, is when we implemented free off-peak travel from Monday to Friday there was a 40 per cent increase in ridership,” she said. “That’s what we want to see. We want more people on the buses. They are going around anyway so we might as well fill them.”

 

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