With the direction and support of the Rhode Island State Legislature, RIPTA operated a year-long, fare-free pilot program on our highest-ridership route, the R-Line. From September 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023, fixed-route passengers can board the R-Line free of charge. During the pilot program period, paratransit service is also fare free for passengers making trips that begin and end within 3/4 mile of the R-line.
Throughout this pilot program, RIPTA is studying how free fares affect bus ridership, service reliability, the community, and the environment, as well as the financial impacts to RIPTA and to our passengers. On-board and online surveys, pop-ups, rider focus groups, and interviews with RIPTA operators and customer service staff are part of the study. This work, which will shed light on the benefits and potential tradeoffs of free fares, is ongoing for the duration of the pilot program.
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