Free bus service spans three routes, Wu’s climate justice questioned – The Daily Free Press

Line 28 of the MBTA bus system. Mayor Michelle Wu announced a two-year extension of the free transit program for bus routes 23, 28 and 29 starting March 1, according to a Feb. 9 news release. JUNGHA LEE/DFP STAFF

From March 1, bus users boarding lines 23, 28 and 29 will do so free of charge.

Following the success of the pilot program on Route 28, Mayor Michelle Wu announced the extension of the free program to apply to two additional routes for two years, adding that it will achieve the “climate justice goals” of the town.

“Expanding free public transit to Routes 23, 28, 29 will better connect our communities, increase ridership and reduce congestion for all of our residents,” Wu said at a press conference. February 9..

All three lines pass through Blue Hill Avenue, which has been identified by the Livable Streets Alliance as a diverse area of ​​Boston that should be prioritized to increase ridership and reliability in the area.

In the free ride pilot program, Route 28 saw a 90% increase in ridership over pre-pandemic levels, according to a news release.

“It gives more access and more opportunity to more people, and probably largely to people who couldn’t afford a bus trip,” said James Aloisi, senior lecturer in the Department of Studies. and Urban Planning from MIT.

Collique Williams, committee organizer for Public Transit Public Good and Community Labor United, said the city’s move is “a great first step” and urged the MBTA to help low-income people.

“Driving the MBTA is, for some people, a financial choice,” Williams said. “They had to make choices in terms of, ‘Can I go to the doctor?’ or, ‘Do I have just enough money to go to work or to pick up the kids?’ »

Aloisi said improving access to free transportation is economic and social justice, but not “so much climate justice.”

“Giving more people that access and opportunity also gives people the ability to connect to the places they and others need to go,” he said. “So it makes our community stronger by connecting and it makes our employees stronger and more resilient by giving them more opportunities every day.”

Aloisi added that Roxbury, Dorchester, East Boston and other Boston neighborhoods are areas where climate justice is a concern.

“These are all places where we need to focus on the things Mayor Wu has done, making bus travel free, encouraging more ridership,” Aloisi said. “The MBTA, the mass transit system, plays a very important role in providing people with ride options or drive options and a role that will help to modestly but significantly reduce emissions in the short term.”

He added that one way to reduce carbon emissions is to “reinvent and redesign” the streetscape – such as improving cycle lanes, bike lights, bus lanes and the carbon tax on cars. home deliveries.

Williams said the city can now embark on a journey of climate justice.

“Transport justice and climate justice go hand in hand, we strive to move people safely, fairly and affordably, and with minimal impact on the environment,” Williams said.

Melvin Z. Madore