WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) — Now, for the next six months, residents in every borough can ride several New York City MTA buses for free.
That’s five free buses, absolutely free.
Starting Sunday, passengers on the following lines will no longer be charged fares: the Q4 in Queens, the B60 in Brooklyn, the M116 in Manhattan, the S46/96 in Staten Island and the Bx18A/B in the Bronx.
The free pilot program is part of the “Fix the MTA” legislative package included in the state budget.
The buses will be clearly marked “FREE” and feature green and black destination signage, digital signage on the bus, decals inside the bus, and covers for fare boxes and OMNY card readers. The pilot program does not include free transfers to other buses or subway lines.
State lawmakers say they want to eventually make all bus and subway lines free.
“This free busing is not just a socialist dream,” New York State Assemblywoman Phara Souffrant-Forrest told Eyewitness News. “This is a reality for New York.”
But the MTA says it lost $600 million to fare evasion last year, most of it on buses. Did the fare evaders win?
“I do believe they gave in to fare evaders,” one New Yorker said. “They’re just afraid of enforcing the law.”
The word “free” also comes with anxiety. Will the cost of living rise again with the implementation of this plan?
“This is not a pipe dream,” said New York State Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani. “New Jersey has an 11.5% tax rate on corporate profits. Our tax rate in New York is 7.25%, and we’ll tax them. It won’t cost the average New Yorker a dime.”
City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams assured residents that this is all a step in the right direction. “We know that in cities where they do this, people are riding in far fewer cars, and that’s what we want.”
The goal here is to eventually make all buses and metros free.
ALSO READ | How to find out if you have unclaimed money
* Get Eyewitness News
* More New York City News
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News