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Boston pilots free rides for commuters in Main Street districts - SmartCitiesWorld

The program aims to incentivize employees returning to work and workers who currently drive to work to use public transit and also seeks to lessen vehicular traffic.

The City of Boston is piloting a program offering $60 of public transit credits for workers in five Main Street districts.

They are being offered to 1,000 employees who work in Three Squares in Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Nubian Square, East Boston, and Fields Corner, which are all served by the MBTA subway or Bluebike bike-share stations.

Return to work

The program aims to incentivize employees returning to work and workers who currently drive to work to use public transit. With an expected increase in post-Covid-19 traffic, the City of Boston is piloting this incentive program to help alleviate small business districts of congestion and free up curb space for local neighborhood customers. The pilot project also seeks to lessen vehicular traffic to help reduce its environmental impact.


“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many essential workers have continued to utilize public transportation because they have been unable to work from home,” said Kim Janey, mayor of Boston. “I’m proud to launch this pilot program with the MBTA and Bluebikes to learn more about the impacts on commuter patterns when the cost of public transit is covered. And as more workers begin to return to workplaces, making transit more accessible is critical to our equitable recovery from the pandemic.”

The program, which will be managed by the City of Boston Transportation Department, is structured to measure how financial incentives for public transit impact commuting behavior and will be phased over the next two months. Of the 1,000 qualified workers, some individuals will be randomly selected to get an MBTA pass with the full $60 credit loaded, and the remainder of the individuals will receive smaller stipends over time, which will end up totaling $60.

Bluebikes pass-holders will be able to take unlimited trips during the two-month period. Bluebikes trips must be completed within 45 minutes to avoid usage charges. There is no obligation to continue paying for the Bluebikes’ pass once the two months are over.

“And as more workers begin to return to workplaces, making transit more accessible is critical to our equitable recovery from the pandemic”

“We are excited to partner with our local Main Street districts to pilot free public transit options for those working in Boston’s neighborhoods,” said transportation commissioner Greg Rooney. “Creating incentives to use public transit or bike to work options helps our economy, our environment and our local businesses. As more workers plan on restarting their commute, the Boston Transportation Department is committed to exploring creative ways to reduce traffic, carbon emissions and support Boston’s workers.”


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