Main Streets Pilot Project Results Show Public Transit Subsidies for Employees Increase Ridership and Reduce Financial Burden

The program offered up to $ 60 in credit for MBTA and Bluebikes passes to the first 1,000 enrolled employees who worked in five Main Street districts.

The Boston Department of Transportation, in partnership with ideas42, released a report on the results of the Main Streets Free Transportation Pilot Project, in which 1,000 Main Street employees received MBTA and Bluebikes grants over a two-month period. in the summer of 2021, demonstrating an increase in ridership at all levels. . Read the full report.

In a randomized control study, participants were given either $ 60 passes or $ 5 passes. Participants with a $ 60 pass took the bus or metro an average of 8.29 times during the first four weeks of the program, compared to 2.05 trips for those with the $ 5 card. an increase of 304.4%. The earnings even applied to participants with car access.

Additionally, transit incentives alleviated the financial stress of employees in main street districts during the pandemic. In a poignant example, a participant became homeless during the program, but the preloaded card allowed them to continue working.

The program offered up to $ 60 in credit for MBTA and Bluebikes passes to the first 1,000 enrolled employees who worked in five Main Street neighborhoods: Three Squares in Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Nubian Square, East Boston and Fields Corner. . All five of Main Street neighborhoods are served by the MBTA and Bluebikes subway stations. Out of the 1,000 skilled workers, some people were randomly selected to get an MBTA pass with the full $ 60 credit loaded, and the rest of the people were given smaller allowances over time which ended up totaling. $ 60. Bluebikes pass holders were able to make unlimited rides during the two-month period.

“The success of this pilot program shows that expanding access to public transit can accelerate our economic recovery and connect our communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This program has removed barriers in our neighborhoods, increased ridership during the pandemic and reduced congestion on our roads for transit users and drivers across town. We will continue to act urgently to develop safe, reliable and accessible transport for all. “

The program highlights the need for reduced or free fares for low-income passengers. The MBTA does not currently offer low-cost options for low-income, non-disabled passengers aged 26 to 64. Based on the success of this pilot program and other programs, the City of Boston has already extended the free Route 28 bus. Is piloting and is exploring options to expand the toll-free bus pilot project to other routes.

This report was produced by ideas42 with support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. Ideas42 is a non-profit organization that seeks in-depth information about human behavior – the reasons why people do what they do – and to use that knowledge in ways that improve lives, build better ones. systems and stimulate social change.

The Climate Challenge is an initiative that enables 25 of America’s largest cities to implement short-term climate goals and become the primary drivers of progress toward achieving America’s climate commitment. Recognizing that cities account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions – and that mayors have significant authority over the sectors that emit the most cities: transport and buildings – the Climate Challenge aims to improve the work already done by mayors across the United States and supporting cities in the fight against climate change.

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