The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) board voted unanimously to go fare-free for all local fixed routes and EZ Trans paratransit services starting March 1, 2022 for at least 2 years. Fares will still be collected on the Boston Commuter bus.
Of course, come January, when other RTAs go back to collecting fares, MeVa service will remain free to all riders. The MeVa Advisory Board authorized all MeVa buses and paratransit service to go fare free last December for at least two years starting in March 2022, when all fareboxes were removed from MeVa buses. The additional MassDOT funding will allow MeVa to remain fare free for an additional six weeks, or until Patriots Day 2024, before having to make long term revenue determinations.
Operationally, by going fare free, buses travel faster as they no longer have to wait for passengers to line up to pay their fares. It has even improved the driver-passenger relationship, as drivers no longer have to police fare collection. Tellingly, even as ridership has gone up significantly, the number of complaints received has gone down 31.4% since MeVa stopped collecting fares. 1e1e36bf2d