Photo cred - Alexander Ly
Would you take the bus in the 'burbs if it was free? Maybe/probably/most definitely, because free anything is amazing, especially when it's transportation. To confirm the benefits of free public transit, three South Shore communities have just launched free public transit, and they're already seeing positive results.
La Prairie, Saint-Phillipe, and Candiac have all launched free bus fares, but only on local routes. So, if you're in these South Shore 'hoods and heading to the city, you'll still have to pay.
One bus driver interviewed by CBC has said the free fares have increased ridership by ten-fold. Before, only one or two (or zero) folks would be riding the local bus, and now around 10 people are on the bus at a time.
These three municpalities join other South Shore communities, like Ste-Julie, which has had free public transit since January. Mayor of Ste-Julie Suzanne Roy told CBC the only downside is a lack of free parking spots near bus stations, which probably isn't a hassle to most who are taking the bus anyway.
Moving this policy into the realm of the STM would be much more difficult, obviously, as the public transit system and number of riders is way higher. Still, the dream of free public transit in Montreal will always remain, and at least it's a reality for most folks living in the South Shore.
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