On Sept. 24, the MTA launched its newest pilot program that will make five bus routes— one in each borough— free for passengers for at least the next six months. The pilot will service around 43,900 daily riders and the five bus routes included are the Bx18A/B in the Bronx, the B60 in Brooklyn, the M116 in Manhattan, the Q4 in Queens, and the S46/96 in Staten Island.
The pilot is part of the state’s "Fix the MTA" legislative package— part of the 2024 fiscal year budget— and is intended to help the agency study how fare-free service affects ridership, access, equity, and fare evasion. State legislators say they hope to eventually make all buses and subway lines free.
During the program period, riders will be able board a fare-free bus without paying, however, if you're transferring to another bus or the subway, the fare must be paid at the transfer point. Buses that are part of the fare-free pilot can be identified by signs at bus stops along participating routes, buses marked "Fare Free" with green and black destination signage, decals on the bus, and bus fare boxes covered with signage.
“The MTA is the lifeblood of New York City, and I'm proud of the tremendous progress we've made in returning ridership to pre-pandemic levels,” said New York State Governor Kathy, who announced the program over the summer. “By establishing these fare free bus pilot routes, we are expanding access to public transportation across the city and improving transit equity to better serve all New Yorkers.”