RIPTA reinstates free bus passes for low-income seniors and disabled people
The Rhode Island Transportation Authority will reinstate free bus passes for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. They will be able to ride the bus for free again starting on July 1. In February, RIPTA raised fares for these people to 50 cents.
“I was elated for the many people whose quality of life had really been dealt a serious blow when that happened,” said Don Rhodes, the President of the RIPTA Riders Alliance, which has been working to get the free fares back. “So it was a win-win for Rhode Island and the people who actually use public transportation.”
Rhodes says that many people couldn’t afford the 50-cent rides, and without the free fares, people weren’t able to get to food banks and doctor appointments.
“This reinstatement of the free-fare passes is the best thing the state of Rhode Island has done for the most vulnerable people in a very long time,” said Wendy Thomas, another volunteer with the RIPTA Riders Alliance. She said this moment came after two years of fighting for the free passes.
The state has only reinstated the free passes for two years, so activists are now working on making free fares a permanent part of the state’s budget.