Kansas City becomes first major American city with universal fare-free public transit - 435mag

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Today, Kansas City became the first major American city to have fare-free public transit.

City council voted unanimously to make city bus routes fare-free, reports KSHB, directing the city manager to develop and enact a plan. The city’s light rail was already free. . . .

New mayor Quinton Lucas helped spearhead the plan with the support of city opinion leaders including the Kansas City Star‘s editorial board.

Other supporters included City Councilman Eric Bunch.

“When we’re talking about improving people’s lives who are our most vulnerable citizens, I don’t think there’s any question that we need to find that money,” Bunch told KSHB. “That’s not a ton of money and it’s money that we as a city, if we want to prioritize public transportation, it’s something that we can find.”

MoBikeFed comment: Read more about the plan here:




The proposal has gained support because of the recent success of the Kansas City streetcar, which launched in 2016 as a fare-free service and has attracted more riders than anticipated.

Eliminating the farebox not only saves riders a little money, but--just as important--reduces the complication and uncertainty of purchasing tickets and fares when entering the transit system.

Public public transportation and our road and highway system are largely subsidized by tax dollars. Transit agencies make only a small portion of their annual budgets from fares.