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Mayor Bowser Announces DC Circulator Will Remain Free Through September 30, 2021

Monday, August 2, 2021
Council Puts Brakes on Free Rides for the DC Circulator

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the issuance of an emergency rulemaking that will keep the DC Circulator free through September 30, 2021, to encourage more riders to use the service as the District's economy continues to re-open.

Today, more residents, commuters and visitors are traveling in and around the District, and it is essential that they have as many safe, accessible, and affordable public transportation options as possible,” said Mayor Bowser. “Keeping the DC Circulator free as long as possible is a crucial part of meeting that objective.”  

In the Mayor's Fiscal Year 2022 Fair Shot Budget proposal, she invested $6.5 million to keep the DC Circulator free, and to support ongoing investments of maintaining the reliability of the bus system and acquiring electric charging stations for the fleet. However, the DC Council voted to eliminate free rides on the DC Circulator, effectively putting a halt on the Mayor’s objective of keeping the District affordable and accessible for all. 

Mayor Bowser first made DC Circulator free for riders in 2019 as part of #FairShotFebruary. Since then, she has extended free rides multiple times in response to increased ridership and to promote the use of convenient and accessible public transportation. Most recently, the DC Circulator became free in March of 2020 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). The PHE expired on July 25, 2021 and the new emergency rulemaking would continue the free-fare policy during a promotional period ending September 30, 2021. The emergency rulemaking becomes effective immediately upon its publication in the DC Register.

Additionally, the DC Circulator is conducting its annual survey, under which riders have an opportunity to share their experience riding the system. The DC Circulator is also updating its Transit Development Plan, which guides future growth of the system. In the 2020 update, DDOT used stakeholder feedback to determine the best route to return DC Circulator service to Ward 7, proposed improvements to the system operations and performance District-wide, as well as an extension of the Dupont Circle-Rosslyn (RS-DP) route to U Street NW. The DC Circulator survey will remain open until August 12. To take the survey, please visit dccirculator.com/survey. Any questions can be directed to [email protected].