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With Only 99 Days of Free Circulator Left, Mayor Bowser Urges Council to Make Washington, DC a Leader in Free Public Transportation by Permanently Eliminating Fares

Monday, June 24, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser released the following statement urging the Council to take up Councilmember Brandon Todd’s DC Circulator Equity Act of 2019, which would permanently eliminate fares on the DC Circulator. Currently, free rides on the DC Circulator will end after September 30, 2019.

“We have an opportunity before us to make Washington, DC a leader in offering public transportation that is both accessible and equitable. In doing so, we can alleviate the financial burden of getting around our city, making it easier for residents to seek out opportunity and access the many resources and services our city has to offer. It is true: for some, the $1 fare is nominal; for many others, though – especially for our most vulnerable neighbors – it is prohibitive. The benefits of free public transportation are many. That’s why I created and expanded the Kids Ride Free program, invested in the expansion of the Streetcar, and partnered to offer free bikeshare access to veterans in our community. When we have safe, reliable, and affordable public transportation options, residents and visitors use them. The Council should seize this opportunity to set a new bar for public transportation – both here in DC and in cities across the nation.”

In February 2019, Mayor Bowser made rides on the DC Circulator free as part of Fair Shot February. In March, the Mayor extended the policy and announced at her 2019 State of the District Address that her Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal would include $16.1 million to make the zero-fare policy permanent and to expand the system’s routes into Ward 7. Despite three months of increased ridership on the Circulator, the Council did not include funding in the final Fiscal Year 2020 Budget to make the fare change permanent.

Now, with Councilmember Todd’s legislation, the Council has a new opportunity to put Washington, DC at the forefront of the work to build a greener, more sustainable, and more equitable transportation network and nation.