KC Council unanimously approves proposal for free bus service starting next year

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Council has voted Thursday to make bus fare free within city limits starting next year.

The council unanimously approved what’s known as the “Zero Fare Transit” proposal.

At $1.50 per ticket, or a $50 monthly pass, eliminating all bus fares in Kansas City is expected to cost $8 million a year. That’s what the Area Transportation Authority collects from fare boxes and a federal subsidy.

Now the council and city manager have to work out the details, specifically where they’ll find that $8 million in the budget next year.

If the city can work out the finances, Kansas City would become the first major metro in the nation to offer free bus service.

Proponents call free transit a difference-maker for the economy by getting workers to their jobs. They argue it’s also a lifesaver for citizens, getting people to doctors and grocery stores for trips they may otherwise skip.

The free fare change comes at time when the bus service is redesigning its system, including new technology that has the ability for buses to change red lights to green to move people faster.

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