Not everybody’s on board with the proposed free bus fare in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After the Kansas City Council’s Transportation Committee gave the initial approval on a plan to subsidize bus fare, the full council could approve the plan on Thursday.

Kansas City would become the first major metro in the nation to offer free bus service.

City leaders estimate the plan to eliminate fares on KCATA bus service within city limits would cost about $8 million per year.

While there’s disagreement at City Hall over how to close that budget gap, surprisingly, not all passengers are on board with the so-called “Zero Fare Transit” model.

“We want to feel safe,” said Carla Smith, who takes the bus from Raytown to her job every day.

Smith said the plan could create safety issues and make the problem of panhandling on the bus even worse.

“I see that every day: ‘You got a dollar, you got $5?’ So we’ll be getting more harassed more than ever before,” Smith said.

Other daily passengers, like Curtis White, disagree and believe a free ride is at least worth a shot.

“It would benefit the ones that really want to use it in a positive way, not the ones who are taking advantage of it,” White said.

Plus, some say saving the cash from each bus ride would be nice, too.

“Right now, I’m paying $3 a day, and every month that adds up to $90 a month, just to get to work and back, and that would help out a lot actually,” Brian Loney said.

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