Boston Pilot Project Finds Ridership Jumps When Workers Get Subsidies

  • Date: 12/15/2021

Boston’s “Main Street Subsidized Public Transit Pilot” was an effort to reduce the stresses the COVID-19 pandemic placed on employees of neighborhood Main Street businesses. The randomized controlled study, conducted by ideas42 with funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, gave preloaded MBTA passes and unlimited BlueBike bikeshare passes to 1,000 people in five business districts in outlying Boston neighborhoods over two months in the summer of 2021. Half of the participants received $60 passes good for the entire eight weeks, while the other half received a $5 pass for the first four weeks and a $55 pass for the second.

The study found that the participants who received the $60 passes rode the bus or subway an average of 8.29 times over the first four weeks, while those who received the $5 pass first rode an average of 2.09 times. Car owners displayed the same behavior the carless did.

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