Fare-Free Public Transit Benefits Kansas City Residents, Businesses

  • Date: 02/06/2023

Fare-free transit has become a topic of intense debate in cities big and small over the last few years. To date, Kansas City is the largest city to have made the plunge. In 2019, the City Council directed the city manager to dedicate $8 million to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) to make up for lost fare revenue. While the zero-fare program was initially meant only for trips that originated in Kansas City, Mo., the Authority and partner agencies decided to make the entire system fare-free in March of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

The program is set to sunset at the end of 2023, but local officials are preparing to make it permanent. They say it's been a success on nearly all the measures they care about. But the lessons they've learned may not be so easy to transport to other cities.

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