Lawrence Transit passengers can ride fare-free in 2023, starting Monday, Jan. 2.
The yearlong, fare-free pilot program is supported by state and federal transit funds and sales tax revenue. It applies to fixed-route buses, T Lift, Night Line, and future Sunday microtransit.
To be clear, “This means anyone can use any of the Lawrence Transit services for free throughout all of 2023,” according to a recent news release from the city.
In other communities, fare-free programs have resulted in ridership increases of 20% to 60%, according to the city.
Transit leaders are hopeful that the program will free up riders’ money so they can spend it instead on their families, homes, food, and so on, injecting money back into the local economy.
Another side effect, transit leaders hope, will be more efficient service as drivers won’t have to accept fares, verify reduced fare eligibility or “manage conflicts that can result from issues at the fare box,” according to the city.
The fare-free program will be reevaluated this fall to determine if it will be feasible to extend the pilot beyond Dec. 31.
How to ride
Check out all the fixed routes at this link. See the full transit guide with maps and schedules in PDF form at this link. You can use this Google Trip Planner tool to help determine how best to get around.
T Lift paratransit serves people who are disabled and cannot use the fixed-route buses. (Riders must apply and be certified to ride T Lift.) Night Line, a ride-share service that riders can schedule, runs from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
The planned Sunday microtransit options will essentially function like Uber or Lyft. That service is expected to start early this year, the city has said previously.
Those who haven’t used Lawrence Transit before but are interested in learning how it works can sign up for Travel Training, according to the release.
“Participants will gain the necessary skills to travel independently through hands-on experience with one of our Lawrence Transit experts,” according to the release. “If you or your organization are interested in learning more about the Travel Training program, please email Lawrence Transit at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The city has also expanded its fleet of electric buses, and it will have 11 total by 2024.
Riders can keep up with transit service updates via the app or by visiting lawrencetransit.org, calling 785-864-4644, following Lawrence Transit on Facebook, @LawrenceTransit, and on Twitter, @TransitLawrence.