The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority board is set to vote Monday on a controversial new proposal that would eliminate no-fare passes for some rides. The issue has faced vocal opposition.
Currently, seniors and some people with disabilities qualify for free bus services through RIPTA. Under the proposed change, those currently eligible for the free passes would have to pay half fare, or one dollar.
Riders’ advocacy groups, including the RIPTA Rider’s alliance, say the action would cause undue financial hardship to those who rely on the no-fare passes to get around and remain autonomous. In all, the change could affect some 13,000 people in the state, according to advocates for the poor and homeless.
RIPTA officials say about a quarter of all RIPTA bus trips in 2014 were taken for free; an amount the agency says is financially unsustainable.
Those opposed to the change are asking for a delay on the vote, while another source of funding can be found to underwrite the no-fare passes.
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