FEATURE: Free Ride?

Lawrence public transit starts new program to have free bus rides in 2023


Keat Hockenbury

Many new opportunities have opened for students with the newly free city bus fare. The new price has made it possible for more people to get to school, social events or school activities.

Conrad Hill

On Aug. 16 2022, the Lawrence City Commision approved the Fare Free Pilot Program which includes free rides on all Lawrence transit services all throughout 2023.

According to public transit and parking manager Adam Weigel, the program was requested by the community for many years.

“Fare free transit has been a community-driven desire for several years, and the time is right to give it a try,” Weigel said in a City of Lawrence article.

The main objective of the program was for regular transit riders to put that money into other resources, for drivers to have a better and faster work environment and making it more beneficial to the community in general.

“It was really the combination of community interest and then us having some available funds to be able to cover that operational cost,” Weigel said.

According to Wegiel, with the electric, eco-friendly buses, Lawrence benefits from the increase in bus riders since the pilot program, which in turn leads to a decrease in the amount of carbon emissions.

“With free public transit more people are using it and therefore there’s less overall cars releasing those fossil fuels into the environment, which is great,” freshman Ebi Hegeman said.

The free bus rides affect many people across the school. On an Instagram poll from @fsjournalism, 17% of students of 149 said that they take Lawrence public transit, and according to Hegeman, it’s important not just for kids who cannot afford bus fares, but also for kids who do not have rides to or from school.

“It’s really helpful for other kids, especially underclassmen,” Junior Magali Rodriguez said, “I feel like it’s a really good way for them to get to school.” 

Looking forward, Wegiel hopes to continue the program saying that it would be a main goal for the public transits.