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Mayor’s Budget Includes Free SEPTA Passes for 25,000

You are currently viewing Mayor’s Budget Includes Free SEPTA Passes for 25,000
Want free bus rides? It might happen sooner than you think!
  • Post category:News

Mayor Jim Kenney proposed his latest budget at the beginning of the month. The mayor’s budget for fiscal year 2024 includes a very interesting proposal: free SEPTA passes for city employees and 25,000 low-income Philadelphians. Kenney’s idea would require an $80 million investment from the city, but it would improve accessibility across the city for many Philadelphians who could use the mobility increase.

If Philadelphia adopts this proposal, it will follow in the footsteps of a few other cities across the country. Many cities chose to make public transit free during the pandemic, but now that the worst of that is in the rearview mirror, most cities have reinstated fare collection. However, Kansas City has a free bus program, and Washington, D.C., is adopting its own version of that program, too. Philadelphia’s proposal would be unique in that it would make all of its transit free with these passes, not just its buses. But is the free transit program even a good idea?

Why should the city consider offering free SEPTA passes?

The mayor’s proposal is based on the idea that increasing transportation opportunities will help low-income Philadelphians escape poverty. For many, transportation is a major obstacle to finding good, stable work. Therefore, providing free transit would allow many in disadvantaged communities to find better opportunities. In turn, this would help those communities break out of their cycles of poverty.

The benefits for the city are quite obvious. With this program, city employees would be able to get to their jobs much easier. Additionally, the program would reduce vehicle traffic in the city, easing the burden of air pollution on the city and reducing commute times for everyone else. Yes, the program would cost the city a decent amount. However, in city budget terms, $80 million isn’t a huge expense. Given the potential benefits of the program, we’re glad the city is considering making SEPTA passes free for many.

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