Through March of next year, the state legislature has prepaid your fees for Vineyard Transit Authority bus rides, as well as other VTA offerings.
The free rides, which began last week, are courtesy of the Try Transit program, funded by the Massachusetts legislature.
Also free through March will be the VTA’s weekly Medivan to Boston-area hospitals for people disabled or age 60 and up, as well as the Lift, the VTA’s door-to-door ADA paratransit service.
“Just get on the bus and ride,” says VTA office manager Lauren Thomas. Thomas says that drivers will still count passengers, as is required by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
This year of Try Transit follows the state legislature approving, in the state fiscal year 2024 budget, $15 million for up to six months of fare-free rides. The funding will cover free rides for all of the state’s 15 Regional Transit Authorities.
For the Try Transit program, the VTA applied for a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for just under $289,000. This will reimburse the VTA for fees not charged from Nov. 24 through March.
“[Try Transit] is trying to attract ridership in the off-season, and give a financial break to year-round riders,” says Thomas. “This is a difficult time of the year for a lot of people … [We] also hope to attract new riders.”
This is the second year of the Try Transit program, which first ran last year from Black Friday to Dec. 31.