Maryland

No More Free Circulator Rides: Mayor’s Program Out of Funds

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Starting Tuesday, Oct. 1, you'll once again have to pay $1 to ride the Circulator bus. 

The D.C. Council told the mayor's office there's no more funding to keep the Circulator free.

Last winter, Mayor Muriel Bowser had made the Circulator free to use indefinitely — and the mayor's office says ridership increased. Bowser pushed hard to make the free rides permanent, saying it would promote equity.

#FairShotDC, the mayor's equity slogan, was even shown on the digital bus banners.

Mayor Bowser proposed $3.1 million to keep the program going, but the D.C. Council rejected the request.

Critics say the free rides don't benefit the average D.C. resident because many Circulator lines serve tourist-friendly sites including the National Mall, Nationals Park, The Wharf and Georgetown. Buses also go to Union Station; Columbia Heights in D.C.; Congress Heights, Maryland; and Rosslyn, Virginia.

Riders can pay with their SmarTrip cards.

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