Washington D.C. considering free bus service, but could it work in NYC?

The MTA is facing a growing budget deficit and has responded by raising fares in the coming months, but in Washington D.C., the city council wants to make the city's bus service free for riders beginning next summer. But could it work in New York city?

The legislation announced Thursday says that buses will become faster and more efficient, as well as make the transit system more equitable for low-income riders. 

According to Danny Pearlstein of the New York City Riders' Alliance, although free buses might work in the nation's capital, there is a reality in NYC when it comes to the financial burdens the MTA has to grapple with.

"The MTA is in desperate need of new revenue from the state," Pearlstein said. "The governor should make a targeted investment in more frequent service and the mayor must come to the table to speed up the buses and bus lanes."

According to the latest MTA statistics, bus ridership in the city is by far the largest in the U.S., with 1.25 million people riding the city's buses every day. 

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The Washington D.C. Council will first vote on the legislation next Tuesday, and a vial vote is expected on December 20. 

As for the MTA, it declined to comment about whether such a change is something a city like New York could consider.