In 2015, the RI Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) proposed to eliminate no-fare bus passes for low-income seniors and disabled persons, which previously allowed eligible seniors and disabled persons to ride all RIPTA buses without requiring payment of bus fare for roughly 40 years. On February 1, 2017, RIPTA permanently terminated the no-fare bus pass program, requiring previously-eligible persons to pay $.50 per ride and $.25 per transfer. This termination affects over 9,000 disabled persons and 4,000 low-income seniors who relied on no-fare passes.
Starting in January 2017, the RI Medical Navigator Partnership has partnered with the Brown undergraduate program Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE), the Senior Agenda Coalition of RI, and the Rhode Island Organizing Project to join ongoing efforts to reinstate the no-fare bus pass. RIMNP’s homeless participants exist across the spectrum of age and ability, and most rely heavily on the existence of the RIPTA no-fare bus pass. Our participants depend on public transportation to access social events, food banks, overnight shelters, community programs, meal programs, recovery meetings, support groups, and medical appointments. We maintain that transportation access is a public health issue, and RIMNP stands in solidarity with our participants and all affected by the termination of the no-fare bus pass. No-fare is fair.