Fresno city councilmembers propose FAX buses go fare-free as part of new clean-air initiative

The act also aims to increase FAX bus efficiency and safety.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno city leaders have launched a new proposal that would eliminate city bus fares to encourage people to take public transportation to keep Valley air clean.

Fresno city councilmembers Tyler Maxwell, Esmeralda Soria, and Vice President Nelson Esparza held a press conference on Friday to introduce the "Zero Fare Clean Air Act."

If passed, the act would eliminate the $1.25 fare passengers pay when boarding a bus. Experts say that eliminating fare payments can speed up bus travel times, since drivers don't need to wait for passengers to feed their money into the farebox.

City officials say free-fares will help people get to work and get around.

They add that the change will help some of the most disadvantaged people in Fresno. Officials say 77% of FAX bus riders do not have access to a vehicle, while 76% make less than $20,000 a year.

Councilmember Maxwell also believes the change would help more people get vaccinated. "We have to make sure that we rise to the occasion, we provide the transportation to those folks in our community that do not have access to a vehicle, so that they can get their vaccinations more quickly," said Maxwell.

The city wants to follow the lead of other areas, like Clovis and Visalia, which have already made public transportation fare free.

To finance the initiative, the councilmembers have proposed a private or public partnership, using the city's share of Measure C transportation funding, or using federal COVID-19 relief funds.

EDITORS NOTE: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that FAX buses were going fare-free. At this time, this is only a proposal and would need approval from the city council.
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