• Lawrence offering 2 years of free bus rides for certain routes

    By: Litsa Pappas

    Updated:

    LAWRENCE, Mass. - Starting Monday, the city of Lawrence is offering free bus rides to people under a new grant program, and some of those riders are looking forward to some big savings over the next couple of years.

    "I take 37 every day like four times a day," said Michelle Harper, who rides the bus every day from Lawrence to her job in Andover.

    But Monday's ride had a pleasant surprise for her and many others in Lawrence: their ride was free.

    "I had heard that they were going to be doing this, and was very pleased to know that it is, because the bus ride is a salvation savior," said Bob Fuchetti. "Believe me, I'm working on getting another car and I’m tired of walking."

    Related: State formula helping replace schools in certain communities, but not others

    Under a taxpayer grant, the city of Lawrence now offers free bus rides for three routes starting Monday. Those free rides will include route 34 to Prospect Hill, route 37 along Beacon Street, and the downtown shuttle for route 85.

    According to the latest U.S. census, the median household income in the city of Lawrence is just over $39,000 per year. So a lot of riders say this new program will be huge for so many families.

    "It'll buy a good meal, or whatever you'd like, or your lady flowers," Fuchetti said.

    Riders say under the new grant they could save anywhere from $40 to $60 each month, depending on how often they rely on the bus. And it’s easy for these riders to find ways to spend that extra cash.

    "I can probably use it on bills, so it's pretty cool," Harper said.

    The free rides will last for two years, making a huge difference for regulars like Harper.

    "They should have done it a long time ago, but I'm happy they're doing it now," she said.

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