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Imagine what a free T could do for area’s tourism industry

Commuters ride on the 28 bus, which runs from Ruggles Station to Mattapan, on Sept. 28. Mayor Michelle Wu has proposed extending a pilot program that made the 28 bus free.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

An editorial last week mentioned some of the advantages that could come from “freeing the T,” including financial relief for low-income passengers and reduced pollution and congestion (“Free-bus experiment could lead to something bigger,” Nov. 28). Here’s another possible benefit that, at the very least, ought to be looked into: increased tourism and the revenues that come with it.

A hard-nosed analysis is clearly needed, but I’m willing to bet that if Boston made the MBTA free for all people, and widely publicized this move, it would not only draw more riders from within the metropolitan area but also make Boston an even more attractive tourist destination than it already is. Even a slight gain in tourist dollars could tip the balance in favor of a free T, especially when combined with the main dividends: decreased traffic, cleaner air, and enhanced mobility for all residents throughout Greater Boston.


Steve Nadis