The DC Circulator will remain free through at least the end of September, per an emergency order issued by the District’s government on Monday.
D.C. Mayor Bowser and the District Department of Transportation issued an emergency rule extending free ridership on the Circulator network through the end of September.
The move, Bowser explained in a news release, seeks to encourage more riders to use the service as the city’s economy recovers from a mid-pandemic slump.
“Today, more residents, commuters and visitors are traveling in and around the District, and it is essential that they have as many safe, accessible, and affordable public transportation options as possible,” said Bowser. “Keeping the DC Circulator free as long as possible is a crucial part of meeting that objective.”
The Circulator eliminated fares in March 2020 during the coronavirus public health emergency. Bowser has been seeking to keep the bus service free despite the public health emergency’s expiration last month, and sought $6.5 million to that end in her 2022 budget proposal.
The new rule comes a week after the DC Council blocked the mayor’s plan to subsidize a $1 fare and keep the system free for commuters. Some council members rejected Bowser’s justification for the expenditure, seeing the six-route system as one that unevenly benefits tourists and affluent District residents.
Under the emergency rule, the Circulator’s free-fare policy will now continue during a promotional period ending Sept. 30.