Funded And Affordable: Should Public Transit Be Free? Trying to make transportation free for users? "Don't listen to the bureaucracy," Lawrence, Mass., Mayor Daniel Rivera says. "Pick the route and do it."

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Funded And Affordable: Should Public Transit Be Free?

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Funded And Affordable: Should Public Transit Be Free?

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Funded And Affordable: Should Public Transit Be Free?

Funded And Affordable: Should Public Transit Be Free?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/805666049/805710802" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The New York City subway system at rush hour. Andrew Burton/Andrew Burton / Getty Images hide caption

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Andrew Burton/Andrew Burton / Getty Images

The New York City subway system at rush hour.

Andrew Burton/Andrew Burton / Getty Images

What would happen if you could get to work each morning on the bus for free? Or if you could take your kids to the movies and get there for free? Would you drive less? Would it help you afford the other things you need?

Public transportation is supposed to be the low-cost alternative. For millions of Americans, it's a lifeline if they can't afford a car, or if they live in a city where there are no other alternatives but public transportation.

New York City is the mecca of mass transit. More than 5.5 million people ride the subway every day, and recently, the city began a crackdown on people who break the rules and ride for free. But which communities suffered most under this enforcement?

What does it take to give residents a free ride? Can any city do it? And once you do it, can you sustain it?

Joining us to talk about these questions are Laura Wagner, senior staff writer at Vice; David Jones, MTA board member; Angie Schmitt, transportation writer; and Daniel Rivera, mayor of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

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