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1540 WADK.com Updates

Bus riders make last-minute push to reinstate free passes

Elderly or disabled people on low incomes who have been allowed to ride Rhode Island's public bus system for free aren't happy that they will have to start paying this week.

Dozens of riders gathered in Providence on Tuesday to urge Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo to stop the change that takes effect Wednesday.

Passengers who had qualified for the free rides will have to pay 50 cents per ride on Rhode Island Public Transit Authority buses. The full fare is $2.

The Raimondo administration announced a pilot program Tuesday to give away free 10-trip tickets each month for some people who were previously able to ride for free.

Advocates and riders say it's inadequate in part because it's only for senior citizens and veterans, not the disabled.

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