Fares for the Birmingham Xpress (Bus Rapid Transit) line will remain free for riders until the end of the year.
In June, the Birmingham City Council approved an amendment to the current agreement between the City and the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority by adding $300,000 to cover the cost of suspending fares for the Birmingham Xpress while the consolidated payment system is being developed.
As it currently stands, riders who were utilizing both the fixed-route MAX Transit buses and the Birmingham Xpress (BX) Bus Rapid Transit system are having to pay separate fares for each. The consolidated payment system would fix this issue and make navigating the city more accessible.
Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, Chair of the Transportation Committee, said this one-time allocation will be bridge funding while the BJCTA temporarily suspends fares for the BX. “Having a consolidated payment system for both of these bus systems is really going to help alleviate a problem for some of our riders,” Councilor O’Quinn said.
“The first few months of the Birmingham Xpress being operational there were no fees and ridership was really high. That dropped off a bit once the BJCTA began charging fares. One of the side benefits of the BJCTA suspending fares is that I think we will see ridership increase again and maybe introduce more people to the Birmingham Xpress.”
During the initial discussions to provide bridge funding, the Council heard from several riders who shared their experiences of having to navigate the multiple payment platforms to be able to get to and from work. The consolidated payment system will help fix this problem for riders across the city.
“Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority appreciates Mayor Woodfin and the City of Birmingham for moving transit in the right direction,” said BJCTA Executive Director Charlotte Shaw. “The proposed amendment will assist BJCTA with servicing customers as our systems continue to expand and grow.”