By Beth Germano

BOSTON (CBS) – Riders in Boston may soon have two more free bus rides.

The ride-for-free signs on the 28 bus are already there, and riders said it’s a welcome relief.

READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments

“I was shocked that it was free this morning when I got on. I think it’s a good idea,” said one rider.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu wants to extend the three-month pilot program and is seeking an $8 million appropriation in federal funds to make it happen. The funds are already available through the American Rescue Plan to help communities impacted by the pandemic.

“Our charge is to see every person and listen, to meet people where they are, give hope and deliver on it.

READ MORE: Victim In Lowell Homicide Identified As 22-Year-Old Dejah Jenkins-Minus

Besides the 28 bus, Wu wants two other routes – the 23 bus and 29 bus – to be fare-free. These routes serve a lot of low-income residents in the Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan communities. Wu said she believes the pilot program is working and has increased ridership significantly. Groups like the Liveable Street Alliance say it’s in the numbers.

“The ridership on that route is almost up to pre-pandemic levels and is now the most popular bus route in the entire MBTA system,” said Stacy Thompson of the Liveable Street Alliance.

We said the benefits are already being proven. While the idea still needs City Council approval, it’s making the grade with riders who depend on these routes.

“It helps us, for folks that aren’t able to do it, aren’t able to get to work on time or don’t have the funds to do so – I think it helps,” said a rider.

MORE NEWS: Candlelight Vigil For Lowell Homicide Victim Dejah Jenkins-Minus Held In Mattapan

The pilot program would last at least two years if it’s approved to give the city time to measure the benefits.

Beth Germano