08/13/2014 09:50 EDT | Updated 10/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Public transit goes free of charge in South Shore communities

Three South Shore communities are hoping free bus fare will encourage more people to get on board with public transit.

Candiac, Saint-Philippe and La Prairie began waiving bus fares this week, and at least one bus driver is already noticing a difference.

“[Before] it was no clients… one or two. But today it’s about 10 per voyage. It’s very good,” Amir Michel told CBC News.

Passengers also think it’s great, but some wonder how long the free rides can last.

Candiac’s local transit committee, the CIT Le Richelain, said the policy is permanent.

“We want to encourage people to use local transit, and turn it into a habit with our youth,” said committee president Johanne Beaulac.

The free fares only apply to local routes.

Commuters heading to other cities such as Montreal still have to pay for their trip.

A similar policy is already in effect in a number of other South Shore communities.

Public buses in the town of Ste-Julie went free in January, and Mayor Suzanne Roy said it's not costing taxpayers any extra.

"We were able to do it without extra spending," she told CBC News.

The only issue, she said, is competition for spaces at the free parking lot next to the bus terminal.