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Two Years In, a Look at the Twin Cities Fare Discount Program

In 2017, Metro Transit in the Twin Cities raised fares but also started a program for low-income riders to help ease the burden of travel costs.
November 8, 2019, 7am PST | Camille Fink
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Tony Webster

The Transit Assistance Program started in the Twin Cities about two years ago at the same time that fares were raised by 25 cents. The TAP program lets low-income riders use the bus and rail system for $1 per trip with unlimited transfers for up to 2 1/2 hours.

"[It] replaced a bonus program that offered 10 percent discounts to any customer who bought rides in bulk using a stored-value card. In other words, rides got cheaper for low-income riders, but discounts for general customers went away," reports Frederick Melo.

Melo says that about 20,000 people are enrolled in the program and TAP participants have made 1.7 million trips, but more people are eligible to take advantage of the discounted fare. The program’s coordinator notes that the lower fare gives riders more travel flexibility by allowing them to make more trips.

Metro is partnering with 65 community organizations distributing the cards to clients. "The TAP program, which carries a $3 million cost over the two-year stretch, is paid for in large part by discontinuing the stored-value bonus for Go-To cards," notes Melo.

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Published on Monday, November 4, 2019 in Pioneer Press
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