Free Transit for San Diego Youth

The Youth Opportunity Pass program provides free transit to San Diego County youth in an effort to boost ridership and improve transportation options for young residents.

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April 20, 2022, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

San Diego County residents under 18 will have access to free transit service, according to an article by Jermaine Ong. “The SANDAG Youth Opportunity Pass pilot program, touted as the first of its kind in the region, is designed to make transportation easier for San Diegans 18 years of age and under, as well as encourage ridership.” As stated on the MTS website, “To be eligible for the Youth Opportunity Pass, riders 18 & under must have a Youth PRONTO app account, or a PRONTO Youth card, and travel with proof of eligibility.”

The program applies to Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District (NCTD) services. “Officials said the program is being funded by $6.13 million from SANDAG, in a partnership with San Diego County,” through June 30, 2023. The MTS website notes that “If the pilot program is not extended beyond June 30, 2023, normal Youth fares will be reinstated.”

Proponents of fare-free transit say eliminating fares helps increase equity, reduces the burden on low-income, transit-dependent riders, and eliminates the need for fare collection and enforcement. Others, meanwhile, caution that without additional investment in transit to replace lost revenue, free fares could lead to reductions in reliable service.

Friday, April 15, 2022 in ABC 10 News San Diego

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