South San Francisco, CA July 11, 2022 Press Release
The SamTrans Board of Directors voted and approved a pass program that will permanently give low-income students free rides on all SamTrans buses at its July meeting. The SamTrans Youth Unlimited Pass Program was designed, and will be executed, in partnership with the San Mateo County Office of Education.
All students that are classified as Socioeconomically Disadvantaged (SED) by the California Department of Education are qualified for the Youth Unlimited Pass. SED students include students that are eligible for the Free and Reduced-Price Meal program, students experiencing homelessness, foster-youth, migrant students, or students whose parents did not graduate high school.
“With the Youth Unlimited Pass Program now becoming permanent, we are establishing a strong connection between the next generation of public transit riders and SamTrans,” said Peter Ratto, SamTrans Board Chair. “This program is a wonderful collaboration with the San Mateo County Office of Education.”
“Not only does this action provide important transportation options for students, but also helps them develop confidence with public transportation as well as practice environmentally responsible habits,” said Nancy Magee, County Superintendent of Schools. “We are proud to partner with SamTrans on this effort.”
Participating students and parents received a survey in early April that provided SamTrans with information regarding the effectiveness of the program. More than 300 students or their parents/guardians participated in the survey. The overall goals of the pilot program were to reduce transportation costs for families with financial challenges, attract new and more frequent riders, and understand the potential operation impacts of providing free fares to a subset of youth riders.
Based on the survey results, most of the youth used the passes for trips to/from school while others used it for recreational trips, shopping trips and after school program trips. Over 80% of survey respondents say the pass has helped them save money, and almost 60% were able to go more places. From January through June, there was approximately 198,400 trips taken using the Youth Unlimited pass.
For more information on the Youth Unlimited Program, visit: www.samtrans.com/
Go to Get 2 School with SamTrans to see what bus routes serve your school or call SamTrans Customer Service at 1-800-660-4287.