SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The Board of Directors of the Association of Governments of San Diego on Friday approved a pilot program to address concerns about fairness in transit by providing free passes for people age 18 and under and increasing public transportation service on weeknights and weekends. especially in underserved areas.
Vivian Moreno, San Diego city councilor and chair of SANDAG’s social equity task force, said the pilot program is long in coming.
“Providing free transit passes for young people is the biggest investment our region can make to ensure that the number of transit riders increases in the future,” said Moreno.
“Free youth transit passes also have the immediate benefit of connecting young people to school, work, internships, and other education and career opportunities.
“The community has fought for these youth passes for years and their persistence has paid off,” she said.
The task force voted unanimously at its September 23 meeting to recommend that the SANDAG transport committee and board of directors approve a budget amendment to consider free youth passes and the increase transit service in underserved areas.
On October 1, the transportation committee also voted unanimously to recommend that council approve the amendment.
Free youth fares are expected to begin in the spring of 2022, pending approval from the North County Metro and District Transit System. An awareness campaign on the developments would begin before the youth’s passage and improvements to public transit are expected to begin in fall 2022.
The pilot project would end in late summer 2023, followed by a research report on the effectiveness of the program.