This news story initially appeared on Metro, School Bus Fleet's sister publication.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) announced that it is waiving fares for youth in its service area, effective immediately.
The RydeFreeRT program aims to decrease truancy and eliminate obstacles for young people to get to school, afterschool activities, sports, clubs, and jobs, according to a news release from the transit agency.
A research brief released in November 2018 that recounts the findings of a travel survey administered to students in three Sacramento City Unified School District (USD) schools stated that about one in four students reported missing at least one day of school in the six weeks prior to the survey because of transportation barriers.
“What we’re doing here is filling an important gap,” said Henry Li, general manager and CEO of SacRT. “We’re offering universal access all day, every day during regular service hours for all Sacramento area youth that live in or attend school in our service area.”
RydeFreeRT waives youth fares on bus, light rail, and SmaRT Ride microtransit service across SacRT’s service area, which includes the cities of Sacramento, Folsom, Citrus Heights, and Rancho Cordova and parts of Sacramento County. Approximately 220,000 students in grades pre-K through 12, home-schooled students, and foster and homeless youth are all eligible.
Students enrolled in schools in SacRT’s service area have already been issued their 2019-20 student ID card, which displays a special sticker for free SacRT ridership. Youth not enrolled in school can receive a RydeFreeRT card at a Sacramento library or at SacRT’s Customer Service and Sales Center.
Sacramento City USD announced the free transportation program on its Facebook page on Tuesday. View photos the district shared of the program’s launch below.