Youth get free ride thanks to SANDAG

The San Diego Association of Governments teamed up with the Metropolitan Transit System, North County Transit District, and the county of San Diego by providing free transit to anyone aged 18 and under. The Youth Opportunity Pass is funded by SANDAG as part of its Transit Equity Pilot, a program to make transit accessible for everyone. This pilot program allows youth unlimited rides on the bus, trolley, Coaster, and SPRINTER through June 30, 2023.

SANDAG Senior Director of Regional Planning Antoinette Meier said the goal of this pilot is to connect youth with opportunity for school, jobs, recreational activities, but also helps parents with relief.

“At a time when gas prices are really high this can help families save a little bit of money at the gas pump as well,” she said.

Meier said the program launched in May with a “total success” and within a month saw about a 40% increase in user ridership, and 75% youth riders taking advantage of transit countywide.

“The County provided a little additional funding, so it is 13 months, but we want the program to stick around, so we are actively seeking grants and new funding opportunities so that we can make this a permanent program for kids in the region,” she said. “Especially with back to school gearing up, we want to make sure families know about this.”

To have access to this program, if you do not have a Youth Pronto card or app, download the PRONTO app and register. The app is available on the App Store and Google Play or purchase a PRONTO card from the MTS Transit Store, NCTD Customer Service Centers, ticket machines at transit centers, or any retail location PRONTO cards are sold. The PRONTO app also has a Trip Planner and Next Departure tools for real-time information.

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