Take action for fare-free transit for all California youth!
AB 1350 (Gonzalez) would require all transit agencies to provide fare-free service for all youth up to age 18 in California. This would be a big win for at least four important issues:
Transportation is often the second highest expense for low-income families. Hundreds of thousands of children rely on transit to get to school, work, sports programs, or afterschool daycare. When transit isn’t accessible, families spend more time driving (and stuck in traffic) — or often young people just miss out on school, work experience, or other enriching activities. These free youth passes wouldn’t be dependent on income, so they also eliminate the stigma that comes with a means-based discount.
Rising emissions from transportation are keeping us from meeting our state's climate goals. If California is going to meangfully reduce GHG emissions, young Californians must become regular transit users, regardless of income or education status.
Habits that start in childhood often last a lifetime, and AB 1350 will help young people become lifelong transit riders, and hopefully even transit advocates. Ridership will increase, which will help (and pressure) transit agencies to provide more robust service throughout the day.
AB 1350 will help students get to and stay in school, which not only helps students learn and succeed, it helps the schools themselves. Public schools are funded based on their average daily attendance. When kids don’t show up, which often happens because transportation is not accessible, our schools lose money.
Where does the bill stand?
The bill passed the Assembly in January, and is moving on to the Senate, where we expect some push-back and need to show strong support (starting in the Senate Transportation Committee).
Some transit agencies have come on in support of the bill, but many have grumbled about the potential cost. TransForm and Assemblymember Gonzalez have both stated that we are interested in helping transit agencies get more robust funding for these (and other) operations, and we believe this bill is vital to moving all of these conversations forward.
Please tell your state senator to support AB 1350!
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