April 11, 2015
After eight years of a hard-fought campaign, we are excited to share that our Youth Pass pilot program is now open for enrollment! Young people can register for the pilot on the MBTA's website through April 30.
"It's good that we're starting a Youth Pass pilot. It's time that youth have something that can benefit our lives," said REEP Youth Organizer Asia Fleming. "I have friends who sometimes have to choose between school or work because they don't have enough money to take the bus to both. We don't have a choice but to go to school, and we're emptying our pockets to do so."
This year-long program will run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, for 1,500 youth ages 12 to 21 living in Boston, Chelsea, Malden and Somerville. Participants can choose between monthly ($26) and weekly ($7) passes, and may switch between the two over the course of the pilot. A random lottery of registrants will determine who fills the spots, and passes must be purchased in person at the designated Youth Pass hub of each city. Young people may continue registering after April 30, as spaces may open up over time.
Representatives of our Youth Affordabilit(T) Coalition (YAC) worked intensely with the MBTA Youth Pass working group over the fall to develop the structure, parameters and logistics of the pilot. In December, the proposed pilot was presented to the MassDOT board for review and has been incorporated into the MBTA's budget for the coming year.
The pilot will measure ridership usage and determine the feasibility of future expansion and integration as a permanent fare category. With the news this week of Governor Baker's fixation on MBTA "reforms" that include repealing our 2013 law on fare hike caps to force massive fare increases on riders, the next phase of this campaign may not be easy - but we're not backing down.
"Youth are our future. We need to get where we need to go, so we can become who we want to be," said Tyrese White, REEP Youth Organizer.
Thank you for supporting this work for affordable and accessible public transportation. Stay tuned for updates as the pilot progresses!
Youth Pass pilot hubs
Boston: Department of Youth Engagement and Employment, 1483 Tremont Street
Chelsea: Chelsea Collaborative, 318 Broadway
Malden: Malden City Hall, 200 Pleasant Street
Somerville: Somerville City Hall, 93 Highland Avenue
Young people ages 12 to 21 living in Boston, Chelsea, Somerville or Malden.
Twelve-year-olds must apply in person at their city's hub, due to regulations that restrict online data from being collected from youth ages 12 and under.
Residents ages 19 to 21 who are selected in the lottery will have to meet need-based criteria by demonstrating enrollment in high school, a GED or other education program, job training program, or state or federal benefit program (like Mass Health, WIC, or living in public housing). This helps to prevent overlap between the University Pass and Youth Pass constituencies.
For a full list of eligible programs or other information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (617) 222-1513.