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TriMet wants to change Student Pass Program, reduce Youth fares

TriMet is proposing to reduce its Youth fares at the same time that it is negotiating with the City of Portland and Portland Public Schools over continuing free bus passes for Portland high school students.

TriMet is proposing to reduce the single-ride ticket by 40 cents, from $1.65 to $1.25, and to reduce the monthly pass by $2, from $30 to $28. Youth fares are for those between the ages of 7 and 17.

All 12,600 PPS high school students receive free transit passes for the school year under the Student Pass Program. TriMet has been criticized for subsidizing the Portland passes while not providing any similar program to high school students in other districts in its service area.

PPS is the only school direct in the region not required to provide bus service for high school students. State law gives makes the exception because so many TriMet buses connect students to their schools.

Until now, Portland has paid less that one-third of the cost and TriMet has paid more. TriMet wants to split the cost of the free pass program more evenly, starting next school year.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane says the agency will reduce its contribution to the program in the form of reduced fare revenue of $634,000. That reduction, along with reducing the cost of the Youth fares and using $140,000 from uncommitted funds from the agency’s Low Income Mitigation fund, means the reduction in Youth fares will have no financial impact on TriMet’s budget, TriMet says.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane says that “making transit more affordable for all young people reduces barriers for youth and their families to using transit. This change also provides regional equity for all young people throughout the region.”

The fare change proposal requires a transit equity analysis to determine if there are any adverse effects to those who are low income or transit dependent. TriMet will hold a first reading and a public hearing on the ordinance at its May 28, 2014 meeting. Public comment is accepted through June 10, 2014 at 5 p.m. via:

Phone: 503-238-RIDE (7433)

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mail: TriMet Public Affairs

1800 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 300

Portland, OR 97201

If approved by the TriMet board of directors, the change would take effect on Sept. 1, 2014. The TriMet board will consider the change to the PPS Student Pass Program at its June 11, 2014 board meeting.