City and TriMet agree to continue YouthPass for upcoming school year

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Contributions from City, TriMet and Portland Public Schools keep program intact

Portland Mayor Sam Adams and TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane are pleased to announce a solution to continue the popular Youth Pass Program for the 2012-13 school year. Valued at $2.9 million, the Youth Pass provides free transit passes for the nearly 13,000 high school students in the PPS District who ride TriMet to get to class, to after-school activities and to work. TriMet and the City of Portland have agreed that the city will fund $200,000 of the program and Portland Public Schools (PPS) will fund $950,000. TriMet will absorb the program balance of $1.8 million in foregone fare revenue.

Over the past several weeks, TriMet and the City have been working together to ensure that PPS high school students have transit access in the only Oregon school district where high schools are not served by yellow school buses. The partners have agreed to work together to identify future sources of funding and ways to lessen the budget impact to both agencies.

“TriMet is a top-tier transit agency and a valuable community partner. I am grateful for their collaboration to ensure that Portland Public’s high school students get to class, activities and jobs – and most importantly, graduate from high school on time,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “This next generation of TriMet riders thanks them as well.”

“TriMet and the City are strong partners, and this agreement continues that partnership while maintaining this valuable transit program moving forward,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane.

YouthPass Background

The YouthPass Program started in September 2008 as a pilot project to provide free transit passes to students at Jefferson and Franklin High Schools, thanks in part to successful lobbying from the Multnomah Youth Commission. In September 2009, the program expanded to provide free transit passes to nearly 13,000 high school students in the PPS District. Eighty percent of PPS youth report using their pass on a regular basis.

The YouthPass Program was funded through Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program, which ended this year. Now, the City, TriMet ,and Portland Public Schools are working together to provide this essential program to high school students. A working group will be established in early 2013 to create a template program funding in future years.