With resources from Keep Oregon Moving, TriMet continues to find new ways to support low-income riders with a free pass for unlimited rides for the first month of enrollment
Relief is on the way for new and returning riders to TriMet’s income-based reduced fare program. You’re getting a month of unlimited rides on our buses and trains, for free! This year, as a result of COVID-19’s impact on ridership, we have access to an unexpected financial resource: unspent funds from the state of Oregon. These funds, which were distributed to TriMet under Keep Oregon Moving, must be used to help riders with low incomes access transit.
Starting in July and for the next two years, TriMet will give every new and re-enrolling participant in our reduced fare program based on income a free, one-month pass. This will offer continued support to the many riders and essential workers who have relied on our system throughout 2 ½ years of the pandemic’s unprecedented impact, while ensuring the funds serve the members of our community for whom they are intended.
A reduced fare for those who qualify based on income
TriMet’s reduced fare based on income is available to Oregon residents, ages 18 through 64, who qualify for our Honored Citizen Fare based solely on annual income. The discounted rate is available to people who participate in programs such as Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or who earn up to 200% of the federal poverty rate. That’s currently about $27,180 per year for an individual and $55,500 for a household of four. Participation grants unlimited rides on TriMet’s fixed-route buses and trains for 50% off the cost of a 2 ½ hour or full-day ride. It caps monthly costs for riding at $28 per month, a $72 discount off the cost of Adult fare.
Since TriMet began offering income-based reduced fare in 2018, more than 42,000 Oregonians have signed up to ride for less. Participants are required to re-submit documents verifying qualification in the program every two years. See if you qualify and find easy steps for verifying income and getting your personalized Honored Citizen Hop card at trimet.org/save.
TriMet Transit Assistance Pass: How it works
Starting in July of 2022, TriMet will grant a one month pass to every new and renewing participant in the program. Identified as the “TriMet Transit Assistance” pass, it will provide a month of rides across the system. The pass will be loaded into the participant’s personalized Hop Fastpass® account once they complete the enrollment process.
Riders must tap their Hop card to activate the pass. During the month-long period for which the pass can be used, riders should remember to tap with every ride to show proof of valid fare. The dates that the pass is valid will be displayed in account information that is available at myhopcard.com, the Hop app and by calling 1-844-MYHOPCARD.
Unexpected, one-time Keep Oregon Moving funds available for use
The Keep Oregon Moving Act created the state’s first-ever stable source of funding for public transportation and helped establish TriMet’s low-income fare program. However, with fewer people riding during the COVID-19 pandemic, less funds set aside for the program were used. TriMet is taking advantage of the available funding to provide additional support for people struggling financially.
Over the next two years, TriMet will pilot expanded programs with the funding, which will be managed within our current Access Transit Fare Program. The new programs will provide additional resources for individuals who are low income and also part of a vulnerable rider group, such as seniors, veterans, college students and people experiencing disabilities.
The free month pass for current and re-enrolling participants in TriMet’s reduced fare program based on income, is the second program to roll out this year. In May, we announced that a portion of the redirected funding would go toward expanding access to transit during summer months for high school-aged students at the 18 school districts within our tri-county district, which also participate in our Access Transit High School Program.
Although these programs are short-term in nature and meant to serve as pilots to help inform future approaches and efforts, TriMet staff will be working with members of the Committee for Accessible Transportation (CAT), the Transit Equity Advisory Committee (TEAC) and others to explore new and different funding strategies that could be used to sustain and grow these efforts in the future.
Committed to equity
TriMet believes access to public transportation is access to opportunity, and we are committed to transit equity. As a public transportation agency, we serve a broad and diverse community. Our values are rooted in ensuring all riders have fair and equal access to transit services, without regard to race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or income level. Learn more at trimet.org/equity.