Marin Transit begins free fare pilot program to assist those impacted by pandemic

Bay Area

MARIN, Calif. (KRON) – Some residents in Marin County will now be offered free fares to ride Marin Transit starting October 1.

In a pilot program to help those impacted by the pandemic, free fares will be for older adults and people with disabilities.

Free transit passes will also be offered to families of low-income students. Students will be offered free fares for the summer of 2022 starting in June.

The program is a way to get ridership back up while offering a discounted fare as post-pandemic relief.

The temporary free fares would be for six months.

Ridership data will be closely monitored and Marin Transit will evaluate its options moving forward.

More than 1.3 million passenger trips were made during the pandemic by Marin Transit.

A rider survey from Marin Transit showed that fares are not a barrier for everyone — Free fares are being offered to those most in need.

“This is an equity-driven plan to rebuild ridership and deliver results to people who most need financial relief,” said Nancy Whelan, General Manager of Marin Transit. “Throughout the pandemic, Marin Transit service has been a lifeline for low-income and essential workers who continued to rely on transit while some sectors of the workforce have shifted to a remote work paradigm.  This program will maximize Marin Transit’s contribution to the regional economic recovery.” 

In this program, the following will be offered:

  • Free transit passes to the families of low-income students who qualify to receive Marin Transit Free Youth Pass. This offering would provide free transit access to low-income riders in the form of three free one-month passes to eligible families in November 2021.
  • Free rides on local fixed route service countywide for older adults age 65+ and persons with disabilities as a 6-month pilot from October 2021 through March 2022. 
  • Free Summer Pass for students for approximately 9 weeks in the summer of 2022. The passes will be offered with a valid student identification or proof of age. 

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