MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack on Wednesday launched a year-long pilot program that will provide MBTA monthly passes to up to 1,500 youth between the ages of 12 and 21 in the cities of Boston, Somerville, Chelsea and Malden.
The pilot program was spearheaded by efforts of the ECOYouth Club at the Chelsea Collaborative, and came only after numerous meetings with the MBTA in an effort led by the young people.
“While we continue to work with MassDOT and the MBTA to provide transportation choices that are world-class and reliable year-round, we also want to ensure those options are accessible for our youth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Youth Pass Pilot is a step in the right direction to find new and innovative ways to provide access at a price that is affordable for young people to get to work, school and extracurricular activities.”
At Roxbury’s Dudley Station, Secretary Pollack was joined by representatives from a coalition of youth advocacy organizations. The partnership between the MBTA and the cities is designed to extend the current Student Pass available through some middle and high schools to a larger population of young people within the MBTA service area.
“The Youth Pass Pilot Program being launched today was developed by a working group of MassDOT, MBTA, youth advocates, and municipal partners who met for eight months to address the transportation access needs identified by the youth,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The pilot will measure costs to the MBTA and the benefits to the youth, including their ability to access jobs, school, and civic opportunities.”
Instead of schools, the pass will be administered by municipal partners. The Youth Pass is a LinkPass valid on local bus and subway and will cost $26 a month or $7 for a 7-day pass (7-day pass availability depends on the city partner). Individuals between the ages of 12 and 18 are eligible if they live in Boston, Chelsea, Somerville or Malden and are not receiving a Student Pass from their school. Residents aged 19-21 must meet a needs-based criteria by demonstrating enrollment in high school, a GED or other education program, job training program, or state or federal benefit program.
The pilot will collect data to evaluate the benefits to youth, costs, and the feasibility of having partners administer reduced fare products. Participants (and their parents) must sign consent forms agreeing to anonymous data collection on their use of the MBTA in order to measure the program’s impact.
The MBTA took applications for the pilot and over 2,700 youth applied. Participants were allocated a set number of spots in each city. A waiting list for each city was created, and youth can still apply on the MBTA website to join the waitlist.
For more information, please visit www.mbta.com/youthpass.