Support a permanent Youth Pass!

June 1, 2016

The MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board will be deciding the future of our Youth Pass on Monday, June 6. We need your support to make sure the program becomes permanently accessible for youth in our region!

Data from the first year of our pilot program shows what young people have been saying all along: Affordable public transportation dramatically increases access to education, work, healthcare and other activities. Participants ages 19 to 21 rode the MBTA two-thirds more with a Youth Pass, while trips by out-of-school youth ages 18 and under doubled.

These extra trips were primarily made during off-peak hours (not during rush hour), which means unused seats are getting filled without any strain on service. During the school year, the most frequent destination for participants was class, followed by work. In the summer, the number one use of the pass was to get to work, followed by errands, school, extracurricular activities like volunteering, family responsibilities and more.

Further, the program was proven affordable and effective: The pilot results show that the costs to the T are much less than anticipated and that our MBTA-city partnerships are successful at distributing the passes. Participating cities are supportive (see comments from Boston, Chelsea and Malden) and despite some concern, the program experienced no instances of fraud.

This work for a transit system that is affordable and accessible to youth has spanned nine years and touched the lives of thousands of young people. In 2014, after our Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition (YAC) succeeded in holding MassDOT to their promise of a pilot, YAC youth leaders worked with the T to research logistics and plan the scope of the program. The pilot began on July 1, 2015, for youth ages 12 to 21, and will end on June 30, 2016. Over 4,000 young people participated in the program.

It's time for the FMCB to make the Youth Pass a permanent MBTA fare category that is available to all youth! With the support and feedback of our city partners, we're also calling on the T to make the pass available to low-income youth up to age 25 and to extend the program through July and August of this year. The extension would allow participants to continue using the pass through September 1, when the Student Pass (and the identically-priced Youth Pass) will be offered at Charlie Card vending machines.

We need your support!

  • Testify. Join us on Monday, June 6, 12:00 p.m. at the Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, third floor, Boston, MA 02116. Tell the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board why you support the Youth Pass! Please bring a photo ID and arrive 30 minutes early to sign up for public comments.
  • Tweet. Show your support on Twitter using #YouthPass and include @MBTA and @MassDOT. See updates and retweet @YouthWay and @AceEJ!
  • Call and email. Make sure the MBTA and public officials know that we want to make the Youth Pass permanent! Please CC us at info@ace-ej.org.
    • MBTA & FMCB: (617) 222-3188, CCiampa@mbta.com, OKane@mbta.com
    • Secretary Pollack: (857) 368-8892, cheryl.a.dustin@state.ma.us
    • Phone script: "Hello, my name is ____. I would like to leave a message for (MBTA Board/Secretary Pollack). The Youth Pass pilot ends this month, and I believe it is critically important for the Youth Pass to continue as a full and permanent part of the fare structure. Young people should have affordable access to public transportation. Thank you." (Please make the script your own!)
  • Donate. Make a contribution to support this work.

Thank you to everyone who has worked with us over the past nine years to make this possible!