Win for student mobility fuels Youth Pass campaign!

April 17, 2014

Youth Power March, 2014

The Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition (YAC), led by REEP and our partners, won a crucial victory for transit justice last month when the MBTA announced that beginning in July 2014, the price of the seven-day Student Pass, which includes weekends, will drop to the same price as the five-day Student Pass. For nearly a year, YAC has pushed the MBTA to remove the weekend barrier imposed on students. As a result, roughly 21,000 middle and high school students will switch over to the unrestricted pass when returning to school this fall.

A recent survey by Charlestown High School students working with REEP found that over 70 percent of students there currently miss out on basic opportunities such as school events, time with friends, jobs, arts and culture, and sports on the weekends, due to unaffordable fares. This victory is a major improvement for thousands of students in Boston and surrounding communities who use a Student Pass.

This change is part of an MBTA budget that includes a five percent fare increase on all modes of transportation. The sole exception is paratransit fares on THE RIDE, which was recently lowered from $4 to $3, thanks to the sustained, powerful organizing by Massachusetts Senior Action Coalition (MSAC).

Winning weekends for the Student Pass brings us one step closer to YAC’s goal of a $10 monthly Youth Pass available to all Boston youth ages 12 to 21. In the coming weeks, we will continue to push the MBTA to implement a Youth Pass pilot program this year.

REEP and our partners in YAC have spent seven years building support and working with the T toward a Youth Pass. In 2011, then-MBTA General Manager Richard Davey, now Secretary of Transportation, committed to pilot the Youth Pass when the MBTA’s financial situation improved. Last year, under pressure from YAC and the Public Transit-Public Good Coalition, the state passed new public transportation funding, sending the T approximately $150 million for operations each year through 2018. We believe it’s time for the T to begin a pilot and take a concrete step toward ending the affordability crisis for youth riders.

This spring, we will deploy several actions to build momentum toward the Youth Pass, and we need your help!

Why do you need a Youth Pass?

Sign the Youth Pass Petition and tweet your support!
With several thousands signatures and counting, please sign the Youth Pass petition and share it with your friends. (insert link) If you have a twitter account, please use it to share the petition and to tweet your support for a #YouthPass by tagging @YouthWay, @MBTA and @MassDOT.

Call-in to Secretary Davey
Between now and May 8, YAC groups will conduct call-in days to Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey’s office. We are calling on him to follow through with commitments made in 2011 and implement a Youth Pass pilot this year. If you can make this call, please contact dave@ace-ej.org for more information.

Youth Pass Day: Wednesday, April 23, 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., 26 West Street
Next week youth will gather with supporters to celebrate the progress made toward the vision of a Youth Pass and fare equity in the MBTA. Please join us for Youth Pass themed arts, games and more.

MBTA Budget Public Hearings
Stand with youth and testify at an upcoming MBTA hearing on the budget and fare increase proposal: April 22, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Transportation Building and April 24, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Roxbury Community College cafeteria.

Youth Pass March: Thursday, May 8, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., location TBD
Join us and hundreds of youth on May 8 to march to the Transportation Building and demand the Youth Pass pilot as a concrete step towards ending the youth rider affordability crisis!