Youth Way Campaign Releases Report, Demands Youth Pass

June 9, 2011

We demand a youth pass!

This is an exciting week for the Youth Way on the MBTA Campaign!

After three years of youth-led research and organizing for a new Youth Pass, we are releasing a report titled Opportuni(T): Youth riders, the affordability crisis, and the Youth Pass solution. The report is now available on our Youth Way website.

While thousands of youth depend on the MBTA and ride it daily, many can’t afford to pay adult fares. As Opportuni(T) shows, affordable access for youth riders on public transportation benefits everyone. Public transit is part of a sustainable future for the Boston area, and improving access for youth today encourages life-long public transit riders tomorrow.

We propose the creation of a new Youth Pass, an unrestricted monthly LinkPass available for ages 12 to 21 at Charlie Card machines for $10 a month. While the MBTA provides discounted student fares, the benefit reaches less than 50 percent of young people. The Youth Pass is an innovative solution to young people’s crisis of affordability. Its creation will transform and increase youth riders’ access to the MBTA, bridging the transportation gap to education, employment, healthcare and community involvement.

Youth organizers from the Youth Way campaign will hold a press conference on Friday, June 10, at 11:00 a.m., followed by the first-ever Youth Riders Banquet at 4:30 p.m. At the banquet, over 100 youth riders will gather to share dinner and review the report with special guest Richard Davey, General Manager of the MBTA.

The Youth Riders Banquet closes out the Week of Action for a Youth Pass which began on Tuesday. Youth rode trains and buses from five different stations, collecting postcards and converging on Downtown Crossing. On Wednesday, we marched from Downtown Crossing to the Transportation Building to deliver more than 500 postcards in favor of the pass to Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Mullan.

Opportuni(T)

We are asking for a 500-person pilot study of the Youth Pass to better understand how young people use the T and the potential impacts of the pass. This pilot would build on the feasibility study conducted by MassDOT last year.

As part of our Youth Pass proposal, we’re asking the MBTA to speed up implementation of the University Pass program, in which large universities provide discounted monthly LinkPasses to all students. Widespread use of the U Pass is expected to create more than $60 million in new, fixed revenue for the T.

We believe that the Youth Pass, benefiting youth from lower-income communities in the MBTA service area, can be affordably phased in with the U Pass, which will open access to the T for thousands of college students.

Whether paired with the U Pass or introduced alone, the Youth Pass is an innovative solution to youth riders’ crisis of affordability. Join us to make this a reality!