LA Metro’s GoPass pilot programme extended until June 2024
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Posted: 3 May 2023 | Intelligent Transport | No comments yet
The GoPass programme has become popular among more than 100 school districts in L.A. County, with over 241,000 students registered and carrying more than 16.6 million passengers on the LA Metro system since its launch.
Credit: LA Metro
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) has announced that its Board of Directors has approved $20 million to extend the GoPass fare-free pilot programme for K-14 students until 30 June 2024.
Originally set to expire on 30 June 2023, the programme provides a free transit pass to students, which helps reduce their educational costs and improve academic performance, while providing them with reliable transportation to attend school, jobs, medical appointments and leisure activities.
Since its launch, the programme has gained popularity among county schools and school districts, with over 100 school districts and 1,400 schools participating, and more than 241,000 students registered as GoPass participants. This represents nearly 20% of the two million plus students in L.A. County, and they have generated over 16.6 million ridership on the LA Metro system since the programme began, averaging over 1.2 million every month.
The programme is designed to remove the burden of transit costs for students and their families, providing greater economic stability, as well as enhancing their access to schools, post-school activities, employment, medical care and social services, among others. Families of K-12 students who participate in the programme typically save $288 per student annually, while community college students save $516 per year.
A study in which LA Metro had participated showed that students who receive a free transit pass have up to 27% higher graduation rates, leading to expanded academic and employment opportunities. The programme also helps LA Metro meet several important goals, including improving social equity, increasing transit ridership and creating environmental benefits.
“Thank you to the Metro Board for extending the GoPass pilot programme for another year,” said LA Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “GoPass has clearly met an unmet need in our communities by helping K-12 and community college students get to school while building up their familiarity and comfort with public transportation. We are also benefitting our climate action goals.”
The programme has grown in popularity since its launch in October 2021 and had initially been funded by one-time federal funding through the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Funding for the programme also relies on cost-sharing agreements with participating schools and school districts. The Board’s extension, paid for with Fiscal Year 2024 operating funds, will enable LA Metro to retain the benefits of this pilot programme while pursuing local, state, federal and other funding opportunities.
The GoPass pilot programme is the first phase of LA Metro’s Fareless System Initiative. The agency streamlined the regional “Low Income Fare is Easy” (LIFE) discount fare programme and has doubled public participation in that programme within the last year. There are now over 221,000 participants in the LIFE Program.
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Stephanie N. Wiggins