OCTA’s new Youth Ride Free pass allows passengers ages 6 to 18 years to ride any OCTA fixed-route bus in Orange County for free during the six-month program, which runs through the end of February 2022. According to recent U.S. Census data, that makes more than 520,000 Orange County youth in that age group eligible to ride free.
“Allowing our youth in Orange County to ride the OC Bus for free will encourage a new generation of riders to discover the convenience and benefits of public transportation,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do, also Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “This program is good for our community, for our schools, and for our economy.”
In addition, shared rides reduce traffic congestion, take cars off local roads and improve air quality.
OCTA is distributing the physical passes in partnership with local K-12 school districts, as well as at the OCTA store and online. Parental request is required.
“Providing free public transportation to students who use this service to travel to and from school will serve as a vital resource for our families,” said Santa Ana Unified School District Superintendent Jerry Almendarez. “We know many of our students rely on OCTA each day to commute not only to our campuses, but also to their jobs and other activities. This program will help further meet a need of young people in our community.”
Originally intended for youth up to 13 years old, OCTA board members earlier this year voted to expand the pass to reach high-school-age teens, as well.
Approvals were granted by Caltrans and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which fund the pass through grants made possible by the Climate Change Investments program, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.
For more information on the Youth Ride Free pass, visit here.