Youth transit free in summer

Peninsula College students included

PORT ANGELES — Starting this summer, Clallam Transit will offer free rides to youth 18 and younger as well as to Peninsula College students.

The free rides will begin June 1 for youth 18 and younger. Passengers 16-18 years old will need to show identification to verify their age upon boarding; drivers will accept current school IDs.

Free rides for Peninsula College students will start on July 1. Passengers will need to present a current Peninsula College student ID upon boarding.

The impetus for this change stems from a recently passed state Department of Transportation budget, which offers grants to public transit systems through the Transit Support Grant Program.

To receive the grant funding, transit systems must enact a zero-fare policy for transit riders 18 and younger by Oct. 1.

“We are implementing this policy early, but also on our own extending the zero-fare to Peninsula College students who are actively enrolled in the college and have a pass,” Clallam Transit General Manager Kevin Gallacci said.

Gallacci also said it eliminates the need for Clallam Transit to renegotiate a contract with Peninsula College as well as discontinue some of its existing reduced-fare programs.

“We’re starting the college students in July because they have already paid for their quarter for bus fare and that ends in the spring, and then as the summer quarter starts up, we won’t have to worry about any type of reimbursements,” Gallacci said.

“That’s part of the reason why we are doing this early, because now we don’t have to worry about organizing and offering those summer discounts, and it gets this program running sooner rather than later.”

By adopting this policy, Clallam Transit will receive an estimated $350,000 in grant funding, with an additional estimated $950,000 in funding per each biennium year for the next 16 years.

“This funding can be used for just about anything within our expenditures … we have not designated these funds towards anything as of yet. We can use it to support services or use it on capital,” Gallacci said.

Youth bus fares netted Clallam Transit just about $16,000 a year while college student fares netted $25,000- $45,000 a year, making adopting the zero-fare program a financial win.

“I highly support this and I am really excited about it,” Gallacci said. “I think it will be really good for our community to offer this to students and young people.”

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].

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