Led by mass transit advocate Tyler Maxwell, the Fresno City Council is expected to lower bus fares for students on Thursday.
Under the proposal, any student with a valid student photo ID would be eligible for a new student fare of 75 cents per ride, with an option for a $22 monthly pass, effective Jan. 1.
The base fare for all riders is currently $1, but through a grant from Kaiser Permanente, seniors, military veterans, and people with disabilities ride for free.
“Our local college students shouldn’t have to worry about how they’re going to afford reliable transportation to school or an internship,” said councilman Maxwell at a Wednesday news conference. “As a champion of Zero Fare and increased access to public transportation, I am grateful to all of our local partners working with the city of Fresno to ensure bus rides remain free for any and all local college students.”
When I started office 2 years ago, my “Zero Fare Clean Air Act” was viewed as too radical or unrealistic. My office continues to push for equitable transportation for our entire community. Take a look at those who are able to ride our Fresno buses at Zero Fare today! pic.twitter.com/eETN2FrPKk
— Tyler Maxwell (@Maxwell4Fresno) December 1, 2022
Fresno Unified Provides Free Passes for High Schoolers
In addition, Fresno Unified School District says it will offer free bus passes to its high school students.
Previously, the district had provided students who are unhoused, in foster care, or part of other special populations with free rides on FAX buses. Starting next month, all high school students are eligible to ride city buses at no cost.
“The new reduced student fare for FAX is great news for our high school students, many of whom struggle to pay for even basic needs, like transportation. Thank you to the city of Fresno for providing support that will help our students get to school every day,” said FSUSD Superintendent Bob Nelson.
Fresno State, State Center Students Ride for Free
Both Fresno State and State Center Community College District are restarting free fare programs with FAX that began in 2017 but were suspended due to COVID. The Fresno State and State Center programs allow students with a student ID, faculty, and staff to ride for free.
Via a grant pursued by Maxwell, the PG&E Foundation awarded State Center $100,000 to offset the cost of their student fares.
“The last thing we want our students to worry about is transportation, particularly to school,” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer. “This new student fare, paired with renewed partnerships with our educational institutions, reinforces our commitment to youth, transportation, and education.”
FAX has 123 buses, 1,606 bus stops, and 18 routes. In 2021, it had a ridership of more than 6.5 million.