Free public transit for K-12 youth in Marin and Sonoma counties
Tuesday, May 16, 2023 - 5:00pm
North Bay youth get a free ticket to ride public transit this June, July, and August 2023. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART), Marin Transit, Sonoma County Transit, Santa Rosa CityBus, and Petaluma Transit are offering free rides for K-12 youth throughout the summer season with the Summer Youth Ride Free Program.
For Immediate Release
May 16, 2023
Free public transit for K-12 youth in Marin and Sonoma counties during June, July, and August 2023
Petaluma, CA—North Bay youth get a free ticket to ride public transit this June, July, and August 2023. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART), Marin Transit, Sonoma County Transit, Santa Rosa CityBus, and Petaluma Transit are offering free rides for K-12 youth throughout the summer season with the Summer Youth Ride Free Program. Train and bus travel is a safe and reliable way to get around Sonoma and Marin counties and, with five participating transit agencies, youth have endless possibilities for summer day trips.
“This summer’s Youth Ride Free Program will introduce more youth and families to the benefits of public transit—and they’ll find it’s an easy, fun, and eco-friendly way to get around”, said Eric Lucan, Chair of the SMART Board of Directors.
“The North Bay Summer Youth Ride Free Program will be a great benefit to all youth in Sonoma County. The CityBus fare-free youth program has had great success over the past year and this program will only further that success” said Rachel Ede, Deputy Director of Santa Rosa CityBus. “Youth and families will now have even more opportunities to see what public transit and the North Bay as a whole have to offer”.
How It Works
No passes are necessary to ride, youth must simply show a valid K-12 school or government-issued ID to the train conductor or bus operator when boarding. Youth grades 9-12 may use a school ID from the Spring 2023 semester. Youth grades 8 and under, if asked, may present a school ID, or simply tell the conductor their grade and which school they attend. Younger children, under age 5, also ride for free but must be accompanied by an adult.
Children and teens can take public transit to their favorite summer destinations, including parks, amusement centers, summer jobs, movie theaters, shopping centers, skate parks, museums, public pools, summer camps, and summer classes. Navigating our community on the train and bus builds a sense of confidence that young people can use for the rest of their lives, and they learn social and navigational skills that can help them in many other situations.
“Marin Transit is thrilled to join other North Bay transit agencies to provide free fares for youth this summer. This program aims to inspire young people and families to try public transportation to explore and enjoy our beautiful and diverse region. This is also a way to say thank you to our student riders who rely on our bus service throughout the school year,” said Nancy Whelan, General Manager of Marin Transit.
“Petaluma Transit is excited to be part of the Free Youth Program which will encourage youth to ride public transit throughout the summer. When kids ride the bus, they gain independence and can explore their surrounding communities without relying on an adult for transportation. This is a great step in fostering a sense of environmental responsibility by reducing the number of cars on the road, a priority for the City of Petaluma’s climate action goals,” said Jared Hall, Transit Manager of Petaluma Transit.
Bicycles are welcomed aboardthe SMART train, and city and county buses are equipped with bike racks at the front of the bus.
Trip planning tools such as the Transit App provide departure information from nearby transit routes and Google Maps’ trip planner shows the fastest transit route to a destination. Visit the agency websites for list of attractions and activities in Sonoma and Marin counties that can be reached via train and bus.