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Metro board votes to make student 'GoPass' free ride program a permanent fixture

In Long Beach, the program serves area high school students as well as those who attend Long Beach City College.

Metro board votes to make student 'GoPass' free ride program a permanent fixture
Long Beach City College students take a Long Beach Transit bus to and from the school's main campus on Carson Street Tuesday, April 23, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Long Beach students and others across the region will continue to be able to ride public transit for free after the Metro Board of Directors voted Thursday to make the “GoPass” program a permanent fixture for the agency.

The GoPass has provided free rides for students on Metro’s transportation system as well as 17 other transit agencies in the county, including Long Beach Transit.

In Long Beach, the program serves area high school students as well as those who attend Long Beach City College. Metro says that the program has helped promote educational equity by giving students a free ride to and from school.


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Metro data showed that nearly 90% of boardings using the GoPass over the past three years were on weekdays peaking at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., typical school rush hour times.

“Cost should never be a barrier to accessibility or opportunity,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement. “The GoPass Pilot Program has opened the doors of opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young people riding the system. Now it’s time to make it permanent.”

Bass serves as chair of the Metro board and made the motion to make the program permanent. Her motion also called on Metro to offer unlimited free rides to income-eligible riders through the “Low-Income Fare is Easy” (LIFE) program.

The LIFE program had offered 20 free rides per month on Metro’s system but now those rides could be unlimited. Riders have to live in LA County and make under a certain amount per year. The cutoff for a single person is $44,150 per year while a four-person household could make up to $63,050, according to Metro’s site.

Metro documents show that the cost of the three-year pilot program was about $40.5 million, which is about 19% lower than the agency projected. However, the cost is anticipated to climb as it get’s more popular and Metro staff said they’d look to secure federal or state funding to help pay for the ongoing costs of providing free rides to students.

To see a full list of participating Long Beach Unified School District campuses and more information on how to apply and activate a GoPass tap card click here.


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