The Stanislaus Regional Transit Authority (StanRTA) announced that it was awarded
California’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) 1000th project to fund its Free Fare Project in 2023. The project includes free fares during Go Green Week in March, Earth Day in April, Dump the Pump Day in June, and Free Rides July.
For several years now, StanRTA has offered free-ride days, weeks, and months as a way to promote public transportation services. This allows potential new riders a chance to try the service at no risk. It also allows current users to increase reliance on The S. “The StanRTA Board considers these promotions some of the best investments they’ve ever made when it comes to marketing, increasing ridership, and increasing awareness about public transit service,” said Adam Barth, StanRTA CEO. “Our theory is that if people don’t try it, how will they know if it works for them?”
Through the Free Fares Project, StanRTA provides free, safe, and reliable transportation services for
residents to travel to educational institutions, employment centers, medical offices, grocery stores, and
shopping malls. Transit fares are often a barrier to residents in disadvantaged communities, which
includes Stanislaus County, but with the support from LCTOP, the Free Fares Project has made it possible for riders to use public transportation without any financial hardship. The project includes twenty-six urban bus routes, commuter services, Medivan, and complementary paratransit services.
LCTOP is one of several programs that are part of the Transit, Affordable Housing, and Sustainable
Communities Program established by the California Legislature in 2014 by Senate Bill 862. The LCTOP was created to provide operating and capital assistance for transit agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emission and improve mobility, with a priority on serving disadvantaged communities. Senate Bill 862 continuously appropriates five percent of the annual auction proceeds in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for LCTOP, beginning in 2015/16.
StanRTA’s Free Fares Project has improved access to public transportation across Stanislaus County and has improved air quality and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing vehicle miles
traveled. The benefits of this project have been critical to the success of the LCTOP and its continuing
support for projects alike. Without the support of LCTOP, the Free Fares Project would not be possible.