Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced a one-year pilot program to provide free DASH bus passes to all Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles Community College District students.
“A lack of reliable transportation should never be a roadblock between students and their dreams,” Garcetti said. “Free DASH passes will help students get to class on time, save money for families who are struggling to make ends meet, boost school attendance and empower young people to get involved with clubs or take a job that previously felt out of reach.”
Based on current ridership trends and projections, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation estimates that providing free DASH passes to LAUSD and LACCD students will increase student ridership by 10%. In other U.S. cities that have implemented similar initiatives, more than 90% of students have reported experiencing benefits from free bus passes including better attendance and improved grades.
The pilot program was developed in partnership with Councilmen Mike Bonin, 11th District, and Paul Krekorian, 2nd District, who co-authored City Council legislation dedicating state Low Carbon Transit Operations Program funds for the program.
“Offering free transit on DASH buses helps support students in L.A. and makes life a little easier for young Angelenos,” Bonin added. “I was proud to author the legislation creating this pilot program and I’m excited to work on behalf of current and future generations of transit riders in our neighborhoods.”
The LACCD College Promise program provides free community college tuition for the first year. Approximately 30 percent of LACCD College Promise students report struggling to pay for transportation. Over 20 percent of students in the program report having to miss or stop attending classes due to the cost or lack of access to reliable transportation.
“The pilot program provides an opportunity to connect students across Los Angeles with a free, safe, reliable transportation option that can help reduce their barriers to mobility, improving their ability to get to school or a job, access resources and explore opportunities that set them up for success,” Krekorian said. “Free DASH passes will not only spur transit use by students, it will also help foster a new generation of public transit riders.”
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