Public transportation is a crucial part of people’s lives in Pittsburgh. Many residents rely on the bus or the light rail T system to get to work and school and to run errands. Now a new program will lower fares for some Allegheny County residents between the ages of 18 and 64 who receive SNAP benefits.
On Dec. 13, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) started sending out Pittsburgh Regional Transit ConnectCards as part of the new Discounted Fares Pilot Program.
“We are excited with the response that we have had so far and want to ensure that we reach as many eligible people as possible for this opportunity,” DHS Director Erin Dalton said in a press release. “Being able to keep people connected to services in their community while freeing up money normally spent on transportation will allow them to focus on other necessities such as food or rent,”
People in the pilot program will be randomly assigned to three groups to determine their fare: free fares, half-price fares or full-price fares. The program applies to individuals and families.
The 12-month program aims to learn the impact of transportation affordability on low-income residents. Announced in September by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, the program currently has 5,854 approved applicants with more than 3,000 children in these households.
While about 5,000 people are currently participating, the pilot program has room for 14,000 people. If you meet the requirements of the program and are interested in joining, apply online. For those who have limited digital access, community-based organizations can assist individuals with their applications over the phone or in person.
“We are excited that this pilot program was able to be set up so quickly, and I thank DHS staff for all of their work to make that happen,” Fitzgerald said in a press statement.
“We know that transportation is one of the biggest needs for those in our community seeking to take advantage of employment opportunities or access services,” said Fitzgerald. “I look forward to seeing what this pilot program tells us about the effects of discounted public transportation fares for resident needs.”