New Community-Sponsored Youth Ridership Program Begins in September

Posted on August 24, 2022

Cherriots – 08/24/22 7:05 AM

Beginning Sept. 4, youth ages 0 to 18 will be eligible to ride Cherriots buses at no cost to them.

Cherriots board members worked with the cities of Salem and Keizer to create a Sponsored Youth Fare Pilot Project.

“With this program, youth can access and more easily participate in after-school activities, which studies have shown increase graduation rates,” said Ian Davidson, Cherriots board president. “Making public transit accessible for all youth will allow more young people in the mid-valley to make sustainable choices and increase their independence. This program will also foster social and family engagement by lightening the load of working families.”

The cities of Salem and Keizer secured the funds that will pay for youth to ride Cherriots local, regional, and paratransit buses. Youth riders do not need cash, an actual pass, or proof of identity to ride the bus.

“Through partnership with the cities of Keizer and Salem, Cherriots can provide opportunity for our youth community members to experience the freedom and flexibility of public transit,” said Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark. “They will have more access to jobs and participation in school programs with this zero pass initiative, a great investment we can make in their future.”

Salem City Councilor Chris Hoy said that developing the next generation of riders starts with providing youth an experience that establishes life-long users and supporters of public transit.

“Cherriots has been a youth and child friendly public transit system in our community for more than 40 years,” said Hoy. “But taking the bus is more than a convenient ride. Studies have shown that children who ride the bus are healthier because walking is part of the experience and more aware of their community – how it sounds, feels, and looks.”

The sponsored youth fare program replaces all current youth fare passes for Cherriots Local, Cherriots Regional and Cherriots LIFT buses. Customers who have purchased a youth pass can get a refund at Cherriots Customer Service, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 5. For more information about the new youth program, go to cherriots.org/youthzeropass.

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