Fair Fares Coalition Recognizes Progress, Looks to Expeditiously Implement Permanent Zero Transit Fare Program for Low-Income Riders in 2024

image description: PPT Member Ms. Debra leads a rally and press conference in the fall of 2020 to release a report calling for a zero fare program for low-income households in Allegheny County

Fair Fares for a Full Recovery Coalition Press Release, 12/22/23

On the evening of December 21, 2023, Allegheny County Office of the County Executive Fitzgerald announced a commitment to a long-term 50% discounted transit fare program for SNAP households in the region, funded by the County Department of Human Services (DHS). The Fair Fares for a Full Recovery Coalition, consisting of more than 40 organizations advocating for zero fare public transit for low-income households, recognizes that this is one step in the right direction. However, a zero-fare program is still what is desperately needed by people in the community; imposing a still significant financial burden on very low income families is not good policy. We are eager to move expeditiously in the New Year towards a zero fare program for all SNAP households. Providing that level of benefit, funded by DHS, has proven overwhelmingly beneficial- for riders, DHS, Pittsburgh Regional Transit and our region as a whole.

Allegheny County Discounted Pilot Program Participant and PPT member Patrice speaks about her experience receiving free fare and what that has meant to her this year.

Pilot-program participant and mother of four Tameeka Jones Cuff says, “I have chronic health issues, and being a beneficiary of the yearlong DHS zero fare pilot program has ensured that I can make my doctors’ appointments and be healthier, get groceries, to work and meet my family’s needs. It’s been a life-saver. I’ve watched the tears fall when other families like mine have to make tough decisions about which trips and essential needs to prioritize because transit fares are unaffordable. 

We know that County Executive Innamorato has been a champion for public transit and the full needs of low-income riders, and look forward to seeing a fully-realized program come to fruition under her leadership.”

Central and important elements about how this fare program will be implemented have not been made available yet, and without that information, low-income people remain in the dark about how beneficial and effective the newly-announced commitment might be. 

Transit riders, social service organizations, and employers have long recognized that our region needs a zero-fare program for all SNAP households, in an arrangement funded by the County Department of Human Services. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to sign the Coalition’s public letter calling for the user-friendly implementation of a permanent, accessible, zero fare program for all County households receiving SNAP/EBT. Sign-ons to the letter will be collected until early January, at fairfaresnow.com