Very big, very good news! The application is live for the Allegheny Department of Human Services’ new Discount Fare Program.
On November 17, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services launched the application for the new Discount Fares Pilot Program. Now, any person receiving EBT/SNAP benefits in September 2022 (or are the parent of a child who was) can apply to participate in the pilot program before the end of the year. The pilot program has space for 14,000 people to participate, but spots are going to go quickly so folks should apply ASAP.
Who qualifies for the Allegheny County Discounted Fares Pilot Program?
- Currently reside in Allegheny County Were receiving SNAP benefits in September 2022 or are the parent of a child who was
- Are between the ages of 18 and 64 or are 65+ and have household members below age 65
- Do not have another household member ages 18 through 64 who is already participating in this pilot
Why is it a pilot rather than a permanent program?
A pilot program is a trial run. Participant experience in this pilot will influence the design of the permanent program. The Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services will use this pilot to understand how local residents may benefit from making public transit more affordable. It will measure the impact on ridership and whether lower fares increase access to jobs, services, and other things residents need.
How does the pilot work?
Participation in the pilot is voluntary but includes agreeing to share info about your household and transit use. All participants will have the opportunity to receive additional compensation for participating in occasional surveys. Eligible participants will be randomly put in one of 3 groups:
- Free fares: This group will receive unlimited free fares on all PRT trips for 12 months.
- 50% discount: This group will receive a ConnectCard that reduces the cost of all PRT trips by half for 12 months, and is pre-loaded with $10.
- No discount: This group will receive a ConnectCard pre-loaded with $10 but will not receive a fare discount.
There are lots of ways that you can help ensure this pilot is a success
1. Help spread the word about the program!
You spread the word by sharing this blog and this poster with friends, family, and social media. You can also share the poster and website with any organizations you work with or belong to.
2. Let PPT know if you applied to the program and share any feedback you have about the website, application, or process.
There are still some bugs with the website and the application, so please if you apply or if you know anyone else who is applying please fill out this form to let us know if you’re participating and what issues you’re finding (or contact a PPT staffer directly). We’ll communicate them to DHS, but you should also reach out to Allegheny-Discounted-Fares@alleghenycounty.us
3. Sign your organization up as an enrollment support site with the Department of Human Services.
The Department of Human Services is going to rely on a big network of organizations across the county to help people enroll in the new discount fare pilot program. Your organization can sign up as one of these sites on the Department’s website today.
It cannot be overstated: this pilot is only happening because we all spoke up. All people deserve the freedom to move. This is an amazing milestone that we need to celebrate. But the work is not done. We need to continue getting organized and advocate for an expanded free fare program for all in Allegheny County.
News Reports on the Pilot Program Launch:
- Hannah Wyman’s report for the Pittsburgh Union Progress, “COUNTY LAUNCHES LOW-FARE TRANSIT PILOT PROGRAM: ‘ONE OF THESE MAGIC MOMENTS’” (The Pittsburgh Union Progress is the paper being published by the unionized reporters of the Post-Gazette while they strike to end their labor dispute with the paper’s management. PPT urges people to support these reporters by subscribing to their newsletter and donating to their strike fund today.)
- From scabs at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Pilot transit fare discounts begin for low-income riders in Allegheny County”
- Margaret J Krauss’ report for WESA: “Allegheny County will allow some people to ride public transit for free as part of pilot study“
- Talia Kirkland’s report for WPXI: “New pilot program to offer free, discounted public transit fares to qualifying SNAP families“
- Allen Warren’s report for WTAE: “Allegheny County begins discounted-fares pilot program for eligible riders“