Discount Fare Pilot for SNAP Households in Allegheny County is extended indefinitely! This is a good sign. Lets push for a fully free, permanent program for all.
Riders participating in the Allegheny County Discounted Fare Pilot Program received notice from the Department of Human Services (DHS) on October 18, 2023, that they can participate in the pilot for an indefinite length. This news comes at a pivotal time before the pilot ends. The DHS evaluated its findings to decide whether to make a pathway forward to establish a permanent form of transportation relief for SNAP users.
The additional 30 days is valuable because DHS published a dashboard of information from the initial sign-up, showing that the largest category of participants in the pilot previously paid for fares using cash. Riders on Pittsburgh Regional Transit do not receive free transfers within 3 hours, thus making trips more expensive. These are the same residents who heavily rely on transit but often pay a higher portion of income on fares and do not receive employer, education, or electronic transit discounts. Read more about the pilot data and rider stories from our blog.
The Fair Fares Coalition thanks DHS for seeing the value of conducting the pilot and offering extended time for participants to receive support longer. We see this as a step towards making fare relief permanent – a goal riders have been fighting for years now. We know that alleviating the burden of fares allows riders with the greatest transit dependency, fewest options, and the least ability to pay the freedom to budget for other necessities and opens the door to access vital resources and amenities that improve quality of life.
While this is short-term relief for some full fare and half fare participants, we are still calling for a permanent program that gives ALL SNAP households in Allegheny County zero fares.
We are on the edge of winning a historic victory for the Fair Fares Campaign!