Student Leaders Recognized for Campaign to Fund Regional Transit Passes for Youth

Hoover High School students in City Heights are determined to ensure that young people are prioritized in decisions about transportation and community development because a great transit system should be affordable, safe, efficient, and of course, FUN!

May was National Bike Month and dockless bike company, OFO, recognized the student leaders of City Heights’ newly-formed Hoover Improving Transportation City Heights (ITCH) Club with a donation of 22 bikes for their campaign to fund no-cost transit passes for youth. The bikes were awarded to the student leaders of Hoover ITCH and to the writers of exceptional essays about the positive impact of bike ridership on the environment and the community. Local advocates for active transportation, climate action, and community development were present to support the youth-led program.

The student club is an extension of Mid-City CAN’s ITCH Momentum Team, which launched a two-year pilot program in 2013 for Youth Opportunity Passes, offering students of the Mid-City region no-cost and low-cost transit passes. The student club and momentum team are leading a campaign to secure funding for the reintroduction of Youth Opportunity Passes, now at a regional level.

"We call them Youth Opportunity Passes because mobility is about getting to the opportunities we need in order to grow and develop," said Alondra Guzman, President of the Hoover ITCH club. "All youth deserve to be able to get safely to school, to activities, to jobs, and to other opportunities without straining their family’s finances. For example, for a family with 3 children, transit passes would cost them $1,300 for a year," added Alondra.

Momentum for Youth Opportunity Passes is rapidly growing. Locally, Georgette Gómez—recently appointed as Chair of MTS—has expressed her support for "getting funding for free or discounted youth transit passes." At the state level, AB 2304, sponsored by Mid-City CAN, will fund a study by UC Davis that assesses existing reduced-fare transit programs, available funding sources, and impact on ridership of these programs. AB20304 passed the Assembly last week with a resounding "yes" vote.

We urge our local leaders and elected officials to listen to young San Diegans and the state-wide call for reduced cost transit programs and join City Heights in supporting youth development through affordable, safe, efficient, and fun transit.

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