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The following was a press release issued by the City of Santa Monica and Big Blue Bus.

On December 6, 2016 Santa Monica City Council approved a two-year pilot Youth Pass Program reducing the price of the Big Blue Bus (BBB) monthly youth pass to $19. The Big Blue Bus 30-Day Youth Pass is an unlimited ride 30-day pass available to all riders between five and eighteen years of age. The pass may be used on any line, any time during the month, and will be available year-round so it will be valid during non-school months as well.

In an effort to increase ridership among young people in Santa Monica and on the Westside, the City Council directed staff to discount the youth pass by $10 to $28 from the staff proposed price of $38 per month for a one-year period through December 31, 2016.

The discounted pass was extremely popular. During BBB’s Buy One Get One (BOGO) program, which was a Council funded mobility initiative to incentivize youth ridership, sales of the youth pass totaled 2,915 through the end of September. This reflects nearly a 100% increase from the sale of youth passes for the same time period in 2015.

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At its September 13, 2016 meeting, at the request of Councilmember McKeown, Council directed staff to explore and return with recommendations for a two-year pilot program offering extremely reduced-cost BBB passes for students, as part of the City’s ongoing GoSaMo mobility initiative. Council highlighted that such a program would be in pursuit of one of the Council’s adopted top-five priorities, mobility, with hopes of increasing safety and reducing individual private vehicular traffic near schools. “Big Blue Bus is extremely proud to be a strong partner in the City’s focus on improving mobility and access to mobility,” said Ed King, Director of Transit. “Incentivizing youth transit ridership reflects the City’s commitment to encouraging behavior change, which can be a multi-generational effort toward appreciable shifts in mode choice,” continued King.

The newly discounted $19 30-Day Youth Pass can be purchased, starting January 1, 2017, on any regular TAP card at Blue: the Transit Store (1444 4th St.) or online at TAPtoGO.net with a special youth reduced fare TAP card. Paper passes are also available. More information on where to purchase BBB passes can be found at bigbluebus.com/Fares/Where-to-Buy-Passes.aspx.