On December 21st, the outgoing County Executive announced the start of a permanent discount transit fare program for low-income residents of Allegheny County. This is a victory, no doubt, and will vastly increase access for more than 134,000 children and adults across Allegheny County.
But the data shows that half-price fares only get our families halfway there. We need a fully zero-fare transit program for all low-income households in Allegheny County.
Data from the Discount Fares Pilot Program that ran throughout 2023 showed that even families who paid half fare reported overwhelmingly that transportation costs were still a barrier that eliminated access to food, medical appointments, childcare, affordable housing, and family-building recreation.
Allegheny County has the highest transit fares in the state. Removing the cost of fares resulted in an 8x increase in the number of trips that families could make to their essentials. This was twice as much access as the half-fare group.
We can’t stop halfway to a solution. The time is now to support County Executive Innamorato in her goal of expanding a permanent zero-fare program to families throughout Allegheny County.