The TriMet Board of Directors took two actions on Youth fares at its Wednesday meeting — reauthorizing the free fare passes for Portland Public Schools' high school students and lowering youth fares across-the-board.

All 12,600 PPS high school students will receive free transit passes for the coming school year under the renewed Portland Public School Student Pass Program.

According to TriMet, for the past two years, the City of Portland, PPS and TriMet have shared the cost of the PPS Student Pass Program, which costs $2.9 million. For the 2014-15 school year, TriMet will reduce its contribution to the PPS program by $634,000.

PPS is the only school district in the metropolitan region that is not required by state law to provide yellow bus service to high school students, and is the only district that TriMet provides a dedicated fare program.

To help equalize the benefit, the board also voted to reduce the agency’s Youth fares by 40 cents for a single-ride ticket and the monthly pass by $2. The change lowers the single-ride ticket to $1.25 and the monthly pass to $28 for riders between the ages of 7 and 17. The lower fares take effect on Sept. 1, 2014.

“Lowering these fares makes it easier for families to pay for their kids to get to school, jobs and other activities,” said McFarlane. “It means that more affordable fares will benefit all young people throughout the region.”

TriMet is tapping $140,000 in uncommitted funds from the agency’s Access Transit fare programs to compensate for any fiscal impact from the reduced Youth fares.

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