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August 8, 2022 SacRT News

Fare-Free Transit Program Enters Year Four  

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) is reminding students and families that with the RydeFreeRT program, students in transitional kindergarten through 12th grade can ride the entire SacRT transit network for free. The program includes SacRT buses, light rail and SmaRT Ride on-demand microtransit services.  

The RydeFreeRT program is available for any youth that live or go to school within SacRT’s service area, which includes the cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Folsom, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova and parts of Sacramento County. Approximately 220,000 students in grades TK – 12th, home-schooled students, and foster and homeless youth are all eligible.  

SacRT launched the RydeFreeRT program in October 2019, at that time, SacRT experienced a 127% increase in student ridership (pre-COVID-19). Over the last year, SacRT provided over 2.4 million free rides to youth across the region.  

New RydeFreeRT cards for the 2022-2023 school year are distributed by schools and have a valid date from June 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. For students that still need a RydeFreeRT card, visit SacRT’s Customer Service and Sales Center located at 1225 R Street (adjacent to the 13th Street Light Rail Station) or Sacramento Public Libraries.  

“Thanks to continued funding from the cities of Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom and Rancho Cordova as well as additional funding from the County of Sacramento, we are able to keep the RydeFreeRT program going into a fourth year,” said SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li. “The fare-free program helps our region’s youth by removing the transportation barrier to education, jobs, and healthcare.”   

“SacRT’s award winning RydeFreeRT program for TK-12th grade students has benefited our community immensely and I could not be happier it is continuing for a fourth year,” said SacRT Chair and Citrus Heights Council Member Steve Miller. “With this program, we are increasing mobility options and school attendance, reducing congestion and greenhouse gases and creating new rider habits.” 

“RydeFreeRT has become a model that many transit agencies across the nation are trying to replicate,” said SacRT Board Member and Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer. “This is an investment in our future - connecting youth to school, work, internships and other education and career opportunities. It’s great to see so many young riders on public transit!

“At Sac City Unified our focus is on providing equitable access to high quality education. The costs and challenges associated with transportation can often create a significant barrier to that access,” said SCUSD Chief Communications Officer Brian Heap. “The SacRT free transit program is a tremendous support tool for the district and our families. We have some middle and high schools where as many as one-third of students rely on SacRT to safely get them to and from school each day. Chronic absenteeism is a serious problem for schools, and we appreciate that our partnership with SacRT helps get more students to class every day.”  

Learn more about the RydeFreeRT program at rydefreert.com