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Pierce Transit Launches Free Youth Transit Pass Sept. 1

August 31, 2022

As a result of new state legislation, and to celebrate the start of a new school year, Pierce Transit is pleased to offer free fares for youth ages 18 and under on all Pierce Transit modes starting September 1, 2022. The Free Youth Transit Pass will allow young people to ride free on regional transit systems, too.

All youth will be able to ride transit for free. Riders ages 13 and older are encouraged to show one of the following to the driver, if they have it:

  • Youth ORCA Card. Riders should tap on/off with their Youth ORCA card. The card will not expire if it’s registered and youth have until June 30, 2023, to register their card at myORCA.com.
  • Current High School or Middle School Student ID

For the next few months, youth who do not have one of these items with them can still board for free. School districts and community organizations in the Pierce Transit services area will have a limited number of Free Youth Transit Passes (Youth ORCA cards) to distribute at the start of the school year. Cards may also be obtained at Pierce Transit’s Bus Shop at Tacoma Dome Station or by ordering online at myORCA.com/buy-online.

In 2023 and beyond, youth will be directed to get a Free Youth Transit Pass that allows them to tap a card -- or eventually their smartphone -- to access transit across the region for free.

Pierce Transit Board Chair Marty Campbell explained the goals of the free pass.

“Pierce Transit is pleased to join with regional partners to offer this important benefit to youth across our service area,” said Campbell. “Many young people need transportation to participate in after-school activities, to get to jobs and volunteer opportunities. They can use this pass to learn how to ride transit, and connect to their community, at no cost to them or their families. We hope this will prompt young people to think ‘bus-first’ and provide them with car-free commute options as adults.”

The free transit pass will reduce barriers for youth to access jobs and other life-enriching opportunities.

“The United Way of Pierce County recognizes the challenge faced by many families when it comes to finding, and paying for, transportation,” noted Dona Ponepinto, President and CEO of the United Way of Pierce County. “If children and teens do not have a way to get to educational programs, recreation, appointments and resources, they often have to forgo those important, sometimes critical, engagements. The Free Youth Transit Pass will lift some of the burden of transportation expenses from families’ shoulders, and allow limited incomes to stretch further and connections to be made.”

The Free Youth Transit Pass was made possible through the Washington State Legislature’s Move Ahead Washington transportation package. Under the legislation, transit agencies are awarded new Transit Support Grants, provided they meet certain conditions, including adopting a policy that passengers 18 years of age and younger may ride free of charge on any mode operated by the transit agency.

More information on the Free Youth Transit Pass can be found at PierceTransit.org/FreeYouthPass.                                                                                                  

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Trip Planner Tips - Entering Locations

To create a trip plan you need to enter both a starting location (origin) and an ending location (destination). For information about stops, schedules, or service at a specific location, you only need to enter one location.

The Trip Planner recognizes most street intersections and addresses as well as many landmarks in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties. If what you entered is not immediately recognized, the Trip Planner will offer you a list of options. You can choose one of the options, but if your intended location is not there, select the "Revise Original Entries" link to return to the entry page and change the entries you have already made.

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  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type Conifer & Jones instead of Conifer Circle & Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 3rd & Main instead of 3rd S & S Main. But type 34th & West Viewmont for 34th W & West Viewmont Way W.)
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Landmarks

Government Sites: Pierce County Health Dept, Pierce Co Sheriffs Office, Tacoma City Hall

Major Commercial Sites: Tacoma Mall, Sheraton Hotel

Transportation Facilities: Sea-Tac Airport, Greyhound Bus Depot

Schools & Colleges: Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Community College

Sports & Leisure: Cheney Stadium, Pt Defiance Zoo

Medical Facilities: Group Health, Tacoma General Hospital


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