FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sophia June, 503-823-8582
TriMet, City of Portland and School Districts Will Provide Free Transit Passes for Low-Income Students in Portland Public, David Douglas and Parkrose High Schools
TriMet and the City of Portland have long assisted low-income students in accessing education and other opportunities.
Portland, OR—High school students in three major Portland school districts can qualify to continue to receive a free TriMet student pass during the 2018-19 school year, as part of an agreement between TriMet, the City of Portland, Portland Public Schools (PPS), and the Parkrose and David Douglas school districts. TriMet and PPS are continuing to fund student passes for PPS high schools where no yellow bus service is provided. In the David Douglas and Parkrose districts, the City is allowing the districts to carry over unutilized funds to help continue paying for student transit passes for low-income students during the 2018-19 school year, and TriMet has agreed to provide a one-third match for these funds.
“This agreement means that for the coming year these students will have greater access to jobs, training opportunities, classes at Portland Community or Mt. Hood Community colleges, libraries and other destinations that support their education,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.
TriMet and the City of Portland have long assisted low-income students in accessing education and other opportunities in the community. This is ever more important due to gentrification and demographic changes in the David Douglas and Parkrose districts, where high schools now have substantially higher proportions of disadvantaged students than the PPS district. Public transit is often critical for these students to meet their non-school transportation needs.
TriMet has an established policy to provide one-third of the funding for a high school student transit pass in any school district in its service district, with the remainder of the funds contributed by the jurisdiction and/or school district.
“We’re happy to partner with the City of Portland as well as the Portland Public, David Douglas and Parkrose districts,” said TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey. “This partnership will give students whose financial situation puts them at a disadvantage to their peers access to transit – and access to opportunity – for the upcoming school year.”
Looking to the future, the City of Portland and TriMet will convene a working group to explore long-term strategies for providing transit passes to low-income students in the Portland-area. Those strategies could include using funding from a new employee payroll tax established by the Keep Oregon Moving Law (HB2017) passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Oregon Governor Kate Brown last summer. It requires one percent of the revenue from the tax to go toward high school student transportation. The working group may also consider seeking state financial support for student transit programs and identifying other funding opportunities at the regional or state level.