Sacramento Regional Transit has been providing free rides to school kids in grades transitional kindergarten-to-12th since Oct. 1.
SacRT says youth ridership has increased by 40 percent in the first month of the program — called Ryde Free RT— and that it's not too late for students to sign up.
"All schools received a blue sticker that can go right on their student ID," said RT spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez. "For some of those schools that don't have student IDs, we did provide a special Ryde Free RT card which also has that blue sticker.”
Gonzalez said that for students whose schools aren't participating, stickers and cards are available at all public libraries and the SacRT customer service center at the 13th Street light rail station.
There are about 1,950 more students riding during the week. There has also been increased ridership on weekends, especially Sunday, which had an increase of 73 percent.
SacRT says the increase could mean more outside funding sources in the future.
“To show that we have more ridership is helpful to be able to get some more federal state local funding to be able to expand our services,” Gonzalez said.
City Councilmember Jay Schenirer says the million dollars the council approved for the program was worth it.
"More kids are in school. Schools do better. They can't learn if they're not in their seats and schools aren't paid for kids if they're not there," Schenirer said.
The cities of Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Citrus Heights also put $35,000 toward offsetting the money SacRT would have collected had the kids paid. Local school districts contributed about $100,000.
SacRT says it plans to continue the program next year. It is set to expire Sept. 30.
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