The Massachusetts Department of Transportation launched a yearlong pilot program Wednesday to help more young people get access to public transportation for getting to work, school, and other activities.
The pilot program MBTA Youth Pass will provide monthly passes to those aged 12 to 21 for $26 a month, and make transportation available to 1,500 people from Boston, Somerville, Chelsea, and Malden, MassDOT said in a statement.
The partnership between those cities and the MBTA offers the current Student Pass program, which is usually available only to middle- and high-school students, to a larger youth population, the transportation department said. The Student Pass allows reduced fares for eligible students.
In addition to the monthly pass, the Youth Pass has a seven-day option for $7.
“The Youth Pass Pilot is a step in the right direction to find new and innovative ways to provide access at a price that is affordable for young people to get to work, school, and extracurricular activities,” Governor Charlie Baker said in the statement.
The pilot program was created by a group of MassDOT and MBTA leaders, youth advocates, and municipal partners, who developed the plan over the past eight months, MassDOT Secretary and Chief Executive Stephanie Pollack said in the statement.
More than 2,700 people have applied for the pilot program. Residents between the ages of 12 and 18 were eligible only if they were not already receiving a Student Pass from their school.
Those aged 19 to 21 need to meet needs-based criteria and show proof of enrollment in an educational, job training, state or federal benefit program, MassDOT said.
A set number of Youth Passes was allocated for each city, and city-specific waiting lists were created when the slots were filled.
Those interested in the program can still add their names to the waiting list by applying on the MBTA’s website, the statement said.
Participants of the pilot program must also agree to anonymous data collection for the MBTA to measure the impacts of the program.
“The pilot will measure costs to the MBTA and the benefits to the youth, including their ability to access jobs, school, and civic opportunities,” Pollack said.Felicia Gans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.