NEW FOR 2019:
CITY'S 'YOUTH RIDE FREE' TO REQUIRE USER PASS
Pass required for free transportation program beginning February 4
RAPID CITY, SD--Beginning in early February, all youth participating in the 'Youth Ride Free' program through the Rapid Transit System (RTS) will be required to have a bus pass. City officials indicate the bus pass, which is similar to the pass required of adult riders on the RTS system, provides better safety and security for the youth rider.
The youth pass requirement is effective February 4 for any child in kindergarten through 12th grade and there is no cost for the pass. The Rapid City Area School District sent a letter addressed to parents from RTS Manager Megan Gould a few days before the District went into winter break. Promotional flyers are also being distributed in local schools.
In her letter to parents, Gould stated, "The change is made in (sic) effort to continue to provide the safest possible transportation to our community's youth by making sure we have record of the identity of the child, the details of their bus use, and contact information for the parents. Youth will continue to ride for free and getting your child a pass will be a simple task."
A completed RapidRide registration form is required for the Youth Ride Free pass. The half-page form asks for the student's name, the name of a parent or guardian, home mailing address, phone and e-mail contact information, school and grade of the student. The completed form can be submitted to the Rapid Transit System at 333 Sixth Street.
"We have impressive numbers of youth utilizing the Youth Ride Free program," said Gould. "However, if we have an issue of a student not getting off a bus, if they become ill or there's an instance where a school official or parent or guardian needs to be contacted, we don't have any information. It's important we can reach out to the child's school or parent-guardian if a situation should arise.
"We have a lot of very young students riding our buses and we want to ensure their safety and security."
Youth can show the bus driver their pass upon boarding. Gould says if a student loses their pass, they will be transported to school or home, but advised further transportation will require a replacement pass.
During January, parents-guardians can register their elementary or middle school student at the bus depot at 333 Sixth Street, Monday-Friday, from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. RTS is also hosting a pair of Saturday sign-up sessions: January 12 and 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. High school students must provide the registration form and show their student ID to receive a pass.
The City began the 'Youth Ride Free' program at the start of the 2016-17 school year. For the first four months of the 2018-19 school year (September-December), RapidRide has recorded 56,915 youth passenger trips. A total of 117,459 youth passenger trips were recorded during the 2017-18 school session months compared to 88,250 in the 2016-17 school session, an increase of 33.09%.
Darrell W. Shoemaker | Communications Coordinator
T: 605.721.6686 | M: 605.939.8551