CITY TO AGAIN OFFER
‘YOUTH RIDE FREE” TRANSIT PROGRAM
**Sixth year of free transit service for youth;
**Rapid Transit System to offer
free orientation rides for parents Aug. 17-27
RAPID CITY, SD—As parents and students scamper to buy school clothes, sneakers and supplies, one of the key boxes on the school checklist that impacts many families is reliable transportation to and from school.
The City and Rapid Transit System (RTS) is again offering the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program for the 2021-22 school year.
This is the sixth consecutive school year youth will be able to ride free on the Rapid Transit System's (RTS) RapidRide program. The City is offering a free ride orientation period beginning tomorrow (Tuesday) through August 27 for parents to become familiar with routes and schedules by boarding any of the RapidRide buses.
Parents can ride free during this orientation period when accompanied by their school-aged child.
Registration is required for the free transportation program. Parents and guardians can contact Rapid Transit Service at 394-6631 to register or go online to rapidride.org and click on the ‘Youth Ride Free’ button. Information requested includes student’s name, school, parent or guardian’s name, and a phone number for emergency contact purposes.
"We are excited to again offer the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program this school year,” said Megan Gould, RTS System Manager. “The program offers a free and convenient option for transportation to and from school for youth and anywhere along our fixed route system.
“The service also provides peace of mind for parents knowing there is a reliable option for getting their child to school. It’s also a great option when that school car isn’t working or we have cold, inclement weather with icy roads.”
Gould says the parent orientation rides are an opportunity for parents and children to ride together to learn about transit schedules, routes and boarding locations.
Local schools were impacted by COVID protocols during the 2020-21 school year which also impacted youth ridership numbers on RapidRide. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, youth ridership averaged 12-13,000 passenger trips per month. During the COVID restrictions, youth ridership still averaged more than 3,000 boardings per month during the 2020-21 school year.
In announcing the free youth transportation program in the summer of 2016, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender indicated the free youth transit program would provide students better access to schools, libraries, recreation and social events as well as save money for families and foster appreciation for public transportation among the City's youth.
RapidRide will also have maps, material and regular ride schedules available as well as published online at rapidride.org .