Teenagers on trolley
Teenagers on an MTS trolley. Courtesy SANDAG

County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a $1.5 million program to provide no-cost transit passes to residents 18 and younger.

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act and will be turned over to the San Diego Association of Governments, which in turn will oversee the program on behalf of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System.

Supervisors approved the money as part of their consent agenda.

According to information on the meeting agenda, the Youth Opportunity Pass pilot program will focus on youth impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and run from May 20 through June 30, 2023.

Supervisor Nora Vargas, who proposed the ridership program, said such an opportunity brings security and stability to lives of students. Her colleague Terra Lawson-Remer added that free transportation allows young people to better explore the county.

In a statement, board Chairman Nathan Fletcher said helping “young people get to school, their part-time jobs and extracurricular activities at no-cost provides some financial relief to families, and will also inspire a new generation of transit riders.”

During the meeting, Fletcher also said the county should seek permanent funding to continue the program.

More information on the ridership program can be found at www.sdmts.com.

City News Service contributed to this article.