Metro Board Makes Permanent The Largest Fareless Student Transit Pass Program In United States

With the support of dozens of community organizations, students, and school districts, L.A. Mayor and Chair of Metro Karen Bass makes the popular pilot program permanent so that public transit is fare-free for all 1.15M students in Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles—April 25, 2024—As L.A. County faces worsening traffic and climate change, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board approved a “Bridge to Farelessness” motion to make public transit fare-free for 1.15 million eligible students in participating school districts–the largest of its kind in the United States that gets cars off the road and creates the next generation of riders.

The motion, led by Chair of the Metro Board and Mayor of the City of Los Angeles Karen Bass, is based on the wildly successful ‘any line, any time’ model program piloted by Move LA that has already seen 36 million rides from 380,000 unique participants at 124 registered community college districts, private schools, public district, and charter networks in two-and-a-half years. Students can ride on seventeen different transit systems for free throughout L.A. County. 

Introduced by L.A. Mayor Karen Bass, Inglewood Mayor James Butts, Whittier Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Dutra, Metro Director Jackie Dupont-Walker, and Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Hilda Solis, this motion is the culmination of nearly 15 years of work by Move LA to create an “insurance-like” transit discount programs – where all school districts pay a little and all students get a pass – that has helped transit agencies across California recover ridership after the pandemic. 

Student pass programs immediately create a culture of ridership, reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (car trips), and cut greenhouse gas emissions. For students, it is the social welfare benefits of this program that really bring value—from reducing absenteeism at K-12 schools to increasing graduation rates at community colleges to reducing poverty and homelessness. These programs are proven to work…and work quickly to achieve all these co-benefits.

“When you give a student a transit pass, they ride,” said Eli Lipmen, Executive Director of Move LA, a transit and affordable housing advocacy organization. “We are creating the next generation of transit riders who will see the bus and rail system as their means of getting to school, work, extra-curriculars, appointments, culture and sporting events, and more.” 

Move LA has worked with community colleges to expand the program since students at Santa Monica College voted to launch the ‘Any Line, Any Time’ program in 2008. After successfully including funding in Measure M for student pass discount programs, Metro established the popular UPASS program.

The Bridge to Farelessness Motion is supported by:


“Our experience at SMC began in 2007 with our own student transit pass program in partnership with the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus,” said SMC Superintendent/President Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D. “Now, with the Exposition light rail line and Metro’s GoPass program, most of our students arrive on campus by transit! Public transit has become part of our culture. Student pass programs offer our students the most reliable and environmentally responsible way to get to class. Thank you to the Metro Board for your work to make Metro's GoPass Program permanent and included in the Metro budget...forever!”

“I would like to thank the LA Metro Board for their support and voting in favor of making the GoPass Program permanent for LA County’s K-14 students,” said LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez. “Fareless transit enables more students to access higher education and accelerates student success for our neediest students by freeing up scarce resources to be directed to other basic needs such as housing, food, books, and internet connectivity. We applaud their foresight to have this program extended permanently.” 

“I support making Metro's GoPass, the free student pass program, permanent. It will benefit Los Angeles area community college students and Pasadena City College students in particular. PCC is in the middle of great public transit with a nearby A-Line station and excellent bus service. Our students use public transit to save the expense of owning a car, the worry of a breakdown, and to reduce traffic and pollution. I encourage you to pass this proposal.” Tammy Silver Trustee, Pasadena City College

“This landmark program is the result of strong and successful grassroots advocacy from LACCD students, the LACCD Board of Trustees, Move LA, and support from Mayor Karen Bass and the LA Metro Board and staff to reduce inequity in transportation,” said LACCD Board Vice President Trustee Sara Hernandez. “We thank the LA Metro Board, who voted unanimously to approve making the GoPass permanent today.”


“Los Angeles Unified has been advocating alongside a diverse coalition to increase opportunities for students by providing free access to public transportation at any time or day of the week,” said Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “We have been a proud partner of LA Metro’s GoPass Pilot Program over the past three years with Los Angeles Unified TK-12 grade and adult education learners leveraging this program with more than 6.1 million boardings since July 2023. In large part to Mayor Karen Bass’ leadership as Metro’s Chair and to Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins, the Metro Board’s action taken today to make the GoPass Program permanent is a win-win that will cement the County’s leadership as we collectively support the next generation of public transit riders, assist with environmental goals and give LA’s youth the opportunity to explore all the cultural and beautiful sites Los Angeles has to offer.”

“Board District 1 is fully in support of the Bridge to Farelessness motion, making the GoPass program permanent. The GoPass program opens a world of opportunity, accessibility, and experiences to all students of the Los Angeles Unified School District.” Los Angeles Unified Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III

"I applaud Mayor Karen Bass and members of the LA Metro Board for their work to ensure students have access to free transit. Making the LA Metro student GoPass Program permanent not only makes public transportation more accessible, but also contributes to reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions—goals that LA Unified is actively working toward. I support the Bridge to Farelessness Motion to alleviate poverty, increase social mobility, and improve the health of students in Los Angeles." Los Angeles Unified Board Member Nick Melvoin 

“Every day our students use Metro’s GoPass to ride public transit for free. By making this program permanent, we are ensuring students can access the many amazing spaces and places in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Unified is proud to continue to support the program on behalf of our students and families.” Los Angeles Unified Board Member Kelly Gonez

“We celebrate this collaborative effort that has proven essential in providing students’ access to affordable transportation across LA county, facilitating school commutes, internships, workplace access, extracurricular activities, and much more,” Los Angeles Unified Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “We look forward to working together on equitable initiatives to help our students reach their full potential in college, career, and life.”


“We set up the GoPass Program very intentionally so that the cost of a district or school to participate covers unlimited-use passes all students. For equity purposes, we want the passes to be available to every student, regardless of grade level, income, or any other factor. Similarly, the passes themselves have no restrictions and can be used any time of day or day of week and for any purpose,” said Devon Deming, deputy executive officer of LA Metro’s discount programs. 


“Transportation is the largest source of climate emissions in LA, and most of that is private cars. Let’s make transit the default option for the next generation!” said Morgan Goodwin, Sierra Club’s Angeles Chapter Director. “This is a low-cost investment with big benefits for the unfolding climate emergency.”

Move LA is a coalition building nonprofit organization that led the effort to pass transformative mobility solutions through Measures R (2008) and M (2016) in LA County that fund public transit operations, capital projects, and maintenance. We build broad-based coalitions involving diverse stakeholders seeking bold solutions to the biggest challenges facing the region—mobility, affordable housing and homelessness, air quality and climate change. Move LA’s Advisory Board includes leaders from the labor, environmental, business, and nonprofit communities working collaboratively to find practical solutions and funding to create a more accessible, equitable, and sustainable region.