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    Center on Policy Initiatives

Victory! SANDAG Approves Youth Opportunity Passes and Transit Improvements

On October 22, 2021, the SANDAG Board voted to approve the 2021 Regional Plan Early Action Transit Pilot, allocating $6 million to fund Youth Opportunity Passes (YOPs) which provides free transit fares for youth 18 and under. This is a huge win for transit-dependent communities!   

The pilot program will include improvements on high-demand routes, increases in bus frequency and access to night services on certain lines. All of these changes are part of the 10 Transit Lifelines, a transportation-justice framework created by CPI and our partners in the San Diego Transportation Equity Working Group (SDTEWG).   

The 10 Transit Lifelines represent the priorities that residents at the frontlines of the climate crisis in Barrio Logan, City Heights, and National City have identified through a community-driven process led by the SDTEWG. Though identified by residents who live south of the I-8 freeway, the 10 lifelines reflect a vision to advance affordable and frequent transit solutions that will benefit all San Diegans. Most are solutions that can be implemented immediately while big infrastructure projects are built out. 

San Diego communities have been advocating for YOPs for over 10 years, making this a major historic win for transit-dependent communities, especially youth. YOPs help increase economic recovery for transit-dependent youth; form a transit-culture and life-long transit-riders; and connect youth to school, medical care, internships, jobs and other opportunities. Similar programs exist with great success in Alameda County, Boston, San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles.  

In addition, the following lines are being considered for service increase:  

  • 3: Euclid Transit Center to UCSD Medical Center⠀ 
  • 4: 12th/Imperial to Lomita Village ⠀ 
  • 13: 24th St. Transit Center to Kaiser Hospital 
  • 906/907: Iris Avenue Transit Center to San Ysidro ⠀ 
  • 929: 12th/Imperial to Iris Avenue Transit Center 

For decades prior, the San Diego region has failed to prioritize transit. The approval and implementation of the 2021 Regional Plan Early Action Transit Pilot is a step in the right direction, supporting youth and families and their economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

About SDTEWG 

Led by the Environmental Health Coalition, the San Diego Transportation Equity Working Group was established in 2018 by community-based organizations in an effort to elevate transportation and environmental justice opportunities in South San Diego for years to come. The core organizations are Center on Policy Initiatives, City Heights Community Development, Environmental Health Coalition, Mid-City CAN, and San Diego 350. Supporting organizations include Casa Familiar and the Urban Collaborative Project. 

Written by CPI San Diego