Low-income transit riders could see permanent relief in fares in Allegheny County as local officials look to expand a successful pilot program.
Allegheny County Rich Fitzgerald announced last week that the county has reached an agreement with Pittsburgh Regional Transit to fund a program that provides discounted transit fares to residents on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or food stamps.
A pilot program that ran for 12 months starting in December 2022 saw nearly 15,000 people participate, including more than 9,500 adults and about 5,000 children. The pilot doled out free monthly Pittsburgh Regional Transit passes, discounted fare passes for half-off rides and ConnectCards preloaded with $10 to people on SNAP.
County officials said preliminary findings from the pilot showed that, on average, the 50% discounts resulted in a fourfold increase in ridership compared to those who did not receive a discount. Those with free fares doubled their ridership compared to those who saw a 50% discount.