Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Youth Zero program is increased access for families within the community. By eliminating the fare for youth, families can travel together on public transit without the added financial burden of paying for children. Families will be able to bring their children with them during their weekly errands and activities without concern for the fare total. Public transit access is one of the strongest indicators of opportunity and upward mobility for families with lower incomes.
Youth in our community also stand to gain from the Youth Zero program. Many youth do not have access to a vehicle or driving privileges and therefore have limited mobility in the community. Walking, biking, and driving with peers are suitable means of getting around, but now riding the bus will be the safest and least expensive alternative. Increased youth ridership will help foster independence in the youth of our community and create a generation of public transit users.
For tips on how to have a safe and comfortable ride with children on board, visit our Riding with Kids page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: When did the Youth Zero program begin?
Answer: The Youth Zero program began Sunday, September 4, 2022, as a trial and has since been committed to for another year.
Question: Who is eligible for Youth Zero program?
Answer: All youth ages 0-18 do not pay a fare.
Question: What is the minimum age a youth needs to be to use Cherriots?
Answer: The recommended age for unaccompanied travel is 12. A measure of ability is that the individual can demonstrate safe, independent travel within the community.
Question: Is there a pass or identification required to show eligibility to the bus operator?
Answer: No. Youth ages 0-18 will not be required to show any sort of pass or identification upon boarding the bus. Just get on and ride to your destination!
Question: Where is funding coming from to support this fare elimination?
Answer: In 2022, the City of Salem, the City of Keizer, and the Salem-Keizer Public Schools District approved one year of youth fare funding tp support this program. In 2023, Salem-Keizer Pubic Schools District committed to funding the program for another year, in partnership with Cherriots.
Question: Why did the City of Salem, the City of Keizer, and the Salem-Keizer Public Schools District choose to sponsor the Youth Zero program?
Answer: There are many reasons, including breaking down barriers so that families and youth can access their community: groceries, medical appointments, recreational activities, church, and jobs. Families may not utilize public transportation because the cost of riding with their children can create a financial barrier. Increased access to public transit for youth and families makes for a healthier community. Additionally, building a culture of transit starts young. A culture of transit addresses social, economic, and environmental factors that affect the well-being of the community.