Tempe plans to launch free bus-pass service for youth 6-18

Beginning Aug. 1, Tempe will implement a bus-pass program that allows youth ages six to 18 who live and receive schooling in Tempe to ride all Valley Metro bus routes at no charge.

The free passes will be available at the Tempe Transit Store, College Avenue and Veterans Way in downtown Tempe. The store is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

To receive a pass, an applicant must provide proof of Tempe residency, along with age and proof of receiving schooling in Tempe, including public, private and charter schools, as well as home schooling. The passes will be valid through June 30, 2006, with new cards issued annually.

Mayor Hugh Hallman said the program will help families reduce the need for extra vehicles to serve as family "taxis" or for driving-age students.

The city of Tempe and Valley Metro offer bus service seven days a week. Most Tempe buses run Monday through Saturday until 1 a.m. and Sunday until 10 p.m., with rush hour service every 15 minutes Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.

Benefits of a free youth bus pass program include improved mobility, decreased traffic congestion and decreased demand for limited parking at schools, as well as independence for both youth and parents.

For more information, contact the Tempe Transit Office at (480) 350-2775. For bus routes and schedules visit www.tempe.gov/tim or www.valleymetro.org.