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Reduced fare program described as a ‘lifesaver’

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, October 29, 2019 1:48:00 PM

In Rosalind Graham’s world, every dollar counts.

So when Metro Transit introduced a fare program that would allow her to ride for $1, she welcomed the opportunity to cut costs. The Minneapolis resident enrolled in what’s known as the Transit Assistance Program, or TAP, in 2018.

Today, she rides transit multiple times a week to get to and from work, applying the savings to housing and other expenses.

“TAP was a lifesaver,” Graham said. “Before TAP, I had to scrape together whatever change I could to get to work, and if I missed a transfer, it really hurt to find enough change for another fare.”

Graham is among 20,000 individuals who have participated in the TAP program since it was introduced two years ago, collectively taking more than 2 million rides. The program allows income-qualified residents to ride any bus or train for $1, half the cost of a regular adult fare.

TAP participants take about 30 rides a month, using a special Go-To Card.

While stories like Graham’s are becoming more common, there remains plenty of room for growth. Around 624,000 residents meet TAP’s eligibility requirements.

Metro Transit hopes to reach more of those residents by working with community partners and expanded marketing efforts. Operators are also encouraged to provide information with customers.

“Increasing housing and transportation costs really put pressure on people of modest means,” said Mary Capistrant, who helped introduce the program as Metro Transit’s revenue operations supervisor. “TAP is indispensable for many residents, but many still don’t know that they’re eligible.”

Among the organizations helping get the word out is Minneapolis-based Pillsbury United Communities, which serves residents who are in crisis and on the verge of homelessness.

Like dozens of other community partners, Pillsbury United Communities raises awareness and helps residents apply. In some cases, partners also verify incomes and distribute Go-To Cards on behalf of Metro Transit.

“98% of the people we serve don’t have a car and rely solely on transit to get around,” said Kelly Leuca, Pillsbury’s director of family services. “TAP helps them not only get around but get to us for support services.”

In addition to lowering the cost of getting to work and services, TAP has helped some individuals open entirely new chapters in their lives.

Donte Curtis invested the money he saved into his fledgling business, through which he provides diversity, equity and inclusion workshops, among other services. 

“TAP really helped me during a difficult period and I’m thankful for the program,” he said.

For more information about enrolling in TAP or becoming a TAP visit metrotransit.org/tap

 

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