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Transportation and Public Works

For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors approves funding for ‘fare-free’ public transit for college students, local routes 28 and 32

SANTA ROSA, CA | October 04, 2022

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today authorized agreements with Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University to continue the “Fare-Free” transit program for Sonoma County college students through fiscal year 2023-24. County general fund contributions under both agreements may total up to $57,000 based on projected ridership as both transit and college attendance recovers following the pandemic. The County of Sonoma has financially supported free use of Sonoma County Transit since 2015 through the Subsidized Fare Program for College Students. 

In addition to support of free public transit for college students, the Board of Supervisors approved $43,000 in annual funding for continued fare-free service on local routes 28 and 32, which serve the communities of Guerneville, Monte Rio, Occidental and Sonoma. 

“For many Sonoma County families, access to public transit is essential to their employment, to their education and to their overall well-being,” said James Gore, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Today, we reinstated multi-year support for fare-free transit service at financial amounts that reflect projected ridership and allow for an increase to pre-pandemic levels.”

Additional fare-free routes include Route 66, the Windsor Shuttle; Route 67, the Healdsburg Shuttle; Route 24, the Sebastopol Shuttle; Route 68, the Cloverdale Shuttle; and Cotati/Rohnert Park routes (10, 12, 14), which are funded in FY 2022-23 with federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. Transit officials will work to establish an agreement with both cities to fund fare-free service beyond FY 2022-23. Except for local routes, college students and military veterans, fares are collected on all Sonoma County Transit intercity routes. 

In March 2020, all Sonoma County Transit fares were suspended due to COVID-19 and did not resume until February 2021. Since February 2021, funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was provided to maintain routes 28 and 32 as fare-free. The Board of Supervisors first approved funding for fare-free programs on local routes 28 and 32 on Dec. 11, 2018. 

Sonoma County Transit has also been collaborating with Santa Rosa CityBus and Petaluma Transit to develop a coordinated fare-free pilot program for all youth riders and has submitted a funding request for that project through the Sonoma County Climate Resilience Fund. 

Board materials related to funding of Sonoma County Transit's Fare-Free Program on Local Routes 28 and 32, are available here: 
https://sonoma-county.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5852787&GUID=B1DF6E4D-DB18-4B8D-955F-C0A4C5FDF180.

Board materials related to the approval of Memoranda of Understanding for the Subsidized Transit Fare Program for College Students in Fiscal Years 2022-23 and 2023-24 are available here: 
https://sonoma-county.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5852786&GUID=0C688823-D1C7-4321-82C7-E603DEAE8E7F.

For more information about Sonoma County Transit, including fares, schedules and paratransit, please call (800) 345-7433, email comments@sctransit.com or visit: https://sctransit.com/fares/discount-categories/

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Media Contact: 
Dan Virkstis  
publicaffairs@sonoma-county.org 
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A 
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 
(707) 565-3040

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