In Rapid City, South Dakota, the Youth Ridership Initiative and RapidRide Initiative have been put in place to encourage school attendance. According to these initiatives, students are allowed to ride the buses for free to school, the library and recreational facilities.
Compared to two years ago, the amount of people riding the buses in Rapid City last month showed a 30% increase. More than 41,000 people rode the buses last month (in January of 2018). This past January, over 13,000 rides were from youths. This is an increase from January of 2017, a year ago, when over 10,000 rides were from youths.
It is pretty obvious that a major reason for why bus ridership has gone up is the fact that kids who attend local schools are given free rides.
Rapid City has the right idea to provide youths with free public transportation. Some youths do not have cars, and it can be a long, tedious process to get somewhere without a car. Walking someplace can take a long time and can expose a person to the dangers of being harassed by other people. Public transit costs money, and youths may not have the money to go to where they need to go. Their families may too poor, or their families might just be obstinate about giving them money. Some youths may not have bicycles, or may be opposed to riding bikes in the streets for safety reasons.
It makes sense to provide youths with free rides, because youths have the least credentials when it comes to finding ways to make an income.
This policy of providing them with free rides to schools, places of leisure and libraries encourages them to to get out, do constructive activities, be active and take part in their communities. This is especially true in times when there is cold weather.