High school students have found ways to avoid being noticed on public transit, when they don't have the money to buy a ticket. According to Dallas News, they either sit at the front or back of the train car, pretend to be asleep, or show a mobile ticket without activating it.
Those who get caught, often make up an excuse, because they have to get to school but have no money. Dallas News says those who do get kicked off, try to sneak onto the next train that comes by. This is leading Dallas Area Rapid Transit to consider a pilot program for students that offers them free rides.
The program is still in the early discussions and research phase. The DART Board of Directors is looking at several factors including financial, operational, and safety issues. They also are exploring sustainable ways to afford the program. DART has told Dallas News a six-month pilot program would cost DART nearly $1 million, with students taking more than one million rides on DART every year and together with schools spending $2 million on DART's services.
Budget and Finance Chair Jon-Bertrell Killen told Dallas News, that his view of DART's role in the community changed when DART delivered groceries to residents at the height of the pandemic. He started to look at other opportunities we may have that we haven't explored. One of these opportunities was offering free fares for students. The current proposal would offer free fares to all K-12 students in the Dallas area. Students over 12 years old would need to show a student ID to ride and those under 12 would need to be accompanied by a guardian.