SamTrans Adopts Youth Mobility Plan to Engage Young Riders

SamTrans Adopts Youth Mobility Plan to Engage Young Riders


The SamTrans Board of Directors signed off on the Youth Mobility Plan yesterday, which will allow SamTrans to implement measures to enhance youth awareness of and ease of access to SamTrans bus services.

Over a third of SamTrans riders are under the age of 25, and with young people being less likely to own a car than past generations, they are a demographic that SamTrans seeks to better serve. In addition, research has shown that people who ride public transit in their youth are more likely to ride as adults.

The plan included the development of initiatives to increase awareness of SamTrans services and engage more directly with youths county-wide. After extensive public outreach including youth focus groups, student surveys and parent questionnaires, as well as best practices research from around the nation, most were recommended to the board for near-term implementation including:

Create a Youth Mobility Coordinator Position – The coordinator would act as a liaison with schools and community groups so SamTrans can better understand youth-related needs and promote services.

Establish a Transit Youth Ambassador Program – The coordinator would also facilitate peer-to-peer engagement among youth, enabling them to conduct activities designed to get young people more comfortable with transit.

Launch a Pilot Expansion of the Way2Go Program – The Way2Go program currently allows organizations and residential communities to purchase annual unlimited-ride passes for all eligible employees or residents. Extending the program to cover community colleges would incentivize their students to take advantage of SamTrans services and support equity in access to education.

Increase Social Media Engagement with Youth & Parents – Youth will be engaged primarily through Snapchat and Instagram, while their parents will be engaged on the platforms they use most – NextDoor and Facebook.

Enable Purchase of Youth Fares via a Mobile Ticketing App – Outreach showed a clear demand for accessing transit information and being able to purchase fares via smartphones. This dovetails with an ongoing effort to create a SamTrans app that should be complete by 2019.

During the outreach process, SamTrans partnered with the Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), an advocacy organization focused on training young leaders to create positive change in their communities around issues like accessible and affordable public transportation. YLI was critical in getting direct contact with the youth that SamTrans hopes to engage more directly with. Moving forward, YLI is interested in partnering with SamTrans on recruitment for the Youth Ambassador Program.

Other initiatives have been tabled for future consideration, including offering transit passes to low-income youth, offering free transit on school-related routes at the beginning of the school year, and developing a multi-agency youth pass for use throughout the Bay Area.


About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 77 routes throughout San Mateo County.  Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976. 

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Media Contact: Dan Lieberman, 650.508.6385