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DiCiccio, Transit Director Weigh In On Free Passes For Students

At a recent Phoenix City Council meeting, Denise Rivera, a parent of a student at charter school StarShine Academy, asked the council to consider an idea: what if the city provided free transit passes for city buses and light rail to all preschool-through-12th grade students citywide.

Students who go to school outside of their district or attend charter schools or after school programs often have to find their own transportation to and from school. And Rivera cited high rates of disengaged youth in the city and the dropout rate as reasons why this would be a good way to keep kids in school.

It’s an idea other cities have adopted, including Tempe here in the Valley.

Rivera presented the council with a petition that they’re scheduled to vote on today about the issue. And, for more on this, I spoke with Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who has taken up this issue.

If the City Council votes to move forward with the petition today, DiCiccio also said he’d like to at least see the idea studied so they can see the potential impact of it.

But the City’s Transit Department already took an initial look at this issue and determined that it would cost the city anywhere from $8 million to $12 million. And, for more on that, we’re joined now by Maria Hyatt, Director of Public Transit with the city of Phoenix.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.