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Public Involvement Toolbox  

  Discounts and Special Promotions
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   Discounts and Special Promotions strategy toolbox
Recommended Target Groups
Implementation Guidelines and Suggestions
Lessons Learned/Challenges
Case Studies

Description:  Return to top

Discounts and Special promotions are usually offered to certain individuals in order for them to ride public transit at reduced or free fare.  Transit agencies usually offer these services to children, students, senior citizens, the disabled and military personnel. 

Recommended Target Groups:  Return to top
  Age :
    Working Age Adults
  Disability :
    Sight Impaired
    Hearing Impaired
    Physically Challenged
  Education :
    No High School Diploma
    High School Diploma
    College Education
  Income :
    Low Income
    Middle / Afluent
  Language :
  Race And Ethnicity :
    Race and Ethnicity
  Vehicle Owndership :
    Vehicle Owner
    Non-vehicle Owner

Implementation Guidelines and Suggestions:  Return to top

Transit agencies offer discount programs that allow all individuals to buy bus tickets for commuting purposes at reduced prices. The goal for transit agencies is to increase the use of public transit by individuals and reduce single occupancy vehicle use. In addition, by leading by example, the transit Agencies hope to encourage private employers to enter partnerships with the agency.


Children under the age of 4 are given free admission at most transit agencies in order to get their caretakers to ride public transit. 


Students are given half-off on fares with a valid student ID.  However, students over the age of 18 are not eligible for these reduced fares. Transit agencies encourage students to ride public transit because many students have no or low incomes and this encouragement reduces traffic volume. Some transit agencies also provide college students with discounts on fares.


Discounts are awarded to War veterans that make a minimal annual salary. Veterans need to provide proof, usually in the form of special documentation (check stub or proof of veteran's benefits as proof of income; a utility bill or VA verification letter as proof of residency; an veteran's picture ID; and DD214 or VA 1010 form as proof of an honorable discharge). The transit agency will then provide a special transit pass  in order for the military veterans to ride public transit for free.

Individuals who are senior citizens, 65 years and older or Social Security beneficiaries are eligible to ride transit free.  Individuals 65 years and older will receive a permanent pass to ride transit for free. Applicants under age 64 receive a card which must be renewed annually.

Lessons Learned/Challenges:  Return to top

Agencies will usually distribute passes on an annual basis in order to be able to enforce the policies setup by the transit agency.  However, senior citizens are usually given permanent passes.


Each Agency advertises discounts and special promotions in different ways. Agencies will usually have information on special rates and discounts on their homepage in the internet.  Transit Agencies also advertise on billboards and on their bus stops.


Agencies have also considered giving more discounts and special promotions to the average rider.  Many agencies have adopted a plan to provide working individuals who use public transit as a means to get to work with a special or discounted fare.

Case Studies:  Return to top

The City of Palo Alto has an Employee Commute Program that offers incentives for employees who commute to work using transit, vanpools, carpools, bicycling and who walk to work. Employees that are eligible for City benefits programs may enroll in the commute program. Approximately 15 percent of eligible employees participate in this program.


Santa Clara Valley offers new employee’s one free monthly public transit pass. 

Most employers participate in the program and it has been a very useful amenity

that employers have used to lure workers.


Lebraiona, John, Miami-Dade Public Transit, User information officer, April 16, 2005, Interview.

Burress, Alison, York Region Transit, marketing specialist, April 19, 2005, Interview., Miami-Dade Homepage, April 19, 2005.



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