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  • Writer's pictureMario Valadez

Transform Connects Low-Income Residents with Affordable Transit

This summer, TransForm signed up 167 residents at Lion Creek Crossing (LCC) for the AC Transit EasyPass, which allows unlimited free rides on AC Transit local and transbay services. The outreach is part of our larger Mobility Hubs Pilot Program in which we provide low-cost or free access to public transit for affordable housing residents.

“Once I heard about this bus pass, I couldn’t wait to have it,” says Vivienne Serrano, a senior living at LCC, a public housing development in Oakland. “I like to get out during the summer, and this pass will make it easier to do that on my own.” Most of the seniors living at LCC don’t own a car, and the few that do say they generally feel unsafe operating a vehicle. Instead of having to ask and wait for a friend or family member to give them a ride, they’d rather travel places on their own schedule, and affordable transit gives them that option.

TransForm’s theory of change starts with meeting residents where they’re at. In 2020, we conducted a Community Transportation Needs Assessment to learn more about the transportation needs and behaviors of residents at LCC, as well as affordable housing projects in Richmond and San Jose. The assessment found a majority of residents ride public transit regularly, but they might not be aware of discounted transit passes for which they qualify. LCC is steps away from the Coliseum BART station and a short walk from several AC Transit bus lines, but regular fare prices can pose a barrier for many older residents on fixed incomes.

Over the two-day sign-up event, we provided three multilingual translators to help alleviate language barriers, and AC Transit staff were also onsite to answer bus service questions. We appreciate the EBALDC staff and the Site Level Team, a group of volunteer residents who help plan and promote events, for spreading the word to LCC seniors. In the coming weeks, the participating residents will receive their passes in the mail and be on their way to taking unlimited free rides on AC Transit.

TransForm’s advocacy has been essential in keeping our transit systems running and providing vital service to transit-dependent riders like the senior residents at LCC. TransForm has been leading a multi-year advocacy effort to secure additional funding for transit service in the state budget. Additional transit funding was included in this year thanks to our advocacy, but it’s not enough to avert the fiscal cliff for Bay Area transit agencies.

Discount programs like the AC Transit EasyPass and many others are important to ensure equitable and affordable access to public transportation. All people, no matter their income level, should have the opportunity to live in a walkable community with excellent transportation choices that connect them to opportunities. By investing in these types of communities, we are making California more affordable, our streets safer, and helping solve our climate crisis.

If you want better transit options for all, consider supporting TransForm. Your contribution will directly support our efforts to create frequent and reliable public transit in the Bay Area.


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