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More affordable fares are coming to our transit system because transit riders took action – but we need to continue organizing to make sure these discounted fares are made permanent and available to all.

On Tuesday, September 27th, 2022, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services announced a new pilot program to test more affordable fares for low-income transit riders.

This announcement is a huge win for transit riders and it is only possible because together we all have been advocating and organizing for years. We’ve always known that cheaper transit fares would make it easier to move through our city. We’ve known that cheaper fares would put money back in our pockets for our families. Now cheaper fares are happening because of our advocacy.

But our work is not done. We need to make sure that more affordable fares become a permanent part of our transit system in Allegheny County – and we need your help.

Now, we are organizing a group of advocates who want to learn more about getting involved in this discounted fare program and who will help us make it permanent. If you receive SNAP/EBT benefits, and if you want to get involved in the campaign, sign up above and our organizers will contact you about how to get involved.

News Recap

Youtube video created by Pittsburghers for Public Transit member, Dean Mougianis.

The discounted transit fare program is being run by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, but we are a coalition of transit riders and advocates who have been calling for more affordable fares for years. Here is our press statement on Allegheny County DHS’s announcement of the program, and some recent news articles on the announcement to fill you in on this campaign: 

Fair Fares Coalition Celebrates County Launch of Reduced-Fare Pilot; Cautions Details Are Key to Success

September 27, 2022

The Fair Fares for a Full Recovery Coalition led by Just Harvest, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, and UrbanKind, and advanced by the Equitable and Just Greater Pittsburgh network, commends Allegheny County Department of Human Services (ACDHS) and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for their leadership in creating a public transit reduced-fare pilot project. For years, members of our coalition, along with other advocates, transit riders, and community members, have been urging Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT, formerly Port Authority of Allegheny County) to provide fare relief for low-income households. Organizations and transit riders have uplifted this call for relief and its expansive public health benefits in public testimony, op-eds, rallies, sign-on letters and in research. Many other cities provide fare relief for their low-income populations. In the Pittsburgh region, PRT fares fall heaviest on low-income households, who are the most reliant on public transit and the highest likelihood of paying the full cash fare for every trip. As such, we are excited to see this substantial step forward in providing much needed fare relief.

This pilot is the first step towards affordable public transit, a critical human need that, if met, would unlock access to healthy food, health care, child care, employment, and all of civic life. A long-term, zero fare program for all SNAP households will ensure freedom of movement, economic opportunity, and investment in underserved areas, while strengthening the county’s transit system as a whole. We know that in cities like Kansas City and Boston, the removal of long-standing public transit cost barriers has yielded immediate, expansive benefits such as improvements to the health and employment of riders, increased ridership, bus safety, as well as decreased greenhouse gasses.

read the full press statement here

Read the news coverage of the new program’s announcement

Fare Relief for a Full Recovery Interviews

Transit fares in Allegheny County are some of the most expensive in the United States. Removing the barrier of fares would be transformational for residents of our county. 


Transit riders and advocates have been working towards this victory for years – but the fight isn’t over. Our coalition is going to keep on organizing until all can access high-quality public transportation in our county.

In the Spring of 2020, as the pandemic isolated thousands of families across Western PA, the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council together with Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Just Harvest, and the Urban Kind Institute’s Equitable and Just Greater Pittsburgh Network convened a coalition of organizations who began advocating for a free fare program for Allegheny County Residents who receive SNAP/EBT benefits.

This coalition of more than 50 organizations issued a letter to PRT CEO Katharine Kelleman in August of 2021 asking them to institute an affordable fare program to help families recover from the pandemic’s economic impact. 

In the years since, these organizations have issued reports to detail how Allegheny County could implement a discounted fares program; collected thousands of petition signatures in support of the effort; released surveys and stories about the transformational impact that affordable fares would have on riders; organized dozens of transit riders to speak up for more affordable transit fares in public hearings; and held rallies to build public pressure for such a program.

This advocacy has been successful in encouraging 19 local political leaders to sign on to a letter of support for a program, it elevated affordable fare programs as the #2 policy priority in PRT’s long-range plan, and now that the Department of Human Services has announced the launch of a discounted fares pilot program, we are one step closer to making this a reality for all. 

We celebrate that we are now one step closer to our goal, but our work is far from over. Transit riders have shown that their advocacy can have an impact. Now it’s time to organize so that everyone in Allegheny County has the freedom to move.

Members of the Fair Fares for a Full Recovery Coalition:

Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
UrbanKind Institute
Pittsburghers for Public Transit
Just Harvest
Kingsley Association
412 Food Rescue
Casa San Jose
Black Women’s Policy Agenda
Opportunity Fund
Bloomfield Development Corporation
House of Manna
Moishe House Pittsburgh
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
East End Food Coop
E.A.T. Initiative
Homewood Concerned Citizens Council
Lawrenceville United
Hill District Consensus Group
Harvie Farm Stand
Breathe Project
Pittsburgh Budget and Policy Center
Catapult Greater Pittsburgh
Community Kitchen PGH
Alliance for Police Accountability
Pittsburgh United
Pittsburgh Mutual Aid
Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op
Mayor Nickole Nesby, City of Duquesne & City of Duqesne Planning Department
Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance
Primary Care Health Services, Inc.
Grow Pittsburgh
Project Silk
Oakland Planning and Development Corporation
Bridge Outreach
Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives
Plant-Based Pittsburgh
Human Services Center Corporation
Open Up
Bellevue Farmers Market
Repair the World – Pittsburgh
APALA Pittsburgh – Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Work Hard PGH
Green Party of Allegheny County
Central Outreach Wellness Center
Community & Students for All Workers – CSAW
Academy Pittsburgh
Disability Options Network