Target: Continue providing free bus passes to our area’s K-12 students.
Current Performance: See below for more.
Lack of access to reliable transportation can be a financial barrier for our local youth population, which impedes access to education, recreational programs, jobs, and other career development opportunities. In 2016, the City launched the K-12 Student Fare Free Bus Passes Pilot program, offering free StarMetro rides to students attending any K-12 school in Leon County. With a valid school identification card or a StarMetro-issued ID, students can ride any City bus seven days a week to any destination along fixed routes within the coverage area. Since the program was created, K-12 student ridership on fixed routes has increased by 80%.
Providing a free transportation option gives students the opportunity to participate in dual enrollment, extra-curricular activities, and employment. Additionally, the STAR program provides greater access to the City’s summer youth programs offered by the City’s Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs Department as well as other youth-centered programs such as the Tallahassee Engaged in Meaningful Productivity Opportunities (TEMPO) and the Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy (TFLA).
After student ridership decreased during the pandemic, the pilot—rebranded Student Transportation for Academics and Responsibilities (STAR) Program –– solidified its partnership with Leon County Schools (LCS) and began an aggressive outreach to all K-12 students. As an opt-in program, LCS processes student applications within its system, while the City primarily administers applications for charter and homeschool students. For the 2022-2023 school year, over 1500 STAR cards have been issued between LCS and StarMetro. All information about the opt-in program is available at talgov.com/STARprogram.
StarMetro. Last Updated: December 2022.