After helping Intercity Transit secure passage of Proposition 1 to advance transformational service, JRO was retained to explore options for fulfilling one of the agency’s core promises to voters – making fares easier to pay. After consulting technical experts and exploring a wide range of options, it became clear that fareless transit was not only a viable option, but possibly the most rational given the size, ridership demographics and structure of Intercity Transit’s system. JRO then conducted extensive outreach to test interest in potential solutions with key stakeholders and the broader public. Ultimately, with some important refinements, the consensus settled on a zero-fare system, which achieves the most important community priorities while acknowledging ridership is not “free” but rather prepaid and ticketless. Zero-fare transit was implemented in January 2020 and generated an immediate spike in ridership. While the policy remains in place, evaluation is delayed due to the pandemic.

Intercity Transit Zero-Fare Bus Service