Cost will not be a barrier to young northwest Ohioans enjoying everything this community has to offer this summer, as the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) and community partners bring back the Youth Summer Blast Pass.

Last year, the Blast Pass program funded more than 2,000 passes for youth ages 6-19, who were able to ride all TARTA services free in the months of June, July and August.

TARTA’s Board of Trustees approved funding for the project at last Thursday’s board meeting, with additional support for the Youth Summer Blast Pass from:

  • City of Toledo
  • Lucas County
  • Greater Toledo Community Foundation

“We are grateful to have so much community involvement in this program, and thankful that the City of Toledo, Lucas County and the Greater Toledo Community Foundation recognize the positive impact that it has on our area youth,” said TARTA CEO Laura Koprowski. “We are looking forward to expanding the program this year so that TARTA is connecting even more youth with jobs, summer programs, and other essential destinations throughout Lucas County and the City of Rossford.

“In addition, the Youth Summer Blast Pass Program teaches our youth lifelong transit knowledge and skills. With more youth choosing not to drive a car, it is critical that we prepare them to confidently understand how to use TARTA so that they can independently navigate our community.”

The application process for the 2024 Youth Summer Blast Pass will begin in mid-April.

Applications will be available online, at TARTA’s Transit Hub (612 N. Huron Street, Toledo), at area schools and community partners, and from Team TARTA members at upcoming public events.

Blast Pass holders can ride free starting June 1 on all TARTA services, including fixedroute buses, paratransit vehicles, and TARTA Flex microtransit vehicles (for those traveling within a Flex zone). Youth ages 6-19 can either obtain a physical pass, or set up an account through the EZFare app to use a digital pass.

“Providing service for local youth is one of our continued priorities, so it makes perfect sense for TARTA and its partners to make transportation easier and more cost effective for them and their families,” said TARTA Board of Trustees Vice President Kendra Smith. “This program helps us provide equitable access to transportation, making it easier for our youth riders to get anywhere in the TARTA service area. It is our hope that this helps improve access to experiences and opportunities that improve their quality of life and help them become more familiar with what our community has to offer.

“Affordable public transit can be a game-changer for the youngest segments of our population. I’m proud to serve and work alongside TARTA’s board and employees who are all committed to continuing to find new ways to connect people of all ages with the assets in this great community.”