Youth transitioning in and out of the foster care system, or who are currently in Extended Foster Care are eligible for free public transportation in the region through a new pilot program, transportation officials announced Friday.
The PRONTO Extend pilot program was approved by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District to provide support and improve access to opportunities for former foster youth and young adults currently in foster care as they transition into more independent living.
According to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and MTS Chairman Nathan Fletcher, the program will offer additional resources to help them succeed and ease that transition from foster care to more independent living.
“Young adults who have aged out of the foster care system face unique challenges as they enter adulthood,'' said Nathan Fletcher, MTS board chair and chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Many of the transitional age youth don't have social safety nets or financial support from their families.”
Transportation officials say the program will run through December 31, 2023, and will be valid for all MTS and NCTD fixed-route bus services, the trolley, SPRINTER, and COASTER.
“Whether participants are going to work, out for a day of fun, or headed to school, transit will be their answer for a free ride they can rely on,'' said Jewel Edson, NCTD board chair and Solana Beach Councilwoman. "The NCTD Board of Directors are hopeful that PRONTO Extend will open a world of opportunities for the participants and bolster their lives.''
Eligible participants will have one of the following current, valid forms from the County of San Diego, or other county jurisdiction:
- Notice of Action form; or
- Proof of Dependency/Wardship Letter.
How to apply:
- Online: sdmts.com/PRONTO-Extend
- Via Mail or in-person delivery: 100 16th Street, San Diego CA 92101 Attn: PRONTO Extend Eligibility
- Via Fax: 844-299-6369
Applications can take up to three weeks to process, so interested users are encouraged to apply early. Once approved for the PRONTO Extend program, participants will be able to download a free transit pass to their PRONTO app or PRONTO card for MTS and/or NCTD services each month.
For more information about the program, visit https://www.sdmts.com/fares/pass-programs/pronto-extend.