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About the Fund:

The Transit Empowerment Fund, formerly Basic Transportation Needs Fund, was established in 2011 as a partnership between Capital Metro and One Voice Central Texas to enhance access to transportation. Since 2012, an independent Board has overseen the work of the Fund including the distribution of transit passes to nonprofit organizations and support of a demonstration project. The Board includes representatives from the nonprofit and business communities and Capital Metro.

Purpose of Request For Applications (RFA)

The Transit Empowerment Fund (TEF) Board will accept applications for the following:

  1. Purchase of deeply discounted Capital Metro Local Bus Passes, Commuter Passes, and MetroAccess Ten Ride Booklets (50% reduction from the reduced nonprofit rate = 75% discount from the full fare). The provision of deeply discounted passes (as opposed to no cost passes) will help ensure the sustainability of the Fund.
  2. No Cost Passes – a limited number of no cost passes will be available. A maximum of 30% of the overall request can be made for no cost passes (i.e. if requesting $1,000 in passes up to $300 in passes can be requested at no cost). However, for no cost passes to be awarded, a compelling case must be made as to the critical need for the passes and the reasons that the organization cannot purchase the passes at the deeply discounted rate.

NOTE: Applicants applying through the annual RFA process for the first time are not eligible for no cost passes. There must be a history of accurate and timely reporting for no cost passes to be considered.

Eligible Pass/Ticket Types: Applicants can request deeply discounted passes for Local Bus Service, Premium Service, Commuter Service, and 10-Ride MetroAccess Service. Within each category, applicants can apply for Reduced Fare passes; please note, however, that ALL RECIPIENTS OF REDUCED FARE PASSES MUST MEET ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA DETAILED AT AND HAVE A CAPITAL METRO REDUCED FARE ID CARD FROM CAPITAL METRO.

All recipients of METROACCESS passes must have a MetroAccess card:

More information about Capital Metro fares can be found at:

Target Population: All passes must be used by individuals who are at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level and are transit dependent.

Purpose: The primary purpose of the passes must be to access: Employment, Education, Healthcare, or Social Services.

Eligible Applicants:

Applicants must be either a 501©3 organization, a tax-exempt veteran organization, or a governmental entity.


RFA released: January 7, 2019

Optional Bidders conference: Tuesday January 15, 10-11 a.m. in the Meals on Wheels Central Texas Board Room, 3227 East 5th, Austin, 78702

Click here to RSVP

Deadline for applications: 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

All applications must be submitted through the online form. The Board reserves the right to follow up with applicants with specific questions.

Decision announced no later than March 29, 2019

Note that the Board will review all applications and may award all, partial, or none of an applicants request.

Pass Distribution: It is anticipated that the passes will be ready for distribution in July 2019. This is generally within 12 weeks of the decision. Recipients will be required to attend an orientation when they pick up their passes.

The Board does not anticipate another solicitation for bus pass applications until early 2020, so organizations should consider that when making their application.


All applicants must submit a copy of the following to the online forum.

  • Application – Required of all applicants
  • Most recent audit (pdf) – Required of all applicants
  • 501©3 certificate – Required unless previously provided to TEF, or applicant is a government agency. If you are unsure if this has been provided, email
  • All applicants must sign a statement that they do not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual preference, religion or race – Required unless previously provided to TEF. If you are unsure if this has been provided, email

If you have questions about the application, please contact Sam Woollard at or 512-217-6862.

Click here to begin the application.