On May 21st, The Transit Empowerment Fund (TEF) received the honor of the 2023 CapMetro Community Partner Award. TEF was recognized for our ongoing partnership with CapMetro and community engagement work. Additionally, Martin Kariethi, CapMetro Director of Systemwide Accessibility and long-time TEF Board member, received the 2023 Community Service & Leadership Award. We are honored to receive this award!
This year, TEF and CapMetro have worked closely with local advocates to design and administer a study of unmet transit needs in our community. For the study period of October 2022-September 2023, TEF has awarded no-cost passes to local nonprofits and grassroots organizations to distribute to community members who are low-income and transit-dependent. This emergency allocation was informed by testimony from community members currently experiencing homelessness and their allies. CapMetro has tracked the utilization of this emergency allocation of passes with the goal of offering more accessible and equitable transit pass programs.
Emergency allocation passes have increased TEF ridership from an average of approximately 68,000 rides per month in 2022 to an average of approximately 249,000 rides per month in 2023. In March and April 2023, TEF ridership comprised 13% of CapMetro’s total ridership. From the findings of this study, CapMetro will be releasing a long-term parallel program to the current Transit Pass Program which allocates no-cost fare cards to unhoused community members through service providers and the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). TEF is committed to continue to work in partnership with CapMetro and social service agencies to increase transit access.