FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Robin Craig, NVTA Communications Officer
NVTA Board Approves Fare Discount Program
Means-based program will allow low income riders to purchase discounted fares
NAPA — NVTA will participate in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) Clipper START program, an 18-month pilot program that uses the Clipper transit fare payment system to reduce the cost of transportation for low-income adults.
NVTA program participation was approved on July 15, 2020, by the NVTA Board of Directors.
Transit affordability is a challenge for the nearly 80% of Vine Transit riders who are low income. NVTA estimates that it collects roughly $400,000 each year in fares from low-income adults. Under the program, adults, age 19-64, with a household income no more than twice the federal poverty level, will be eligible for a 20% discount on fares.
The discounts are expected to cost NVTA $80,000 per year, but an MTC subsidy will reduce the cost to $40,000, for at least the first year.
The lower fares are available only through the Clipper Card program, which may help eliminate cash fares and significantly reduce costs associated with managing cash over time. Widespread use of the Clipper Card can also help slow the spread of coronavirus and other airborne illnesses because it uses transponders that can be placed away from drivers. NVTA is currently waiving all fares to support social distancing between drivers and passengers, due in part to the limited use of Clipper Card payments in the region.
Clipper START was established by MTC on four large transit systems in May 2018. MTC is proposing to use a $5 million set-aside from the Bay Area’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds to expand the pilot program to smaller transit operators.
The Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) serves as the Congestion Management Agency (CMA) for Napa County. NVTA is a Joint Powers Authority comprised of the Cities, Town, and County of Napa. NVTA is responsible for distributing state and federal transportation funds for local projects. NVTA prepares the county’s short- and long-term transportation plans, and works closely with its local, regional, state and federal partners to improve Napa County’s streets, highways, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. NVTA administers Measure T, the County’s ½ cent sales tax for transportation. NVTA also manages the Vine Transit bus system, providing local fixed-route service in Napa, door-to-door paratransit and community shuttles, and regional express bus service throughout the North Bay.