Reduced Fare Programs for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities: A Peer Review of Policies

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, policy - disability, policy - fares, ridership - disadvantage, ridership - old people, planning - surveys


transit agencies, reduced fare programs, older adults, disabilities, open-ended survey


A significant but understudied activity of transit agencies is managing reduced fare programs for older adults and people with disabilities. The laws that mandate these programs afford transit agencies substantial latitude in designing implementations. Although the resultant program variation offers an excellent opportunity for agencies to learn from each other’s experiences, there has been little comparative analysis. This paper addresses this knowledge gap by providing, for the first time, a systematic consideration of reduced fare policies at the major transit agencies in the 10 most populous metropolitan regions in the United States. This work combines the findings of a structured, open-ended survey with information gleaned from transit agency websites to identify the core components of a reduced fare program, illustrate extant program variation, and discuss the attendant tradeoffs. The goal of this paper is to assist agencies seeking to re-examine and refine their reduced fare program practices.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by National Center for Transit Research, University of South Florida, copyright remains with them.