(PUEBLO, Colo.) — Students in Pueblo can ride Pueblo Transit busses free of charge for the 2023-2024 school year thanks to a Multimodal Transportation and Mitigation Option Fund (MMOF) grant.

According to the City of Pueblo, the Pueblo Transit Board recently received official notice from the Pueblo Area Council of Governments (PACOG) of the grant, which totals $65,000.

“Pueblo Transit is grateful for the support from PACOG to offer free fare for the youth in our community during this school year,” said Director of Transit Ben Valdez. “Making public transportation more accessible and affordable to children in kindergarten through high school is a win for the entire community.”

Pueblo Transit has offered a waived fare for students in the K-12 age group since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with ridership costs being covered by Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding and Pueblo Transit general fund budget. The waived ridership cost began on Friday, Sept. 1 and will remain in place through the conclusion of the 2023-2024 academic year ending June 3, 2024.

“The PACOG/MPO is honored to be able to assistance Pueblo Transit provide free transit service for Pueblo youth, we believe this will reduce transportation barriers and provide beneficial opportunities for our youth,” said MPO Manager Eva Cosyleon.

This announcement for free fares for school aged youth comes as a follow-up to the Zero Fare for Better Air initiative sponsored by the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA). Zero Fare for Better Air expanded from the initial program of one month in August of 2022, to include June, July and August in 2023.