“Freedom Pass” Youth Program Allows Free Bus Rides This Summer

City Council Chair Rex Rolfing and Vice Chair Rick Kiley announced the start of a summer pilot program called Freedom Pass today, June 1, 2016. This program, which is in its second summer, offers youth free Sioux Area Metro (SAM) fixed-route bus rides from Saturday, June 4, to Saturday, September 3, 2016.

“The Freedom Pass will offer young people a variety of summer opportunities,” says Council Chair Rex Rolfing. “This program is a win-win: It provides a huge benefit to our youth with little or no taxpayer money.”

The Freedom Pass is a continuation of last year’s pilot program, Dog Days of Summer, which provided more than 350 dog tags and 10,000 free youth rides. The City Council approved an ordinance in April continuing the program this summer to coincide with the Sioux Falls School District’s summer break schedule. Since that time, the City has renamed the program Freedom Pass. The program allows students to ride SAM fixed-route buses for free. To do so, the student must present a bus driver with a school ID or SAM-issued Freedom Pass when boarding.

The Freedom Pass program includes the following stipulations:

  • The pass allows anyone 6 to 18 years of age to ride Sioux Area Metro (SAM) for free.
  • Anyone ages 11 through 18 may ride unaccompanied by an adult.
  • Anyone ages 6 through 10 must be accompanied by a regular-paying adult.
  • Anyone 5 years of age or younger is free to ride at any time and does not require a Freedom Pass, although they must be accompanied by a regular-paying adult.
  • To ride a SAM fixed-route bus for free, anyone ages 6 through 18 must present their 2015–2016 middle or high school ID or Freedom Pass to the bus driver for entry onto the bus.
  • If a student is of elementary school age, does not have a school pass, or the school pass is lost, a special Freedom Pass must be secured through SAM offices located at 500 East Sixth Street. Identification and proof of age require one of the following: a driver’s license, state ID card, or birth certificate.

“Public transportation benefits our community in several ways, including access to employment opportunities, easing traffic congestion, and reducing our carbon footprint,” says Council Vice Chair Rick Kiley. “The Freedom Pass program has the long-term benefit of encouraging lifelong ridership habits in Sioux Falls.”