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About the Transit Benefits Program

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The City of Somerville is launching four free public transit programs to make public transit more accessible in our community!  

  1. M7 Student Passes for all Somerville Public School students grades 7 to 12. All students received a M7 pass in September at school. No application needed. If you have any questions about your student pass, connect with the front office staff at your school.
  1. 1,200 monthly passes for low-income parents and guardians of SPS students. Contact your School-Based Family Liaison to learn about eligibility and availability.
     
  2. 500 monthly passes for low-income residents. Residents are eligible if they are enrolled in a partner program like SNAP, MassHealth, enrolled in Head Start, or make up to double the federal poverty line. Application information will be available in late February 2023.
     
  3. Monthly passes for SPS teachers and staff beginning in Winter 2023. Staff should reach out to their managers for more information.

Check out the information below to learn more about the programs and how to apply if you are eligible.

If you need assistance in a language other than English, contact the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs at somervillema.gov/contactSomerViva or call 311 (617-666-3311).

Why is Somerville doing this?

To provide economic relief and expand access to jobs, services, educational and social opportunities to more of our community members, especially young adults and lower-income community members, the City is providing transit passes that allow people an unlimited number of trips for 12 months on subway and buses. These programs align with Somerville’s strategic plans and goals to increase sustainable and equitable transportation options.

Program Goals:

  • Equity: Everyone should be able to get where they need to go regardless of income
  • Access: Access to economic and educational opportunities, social and health services amenities​
  • Environment: Reduce emissions and help meet Somerville’s Climate goal of achieving a non-car mode-share of 75% by 2040

“Funding these passes is one way we are increasing our local investment in youth and families while also advancing our climate action goals. Public transportation is a public good that must be an accessible, reliable resource for all residents, and this is a vital step in that direction. I thank the MBTA, the City Council, and the School Committee for supporting this program and look forward to building on initiatives like these going forward.” - Mayor Katjana Ballantyne
 

Student Pass

Background  

Somerville Public Schools (SPS) is providing free MBTA youth transit passes (“M7”) for all our students in grades 7 to 12 for the 2022-2023 school year. With the M7 Card, students can take unlimited trips on the subway, bus, and Commuter Rail to Zones 1A, 1, and 2. This is an expansion of the program for the 2021-2022 school year that provided 1,400 M7 passes to all students in grades 9 to 12. In the previous school year, students took over 150,000 trips using the passes with 32 percent taken on the subway. The City is excited to continue and expand this program for the 2022-2023 school year.  

Press Release from August 29, 2022. 

Application 

Cards haven been distributed to students at school by the end of September. 

Visit SPS’s Frequently Asked Questions webpage to learn more. 
 

Parent and Guardian Pass

Background 

City of Somerville will be distributing 1200 free monthly MBTA transit passes to eligible households through the Somerville Public Schools Family Liaisons. These passes are pre-loaded with monthly bus and subway passes and will be valid from December 2022, through October 2023.   

Application 

Eligibility will be based on need and passes will be distributed through the school's Family and Community Liaisons. Please fill out your Return to School Survey and speak to your local Family and Community Liaisons to find out if you are eligible. For contact information about your school’s specific liaison, check out the list below.

Low-income Pass

Background 

The City of Somerville will be distributing 500 free monthly MBTA transit passes to eligible persons via the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS). These passes are available for residents enrolled in a partner program like SNAP, MassHealth, enrolled in Head Start, or make up to double the Federal poverty line. Distribution of passes is anticipated to begin in Spring 2023. 

Application 

Application information will be available on this website later this Spring. Please check back here for a link to the CAAS application form. You can also sign up for the City's Mobility Monthly Newsletter to get an update when this application information is available.

SPS Workforce Pilot

Background 

Somerville Public Schools is partnering with the City’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development’s Mobility Division to launch the SPS Workforce Transit Pass Pilot Program for Spring 2023. The pilot program will provide free MBTA LinkPasses to all SPS staff who choose to take advantage of this opportunity. Passes are good 7 days a week for unlimited travel on all MBTA subway lines, local bus lines, and the Silver Line. The goal of the pilot is to support staff, promote sustainable transit, ease parking pressure around schools, and evaluate use and interest in transit passes. These passes are good until the end of the school year.

Application

SPS staff can opt into the program by filling out the form emailed to all staff in January 2023. For any additional questions on enrollment, staff should reach out to their manager.

Programs & Initiatives

Free rides to groceries and medical appointments for transit-dependent Somerville residents with limited incomes.
MWRA and the Cities of Cambridge and Somerville have implemented a system for rapid reporting of CSO discharges to the Alewife Brook.

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