MBTA Launches New Online Youth Pass Application

The MBTA announced the launch of the new digital Youth Pass application available online at mbta.com/youthpass/apply.

“Providing young adults with more convenient access to this secure, easy-to-use application is another step in providing broader access to the MBTA’s system through the Youth Pass’s discounted fares and monthly passes,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We continue to be excited to expand the reach of the Youth Pass through our municipal and community partnerships, and we’re proud to see the official launch of this online application, which we aim to expand to other reduced fare programs in 2022.”

“With our industry-leading design and research process, we are able to deliver improvements like this to riders faster than ever – all while ensuring the tools we build are secure and accessible to everyone,” said MBTA Chief Digital Officer David Gerstle.

“Truly a collaborative effort,” said City of Boston Department of Youth Engagement & Employment leadership. “As the largest Youth Pass municipal partner/administrator, we believe the development of the new MBTA online application could not have come at a more critical time for Boston’s eligible youth and young adult population. This new application allows us to streamline the Youth Pass application process and enhance our partnership with the MBTA to ensure we’re expanding our reach and always improving systems, processes and services for young people across the City of Boston to access this important resource.”

The Youth Pass is a card that can be used by eligible young adults with low incomes to purchase roughly 50% reduced one-way fares or $30 monthly LinkPasses for the bus, subway, and Fairmount Line Zone 1A stations at MBTA Fare Vending Machines, the CharlieCard Store, fare boxes on buses and trolleys at street-level stops, or at retail sales locations. Youth Pass cards can also be used to purchase half-price one-way fares for Commuter Rail, Express Bus, and ferry.

Previously, young adults were required to complete the application process in-person at the location of their local Youth Pass office, including bringing their eligibility documents and submitting a paper application form. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MBTA prioritized and accelerated the creation and implementation of the online application process. Applicants can now apply to the program remotely and easily online from their home computer or mobile device without having to visit their local Youth Pass office in-person. Young adults residing in any participating municipalities can now simply visit mbta.com/youthpass/apply to complete the online application, which is available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Portuguese. Applicants can use the online application to upload their eligibility documents and select to have their Youth Pass card mailed or picked up from their local Youth Pass office, if approved.

In collaboration with the MBTA’s Commercial Strategies and Programs team, the MBTA’s Customer Technology Department accelerated the development of the online application, accomplishing the project’s design, user testing, and launch through the use of SimpliGov’s no-code, cloud-based platform.

“SimpliGov is proud to partner with MBTA to create a user-friendly customer experience and seamless online application process available to nearly 20 municipalities participating in this critical program for the community,” said SimpliGov CEO Gary Leiken. “This is the first of many processes we will be automating with MBTA to help serve local young adults eligible for free and reduced-fare transportation programs in Massachusetts, which is an incredibly important community mission and citizen service.”

Based on findings from multiple rounds of user tests with Youth Pass administrators and riders, and three pilot online applications, the Customer Technology team tailored the Youth Pass application for simplicity, ease of use, and security. The MBTA devised a single, streamlined process in the SimpliGov platform that allows Youth Pass administrators in participating municipalities to process, verify, and deliver Youth Pass CharlieCards within five business days with minimal error. The MBTA also anticipates launching similar online applications to the other free and reduced fare programs within the coming months.

The MBTA’s growing list of municipalities and community partners participating in the Youth Pass program includes Arlington, Attleboro, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Framingham, Lexington, Malden, Medford, Melrose, the North Shore, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Wakefield, Watertown, and Worcester. Cities or towns interested in joining the program are encouraged to email [email protected] for information on how to begin the process.

For more information, visit mbta.com/youthpass-eligibility, or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA, Facebook /TheMBTA, or Instagram @theMBTA.

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