The cost of transportation can be a barrier for many community members.

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) is seeking Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients ages 18 through 64 to participate in a 12-month pilot program to understand the impact of transportation affordability on low-income residents.

The goal of this pilot is to test new policies to help people connect with services and opportunities that will benefit themselves, their families and their communities.

Who qualifies for the Allegheny County Discounted Fares Pilot Program?

Between the ages of 18-64

Currently reside in Allegheny County

Were receiving SNAP benefits in September 2022

Individuals with a household member ages 18 through 64 who is already participating in this pilot and individuals who currently receive a fare discount through an employer or university are not eligible to participate. Individuals with disabilities who currently receive a half-fare ConnectCard are eligible to participate in this pilot.

How does the pilot work?

Participation in the pilot is voluntary. If you choose to participate, you will agree to receive periodic requests to participate in paid data collection and research activities such as surveys, travel diaries and interviews. You will not lose access to your fare discounts if you choose not to take part in these optional data collection activities.

You will be randomly assigned to one of three groups, with an equal chance of being assigned to each group:

  • Free fares: This group will receive unlimited free fares on all Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) trips (bus, T, and incline) for 12 months
  • 50% discount: This group will receive a ConnectCard (pre-loaded with $10) that reduces the cost of all PRT trips by half (50%) for 12 months
  • No discount: This group will receive a ConnectCard pre-loaded with $10 but will not receive a fare discount through this pilot.

How the application process works

Step 1

You will complete an application online.

Step 2

You will be asked to provide personal information and consent to the terms of the pilot.

Step 3

The information you provide will be compared to information in the Allegheny County Department of Human Services database to confirm that you are eligible to be in the pilot.

Step 4

Eligible participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups, with an equal chance of being assigned to each group:

  • Free fares: This group will receive unlimited free fares on all PRT trips (bus, T and incline) for 12 months
  • 50% discount: This group will receive a ConnectCard (pre-loaded with $10) that reduces the cost of all PRT trips by half (50%) for 12 months
  • No discount: This group will receive a ConnectCard pre-loaded with $10 but will not receive a fare discount through this pilot.

Step 5

After you enroll in the pilot, you will be asked to complete optional surveys about once every 3 months. You will be compensated as a “thank you” for completing each survey. You may also receive offers from the external research team to participate in separate paid research activities that are related to your involvement in the pilot.

Why is it a pilot rather than a permanent program?

A pilot is a short-term opportunity to learn from participants with the goal of informing the design of a permanent program.

We want to understand how Allegheny County residents may benefit from lowering the cost of public transit. This will include examining the effect of the reduced fares pilot on participants’ use of public transit, their access to jobs and services, and their socioeconomic well-being.