JTA to offer free rides for Duval County middle, high school students

Students attending public, private, or charter schools in Duval County qualify

JTA will start giving free bus rides to all middle and high school students in Duval County when public school students return from winter break on Tuesday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JTA will start giving free bus rides to all middle and high school students in Duval County when public school students return from winter break on Tuesday.

It’s part of the My Ride 2 School pilot program and includes middle and high school students attending any DCPS, private or charter school in Duval County.

The idea was first brought to JTA by Jacksonville City Council Vice President Terrance Freeman. He said when he presented the idea, he quickly realized there is a need for it.

“When I think about the value of a program like this, I think of what the purpose is. These kids are getting rides to school. These kids are getting rides to jobs. And if you enter into conversations that often talk about how can we reduce crime, how can we make a difference and make an impact in the lives of our future generations, it’s jobs and it’s education,” Freeman said. “So, I’m proud to have played a small part in something that I believe is going to be so big and impactful in our city.”

The program comes at a time when school transportation has become an issue due to the ongoing pandemic. JTA said while that wasn’t the reason the program was created, it will give students another option when it comes to getting to school.

Students can ride JTA buses and the First Coast Flyer at no cost, Monday through Friday when school is open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Students must provide a valid school I.D. or one issued to them through the JTA and their school when boarding. Masks are required onboard.

JTA said it will see how the program goes over the next six months and consider making it permanent in the future. That could include adding or changing routes to accommodate more students.

JTA said the other goals of the program are to double student ridership and introduce more students to public transit.


About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.