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Public Transit Helps with Voting Process

Numerous U.S. public transit agencies provided free trips to primary voters heading to the polls.

For example, Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) and VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio both provided complimentary service to voters who showed valid voter registration cards on their way to the Texas primaries on “Super Tuesday,” March 1.

“Each vote strengthens the fiber of our community,” said METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia, “and the METRO Board of Directors strongly encourages every citizen to get out there and make their collective voices heard. It’s an investment of time for the voter. We want to recognize and award participants with a free ride to exercise that great right to vote.”

VIA used the slogan “Ride VIA to Vote” to promote its free service for municipal, state and federal election days, which included VIAtrans paratransit as well as fixed-route buses.

“Civic involvement is one of our most essential rights and responsibilities. We at VIA are proud to provide the communities we serve vital connections and access to opportunity. By offering complimentary rides on Election Day, we are highlighting the important role public transportation can play in helping people engage in the process and have their voices heard,” said VIA President/Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey C. Arndt.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) joined with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors to offer a program that will provide free smart card bus passes for people who need a ride to register to vote or to receive identification documents necessary to vote.

The supervisors and Abele approved funds for the program in the 2016 county budget.

MCTS has developed a grant process to allow community groups and non-profit organizations already engaged in promoting voter registration and voter IDs to obtain MCTS bus passes for distribution through their programs. The agency will not distribute passes directly to individuals through this program.

VIA Metropolitan Transit provided complimentary bus services to San Antonio area riders presenting a valid voter registration card on March 1.

A Super Tuesday primary election voter in Houston rode free on a METRO bus that stops at a voting location, the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center.

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