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Yearlong Sonoma County Transit program offers free rides for college students, veterans

For the next year, veterans and college students in Sonoma County will be able to ride Sonoma County Transit buses free of charge.

The initiative, approved by the Board of Supervisors in September, is aimed at creating incentives to ride public transportation, easing traffic congestion in school zones and eliminating barriers veterans may face in transit to care facilities.

The program went into effect Jan. 1. Students and veterans just need to show a valid identification card to ride.

Supervisors agreed to pay for the subsidies out of the general fund. The program is expected to provide nearly 300,000 free rides per year. Total cost is projected to be $311,000 for the yearlong program.

Future funding largely depends on approval of the county’s sales tax initiative to pay for road repairs, set to go before voters this June. A portion - 10 percent - would be set aside for public transportation programs.

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