Senior citizens in the Antelope Valley can continue to ride free of charge on local busses. The program is made possible through grant funding and government support of a new Senior Annual Pass Program.

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) will begin charging 75 cents on Sept. 1, so the new program will provide free annual bus passes to senior citizens. It operates through a grant of $200,000 awarded by the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District, along with matching funds from the city of Lancaster and Los Angeles County.

“AVTA has been supporting our senior community by providing free local service for several years,” said Board Chairman Marvin Crist. “Even when fare changes became necessary, and we could no longer provide free rides to seniors, we continued to explore other options to help defray the cost, and to allow our seniors to continue to ride free of charge.”

Qualified seniors must have a Reduced Fare TAP card in order to load the free Senior Annual Pass onto the smart card. The annual pass may only be loaded at the AVTA office facility at 42210 6th Street West in Lancaster.

Those persons who are severely challenged with a disability and who may qualify for a Los Angeles County Access Services card will still qualify for free bus rides. Persons with disabilities who do not qualify for Access Services and seniors who do not live in the area will be asked to pay a 75 cent fare.