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Rapid Ride free youth transportation, safely getting from point A to B

Youth ride free.
Youth ride free.(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 5:42 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Winter weather can sweep through the Hills in an instant, and sometimes with little warning.

If you find yourself in a position where the family car can’t shoulder the conditions to safely get your kid to school, Rapid City’s Rapid Ride system has the Youth Ride Free program to turn to.

Rapid City recorded nearly 3,500 youth trips through November, which doubles last year’s amount.

Since the start of the fall semester this year, just about 12-thousand youth passengers have boarded a Rapid Ride bus.

That leads Darrell Shoemaker, Rapid City’s Communications Coordinator, to believe when parents are concerned about either getting their kids to school, or them driving themselves, they’re leaning on city buses for some peace of mind.

Shoemaker added that COVID-19 impacted the service tremendously.

”The trend for rider ship was just going through the roof. I mean, we had several thousand -- even 10, 12-thousand youth riders per month, and then COVID hit and it came to really a screeching halt. You know,” Shoemaker says, “because they were doing remote learning. They weren’t going to school. They didn’t need the public transportation option. So, we’ve just been slowly creeping back.”

Shoemaker says it’s not about the numbers.

He says it’s about promoting public transportation and making sure families know there’s a safe option for winter rides.

Any youth in the Rapid City school system can be part of the Youth Ride Free program.

A form just needs to be filled out to register, which is available by either calling Rapid Transit Service directly, or online and clicking on the Youth Ride Free button.

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