Document Type

Research Report

Original Publication Date


First Page


Last Page


Date of Submission

November 2022


Through the work of the House and Senate chief patrons: Delegate Delores L McQuinn (HB 142) and Senator George L. Barker (SB 342) changes to the Transit Ridership Incentive Program (TRIP) intended to increase funding to reduce the impact on public transit fares on individuals with low-incomes were signed into law during Virginia’s 2022 legislative session. House Bill (HB 142) and Senate Bill (SB 342) builds on 2020 legislation establishing TRIP to promote improved transit service in urbanized areas 1 of the Commonwealth with a population of more than 100,000 and to reduce barriers to transit use for low-income individuals.

The identified goal of the Transit Ridership Incentive Program as established in 2020,[1] is to increase regional connectivity and fund initiatives to lower public transportation costs to low-income riders by encouraging “the identification and establishment of routes of regional significance, the development and implementation of a regional subsidy allocation model, implementation of integrated fare collection, establishment of bus-only lanes on routes of regional significance, and other actions and service determined by the Board to improve transit service” (LIS, 2022). Language in the 2020 legislation creating TRIP limited funds for reduced and zero-fare transit to 25% of the program with the remaining 75% of the funding dedicated to regional connectivity(LIS, 2022). HB 142/SB 342 (2022) removed this limitation on funding, allowing for greater opportunity to fund reduced and zero-fare transit in Virginia. Per Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (VDRPT) “$24.5 million to multi-year zero-fare/low income projects and $5.2 million to multi-year regional connectivity projects has been allocated”. An example of such an award was announced in a press release by Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC). On December 21, 2021, it was announced that $8 million was awarded to GRTC to study zero fares. Effective July 1, 2022, the Transit Ridership Incentive Program (TRIP) removed the maximum threshold of funding of 25% and instead established a minimum of 25% of TRIP funding going towards reduced or zero-fare transit initiatives. The proposed percentage of the TRIP funds will continue to support the establishment of programs to reduce the impact of fares on low-income individuals in the coming years. Unfortunately, a sunset clause was inserted as a Governor’s amendment meaning this change is set to expire on July 1, 2024. As the original legislation that passed the House and Senate was the result of a strong majority of bi-partisan support, based on the research, an extension of the current July 1, 2024 expiration date, or the elimination of the sunset clause is advised. To avoid the barriers for low-income individuals, it has been noted that “Virginia’s program could target low-income individuals through passes or by eliminating fares on certain high-capacity corridors or for entire transit systems'' (Pascale, 2021).


Is Part Of

VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute Publications