Providing Free or Reduced Fare Student Bus Passes to Reduce Truancy HIA Issue Brief
This health impact assessment evaluated the potential academic, health, and economic impacts of subsidizing the costs of student bus passes in Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles County School Attendance Task Force, or SATF, is interested in developing a program to further subsidize the cost of bus passes for low-income students in order to increase school attendance. During town hall meetings hosted by the SATF, transportation was cited by students as a major barrier to school attendance, and they suggested developing a free or subsidized bus pass program. Providing access to free or affordable transportation options can impact student school attendance, the financial stability of their families, arrests and court referrals (for fare evasion), and their ability to access community resources. These factors are likely to have a short-term impact on student educational attainment, on their likelihood to engage in criminal activities, and on their and their families’ stress. Student educational attainment has the potential to influence a variety of intermediate and long-term health determinants including incarceration, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and mental health. In addition, increasing financial resources for families can allow them to spend money on health-promoting goods and services, including healthy food and preventive services.