FREE Ride to the Y


As summer vacation begins, many parents are trying to find safe, affordable, healthy, and productive activities for their kids, especially tweens and teens who have outgrown most traditional child care programs. To address this gap, the YMCA of Austin and Capital Metro are teaming up to launch the “Free Ride to the Y” campaign, coupling a new YMCA Student Membership for ages 12-18 with CapMetro’s Kids Ride Free program on its buses and trains for all K-12 students.

The Y’s Student Membership features a reduced monthly rate of $25 and no joining fee. Financial assistance is always available so that no one is turned away for economic reasons. CapMetro made fares free for K-12 students permanent in December 2018 after beginning it as a pilot program in June 2018.

“The Y is a perfect place for young people to spend the summer, and we want to make it easier for everyone to come here,” said Kathy Kuras, YMCA of Austin President & CEO. “We’re excited to team with CapMetro to remove barriers and increase opportunities for young people.”

With a Y membership, young people have access to eight area YMCA of Austin facilities plus more than 2,500 Ys nationwide. At the Y, they can engage in popular activities like swimming, basketball and volleyball as well as group exercise classes like yoga, pilates, Zumba and cycling. The Y also offers leadership and enrichment programs as well as a safe, nurturing place just to hang out with friends, play games, and be a kid. More information is available at

The new Student Membership supports the Y’s goal of rebuilding a sense of community through healthy living, recreation, and social programs. Providing affordable transportation options for students and families advances CapMetro’s effort to increase current ridership while developing future transit participation, simplifying the customer experience and promoting equity in the region.

“As a Y member myself, I know how important it is to build a healthy spirit, mind and body,” said Capital Metro President & CEO Randy Clarke. “Free fares for K-12 students is an investment in the young people of our region. By providing a free ride to the Y, we’re opening doors and creating a path to a healthy future.”

Central Texas K-12 students, with valid ID, and MetroAccess customers under 18, are able to use all CapMetro services free of charge. Students without a valid ID can visit CapMetro’s transit store to obtain identification.

The Y and CapMetro are also partnering through the agency’s CapMetro Cares program, featuring a YMCA-branded bus, which hits the streets this week advertising Y job opportunities.

“For many young people the Y is their first job,” Kuras said, “so teaming with CapMetro to provide transportation to work is another great benefit of this collaboration.”


About the YMCA of Austin

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. Pre-pandemic, the YMCA of Austin served more than 100,000 members and an additional 30,000 program participants annually through nine branches in Travis, Hays, and Bastrop Counties. We also provided afterschool child care at more than 100 licensed sites in four school districts as well as at four YMCA Learning Centers in affordable housing developments. More information is available at

About Capital Metro

Capital Metro connects people, jobs, and communities by providing Central Texans with safe, high-quality, and sustainable transportation alternatives. The agency provides 30 million rides annually on its buses, trains, paratransit, and vanpool vehicles and serves a population of more than 1.2 million in its 543-square-mile service area. The region’s transportation leader, Capital Metro has invested in transit services like its High-Frequency Network, which moves more people, more reliably. Capital Metro is committed to increasing regional mobility and, through Project Connect, will transform how people travel throughout Central Texas. Visit for more information. 

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